Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Autarkic Games Journalism Part III

Damned

Sites and writers that try to or attempt to say something meaningful for themselves often end up falling into a trap, which is what most other gamers tend to write off in whatever rational vibe is easiest to flee to. I won’t argue the fact that more and more writers are drawing successfully from their own subjective take on games, but there is a downside to this. That is the dissonance produced by ‘proxy voices’, which is an interesting a new development for a gaming's scribes. No other medium has had the displeasure of being so contingent on factors as influential as the internet has been for games. Now, I define a ‘proxy voice’ as an ideal someone refers to when they’re speaking about games, tweaked or slanted by subjective perspectives. When their ideas get gobbled up by the internet, one of two things will happen.

1 >>>>> Whatever they said gets heard, misinterpreted, or inspires some lone soul on the other side of Earth that will in turn take a sliver of the original author’s ideal and integrate it into their own matrix of what they classify as reality. The intent may bear no malice of course, but what happens when that idea or ‘voice’ runs far beyond its breaking ground? It’s just a slightly more subtle and nuanced game of ‘Telephone’.

2 >>>>> They’re not seen at all, which typically causes the writers to withdraw into some self-absorbed rationalization that their energies are better directed elsewhere. This totally disregards a common truth in lieu of embracing some idealistic notion that people are meant to see great ideas in their progenitor’s lifetime. The fact of the matter is most people with great things to say never lived to see how they were interpreted and applied.

So you see? I refer to it as a ‘proxy voice’ because it’s a digital counterpart of what the author indented to say in the first place. Even if what they wrote was grasped in exactly the way they meant it to be, the chances are rare that its development will see the same warm embrace. People abuse everything, which applies to the ideals they pedestalize and shamelessly adhere to.

Sourced

There’s also a still a tendency to exalt developers with praise they don’t deserve. I don’t mean that as a insult, but rather a compliment. Game developers rarely get treated as another person (with a varying degrees of recognizable talent). No, they suffer the same ego-meal that is doled out to celebrities, athletes, and just general talent that was simply in the right place at the right time. It’s not too unlike how people always whine, complain, and bitch about how a friend may have let them down.

The common social contract dictates we kiss each other’s ass and after a certain point, it just becomes an understandable, yet common instance of imbalance when one places too much faith in another human being. When one idealizes a friend---a fellow person, they’re almost literally asking to be let down. I could say that this same logic has been slightly apparent in some games journalists as well, showing how easy the more deplorable ideals of ours propagate across culture.

Another thing to lament is how artists and writers are rarely integrated into the process. A video-games development is still primarily recognized (at best) as a pure technical art. This mainly due to how, when, and where the 'more creative' minds are introduced into the design process. There is a valid argument for how a script must adhere to the game's mechanics and what not, but why has nobody genuinely addressed the inverse of that?


A visual analysis of my online persona, heh. You can click here if you're curious about your own.

Embraced

The diversity in which our community accustoms games to individually to fit their lifestyle, feed their own egos, chronicle their own thoughts---whatever, it all has a place. Tipping moral compasses and granting people more power than they deserve is something we can’t stop, but keep our contact with to a minimum. As much as I’d love see a radical paradigm shift, I’d be idiotic to actually expect it. As I'll attempt to do on this blog until I'm done with it, I'll be acknowledging the ideal that we must nurture a game's evolution if we want them to change for the better (as opposed to just crying about it when I play something that I don't like).

1~~~> When will gamers learn to respectfully disagree with something?

2~~~>When will they learn how to prioritize writing for themselves and not for those around them?

3~~~>When will they recognize that subjectivity is a goal and objectivity is a tool we’re meant to use and not abuse/pervert?

4~~~>When will more begin to notice that the action of playing a game can be more than a one-sided input process?

5~~~>*cough* When will I not want to step on the foot of every person I meet in life (if for no other reason than to see how they react)?

I consider the answer to all of those a beautiful ‘never’. You’re sweet and cute for believing otherwise, but that’s about all I can grant you as a compliment. =)

~sLs~