Audiences & Experiences — Week 12 (Viewing / Reviewing)
This week in the Audiences & Experiences unit, we were given three primary resources to read from. If I’m entirely honest, this week I wanted to spend more time working on my game design document, so I did rush these readings a bit more than I normally would have. If I get the chance, I’ll go back and re-read some of them to hopefully provide more detailed critique and responses.
Game Aesthetics — How videogames are transforming contemporary art
This reading focused a lot on the visuals of games and their effects on art over time. It’s definitely been interesting growing up to see roles almost reverse in that games originally drew a lot of inspiration from their predecessors in other media such as film, but now you very commonly see the opposite — art, film, and music inspired by or being derivatives of games. This is something that this reading talks about to some extent, and I’m curious if this trend will continue or if we’ll see a new medium appear that will undergo the same changes.
I found the discussion regarding video games pushing for realism particularly relevant course-wide, as it’s something we briefly discussed in Camille’s classes amidst other conversations. Amusingly the opposite of this statement applies to my game design concept for this unit, as I’m aiming for a pixel art aesthetic, much like some of the games’ inspirations.
Critical Play: Radical Game Design
For this reading, we were asked to read from chapters 6 and 7 of the provided source.
Chapter 6 covers the concept of Locative games, and the importance of playing with ideas of location in video games. The use of GPS in games I think is an awesome way to play with this, and honestly the first few weeks of Pokemon Go when it originally released was one of my favourite periods of gaming of all time, and I think that it’s an area of game concept that has been underexplored (though maybe part of this is the need for a large existing audience to make the game worth playing for others).
The idea of the “situationist” is an odd thing to me to include here — In a sense, I would argue that if you’re creating an experience (a game), then anything that you would create could be considered a “situation”, even if unintentional (?). I always enjoy bits of readings like these, as it provides some insight into knowledge that has been adapted from ideologies from the past — I believe this passage also briefly mentioned some art practices that I recognised from my art studies at school.
Using hopscotch as a tool to show that simple rules can generate complex system strikes me as an odd choice — While it’s a game based around moving through space to a degree, I don’t think I fully grasp how constructing a hopscotch that addresses themes about language, class, food or power really does much for those themes. Maybe I’m just naïve to this.
Chapter 7 of this source focused far more on the critical reflection of video games., particularly citing popular Phenomena like “The Sims, Metal Gear, Bioshock, or Grand Theft Auto”.
The concept of “Incidental learning” is one I’m familiar with, but did not know there was actual terminology for. I’ll have to try to learn more of these terms, as they’ll be quite useful in future written tasks and explanations.
I think the fact that women seem to perceived as a more casual group of game-players is an odd one, and it’s a concept that this chapter discusses a fair amount — And it’s a massive generalisation. While it’s obviously anecdotal evidence, a large proportion of girls in my own friend circles play games competitively to some degree, some even to a professional capacity. It strikes me as incredibly strange that a group as large as half of the population would be generalised in such a manner (even if the stats may support this).
Understanding Video Games as Emotional Experiences — The Video Game Reader
For the last reading of this week, we were tasked with reading chapter 5 of this source. This covered the idea of Understanding video games as emotional experiences — Something that I love to see in games. I think that done well, even the simplest of mechanics can illicit quite strong emotions from a player. One of my favourite examples of this is the game “To The Moon”, a pretty simplistic 2D game which I briefly had to write a piece about back on the BA Games course.
I’m not entirely certain that I would agree with the concept of emotions being “phasic” processes, as this implies that these “phasic” states are seperate, and can be moved between. I would probably propose that emotions are far more fluid and dynamic than this, and that it would be possible to experience multiple at any given time given the right situation.
Though this may just be me misinterpreting the term “phase” in this context. I agree that it’s important to make a distinction between emotion and pleasure — one can be entirely without physical involvement, while the other usually results from physical influences of some kind.
Something that I always find curious about the concept of pleasure is that to our own minds it’s usually seen as relative — it’s hard to feel immense pleasure if it’s being felt at a constant rate, but living through ups and downs tends to make the peaks and troughs of pleasure feel more extreme in intensity.
The chapter then goes on to talk about the different kinds of emotions as defined by the writer (as far as I could tell, I couldn’t see any citation for a source if they’re basing this off another’s concepts). I think that Attribution emotions specifically are a kind that you see a lot in multiplayer video games — praiseworthiness and blameworthiness are something you see a lot in competitive online games, where peoples emotions sort of run wild due to placements of blame or praise on themselves or other teammates, and often the breaking of expected behaviours of how a player perceives that a game should proceed can lead to extremely negative emotions to whomever a player directs this blame at. As horrible as this can be to experience, it’s an interesting psychological phenomena that I feel a lot of gamers are guilty of at times. This is something I may have to explore next term, as I had been considering toying with the idea of creating some kind of multiplayer experience for my next project.
As mentioned previously, this week I ended up wanting to focus more on my game design document work. This was mainly because I felt that I was a bit behind in terms of the amount of content in the document — I really needed to flesh it out more.