“What video games are good art?”

As bloggers, we know that our journeys on the Internet can sometime lead to unexpected places. That’s where I find myself today, at this point, answering a very innocent question posed by the kind proprietor of The Long and Short of It (a blog/blogger worth following if you’re not already) on my article “Are Video Games Art?” And that question is:

What video games are good art?

To further quote, of said question, he succinctly and brilliantly dubbed it a “storm in a teacup.” I simply love that turn of phrase; how remarkably accurate it is here. Because truly, how in the holy hell of cultural edifices does one even begin to answer that?

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“Are video games art?”

The always inquisitive and never dull Well-Red Mage recently bestowed the community with another “Big Question.” The first “Big Question,” you may recall, was “What have you learned since you started blogging?” Twas an interesting question to answer, on that provoked plenty of inner dialogue.

When I noticed the second question, my heart lurched a little.

Asking Big Questions #002: “Are video games art?”

Ahh, that old chestnut, is it? Honestly, I’m not even sure of how to best approach answering this for myself. Having read the responses to the Mage’s original post, as well as other responses from the community, a large part of me agrees with most folks.

Q. Are video games art?

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Binging on Some Food for Thought

I know I should do a reblog, but a question has been bugging me lately, and yesterday it became even more of an aggravation. And that’s because I read yet another article in the local newspaper about the best binge-worthy TV shows. These articles are pretty commonplace these days, and it seems that binge-watching is here to stay. If fact, it’s practically something to brag about – how one’s weekend was spent on the couch, engrossed in whatever show of whatever genre, out of the sunlight, away from socialness, stopped only for takeout, texts, and bathroom breaks…maybe. This is alright. This is cool. This is acceptable. And though the newspaper didn’t have a comment section, I’m certain that the corresponding article in the paper’s digital version probably got lots of supportive comments and thumbs up.

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Video Games in Movies

During a recent review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a gaming site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here. Here’s one from around January 2013 in which I mused over some depictions of games and gamers  on the big screen.


It’s widely accepted among gamers and movie-goers that movies based on video games are never quite as good as the games themselves.  But movies that contain references to video games…well, some of those aren’t that great as well; but many of them are perfectly enjoyable.  These references range from large (Tron – the entire movie) to small (remember the NES Advantage controller from Ghostbusters 2?) to everything in between.  While it’s unfortunate that Hollywood often invokes typical “gamer” stereotypes (as “they” do with just about any group “they” don’t fully understand), these references are testament to the fact that video games are an integral part of our culture.  I love it when games, consoles, or gamers get in a little bit of screen time, so here are a few of my favorite video game references in movies.


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How Have You Changed? A Response.

I love it when one blog post begets another! That’s what happened over on United We Game when a comment I started writing on Hatm0nster’s great article How Have You Changed? turned into something much more. What I ended up with was this introspective post on how my life with games has changed and evolved over the years.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flick user Satish Indofunk Image by Flickr user Satish Indofunk (CC)

Earlier this week, my colleague, Hatm0nster, wrote up an intriguing and inquisitive article titled How Have You Changed? If you’ve not read it, I highly suggest doing so before moving on, because what I have here is a response. A long response. One that started out as a comment to his article, only to develop a life of its own.

In his piece, Hatm0nster discussed the ways in which his core gaming beliefs have evolved with time, from becoming a less competitive game to becoming a more social gamer.  In various posts on this site, I’ve touched upon my own personal development as far as gaming is concerned, but here I’d like to compile a fuller picture. As well, at the end of his article Hatm0nster asked a very innocent question:

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Grand Theft Auto V: All That and Boobs in Your Face

I don’t usually judge games on the “for boys” or “for girls” factor. That said, I get that many of games have been and are made with the male gaze in mind. What would boys want to fight, drive, and look at…that sort of thing. It’s not something that racks my brain because I often want to fight, drive, and look at the same thing as boys. Often, but not always. So when I first ventured into the Vanilla Unicorn, Grand Theft Auto V’s sole strip club (as opposed to there being multiple clubs in previous games), I was okay with the fact that there were, and call me crazy here, probably going to be partially nude women (not men, because, question mark) in it. When I walked up to one of the strippers working the room and she inquired about a private dance, I was okay with that too. Sexy time, lap dance, fine, whatever, have at…I was ready. Only I wasn’t, because I was utterly taken aback by happened when the private dance started. Once you arrived in the special lounge, your dancer awaited, naked from the waist up. (Sure.) Upon sitting down, the on-screen view changed from behind the girl to boobs. No face, no legs, just two breasts sauntering round yo’ face.

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What is a Video Game?

Today I’m thrilled to spread the word about United We Game‘s first ever community writing challenge! The idea is simple: we ask a question (or series of questions) and your write a response on your own blog that includes a particular hashtag so that we can catch it in our feeds and share it with our followers on social media. The challenge is open to anyone, and we mean anyone – whether you’re a full-time blogger or a part-time writer stuck with writer’s block (maybe UWG’s writing challenge will cure that!).

Our first writing challenge focuses on the question, “what is a video game?” Click below for the particulars, and if you feel so inspired, write a answer post of your own. The hashtag to include (in the title, the post, as a tag, etc.) is #whatisagame. If you share the post on Twitter, you can also hit us up @UnitedWeGame, so we’ll be doubly sure to catch the post and pass it along. We look forward to seeing the responses to this challenge, so happy writing!

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flickr user: daveoratox (cc)

What about a video game actually makes a video game? This might have been an easy question to answer back in the glory days of arcades and Atari, but in our modern era of gaming it’s a question that many of would probably rather shy away. Electronic entertainment comes in so many shapes in forms these days that even determining criteria for a definition could arguably be a task unto itself. However, this amorphous state in which gaming currently resides has presented us with a wonderful opportunity! Indeed we have set before a chance to define them ourselves, and not just games in general, but differences between game and interactive movie, where RPG ends and action game begins, or even what differentiates a “casual” game from a “hardcore” game!

There’s so much to cover here, so, from today through the first week of…

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At the Buzzer’s Top 25 Zelda Items of All-Time

It’s the start of a new year, and that means that the good people of At The Buzzer are kicking off another countdown! Last year, they were kind enough to extend to me the opportunity to participate in their top video game characters lists. This year’s list is all about items in the Legend of Zelda games. And when the invite came to cast my votes, I just couldn’t say no! I mean, you can probably count on one hand the number of immortal game series that boast item inventories as robust as those in the Zelda games. Below is the introductory post that explains the whos and whats. From there you can link to all the current posts in the list. Follow along for the big reveal of the WORLD’S* NUMBER ONE FAVORITE ZELDA ITEM OF ALL TIME EXCLAMATION POINT at the end of the month!

*not an exaggeration…maybe.

Objection Network

zeldaitems

PREVIOUS TOP 25s: Video Games, Pokemon, Male VG Characters, Female VG Characters

With the new year comes a brand-new ranking, something a bit different than what we’ve done before: the top 25 Zelda items of all-time.

This is a bit of an odd bird compared to our other lists. Like our picks for the best Pokemon ever, this ranking has a finite number of choices. After sifting through the inventory screens for each Zelda game in the series so far, I narrowed it down to about 220 choices. Pretty much anything that you can acquire is eligible as long as it shows up on one of those screens, with the exception of the Triforce of Courage. So tunics, swords, shields, weapons, bottles, Tingle Tuners, etc. were all possibilities.

Though we’ll discuss this a bit more as we reveal our choices, a few items were combined if they…

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