The Unbearable Awesomeness Of Being

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Many Releases

Zeta's World is now for sale. It's a makeover of my old Zeux's World game, with some extra bonuses for people that played it already. If you like platformers of the 8-bit school and think games these days are just too easy, be sure to check it out!

On other news, for those of you that care about more adult themes, Breeders has been updated as well. I suppose it lost some of its simplicit charm, but frankly I think I was the only person that cared about that.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ramblings On Love & War

Howard Tayler, The creator of Schlock Mercenary, removed an ad from his site because it contained explicit images of couples having sex because it might affect children.

Oh wait, my bad, I didn't link to the blog post. I linked to one of his strips where a guy is very visibly cut in half by a laser. Here it is.

According to the man himself:

Pictures of naked people and pictures of naked people engaging in sexual acts DO incite lust.

Graphic violence does desensitize us, to some extent, to violent acts, but even then it lacks the ability to charge us the way pornography does. Repeated exposure to porn insidiously re-wires the pleasure centers so that the victims find themselves LESS able to enjoy a loving relationship.

The insidious porn will change your brains so that you might never love again.

I'd like to see the research that produced both of the results above (you can easily find research that proves or disproves either of the affirmations above, provided you don't look too hard into how they produced it. It's like quoting the Bible.) but on the meantime I'm trying to understand the logic that would get to this. Let's read on.

In order to program someone to be a killer, you have to work pretty hard at it. [...] In order to program someone to be unable to have a healthy, loving relationship you can achieve a high measure of success by just feeding them a steady diet of pornography for a few formative years.

OK, so the insidious porn will change your children's brains. Why? Because they will expect relationships to have sex in them. And that's not what healthy loving relationships are about. Healthy loving relationships are about doing what society expects of you, marrying, raising children, sending them to college, then divorcing and marrying a 20-year-old blonde airhead.

This is just an example. My parents are married and happy. I have a livejournal to complain about my troubled past if I so wish.

There's a percentage of the population that simply will not fit on what box you try to educate them into. You can guide their development to a degree, but eventually they'll fly off with only part of the baggage - And when they go, they might be attracted more to the guns and bombs than to round things of a softer nature.

I realize I'm probably shouting to a wall here. I'm just saying - America spends more on guns yearly than it does on sex. And still you were attacked by people that thought you weren't puritan enough.

Clinton spent eight years in charge and the most memorable thing he did was bone an intern of legal age. Maybe everyone could follow his example.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Videogames & Art - Canto I

I've been trying to coalesce my ideas into a single article, but it's not working. I'll spit what I have here then come back for it later.

"[There is] no conveyance of ideas, expression, or anything else that could possibly amount to speech. The court finds that video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures." -- U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr.

Are videogames art? Game players may think the question is stupid, as well as their mothers - for entirely opposite reasons. The answer is probably different for every person, not just of videogames but of pretty much every item of art or non-art ever made.

The real matter is - why videogames are not recognized as possible artistic endeavours? One of the reasons, of course, is because most of them are pretty crappy artistic endeavours.

Scott McCloud posits in Understanding Comics that there are six layers to an artistic endeavor:
  • Surface - The layer of first efforts and fan games where SUPER MARIO FIGHTS SONIC OMG. It's OK, we all started here.
  • Craft - The level of making the trees look good: For example, your levels and enemies look nice individually, but they don't glom into a full view.
  • Structure - Where you start noticing the forest and making it a cohesive whole. Your features aren't just good in themselves, but they connect and follow in a meaningful way.
  • Idiom - The layer where you find your own style and firm it across the whole of your work.
  • Form - One of the two 'inner' layers. Having all other layers mastered, you can use them to rework the limits of your craft.
  • Idea/Purpose - The other 'inner' layer. All other layers are a tool to convey what you -really- have to say.
There are few gamemakers that really work from the bottom two layers. Shigeru Miyamoto certainly is a Form fellow: the very controllers of Nintendo consoles change and reform to his will. The only Idea gamemaker I can think of at the moment is Fumito Ueda (ICO, Shadow of the Colossus), though Hideo Kojima seems to be trying really hard to get to this.

I'm trying really hard to put Half-Life 1 or 2 or 2.1 on this, but frankly, it seems like they're less of an art effort and more of a new graphic/physics engine with attached movie. Granted, it's a very pretty movie. Something to think about.

So, some of the points to be ponderous upon:
  • The relatively young age of the videogame industry
  • How important is tech glitter
  • Group production vs. single person production
  • Mass culture phenomenon, sequels and trequels
  • Interactive and non-interactive content and how they connect
  • Whether board games and puzzles are art
I'll expound on those as they occur to me.