: Ben's Week In Review: November 23

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Ben's Week In Review: November 23

Well, looks like the last of the huge games are out. Finally. Of course, I still have more reviews to deliver but still, relief is in sight! :)

Maybe we need to stop trying to prove that games are art

I've been one of the biggest proponents of the "video games are art" movement. But I'm starting to rethink the strategy.

It sort of hit me after seeing Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick once again refer to the gritty Grand Theft Auto V as "beautiful art." At first, my response was simple: "Damn straight." But then I started to think about it: What good is this argument doing us? I mean, really? Firstly, we live in a society that hardly puts a premium on artistic talent; that's why even musical geniuses live in studio apartments and struggle to pay rent while we heap fame and fortune on someone who can skillfully play with a ball. Secondly, because of this lack of prioritizing something that I deem critically important, the word "art" just doesn't matter anymore.

We like to call everything "art" so what difference does it make if video games are art or not? The word has lost all meaning, as far as I'm concerned, so continually trying to elevate the industry by labeling video games as art won't get us anywhere.

Is virtual reality only for the young?

When Electronic Arts said VR creators need to find ways to circumvent the motion sickness problem, it got me to thinking. Nobody I know likes the idea of VR and it's not because they think it doesn't work for gaming; it's simply because it'll hurt them.

Most people I know get headaches from 3D viewing; some get such severe headaches that they really can't even watch 3D. Reports have been released that recommend keeping children away from 3D during the development stage (up to about 7 years of age). It's strongly suggested by experts that our eyes and minds were never supposed to function this way. Many people over the age of 30 or 35 say, "3D gives me a headache; I don't even want to guess want VR is going to do." But as the world becomes more and more obsessed with artificiality and video screens, future generations who grow up staring at the damn things will probably be more accustomed to the strain. So, maybe it won't matter in the future.

Personal gaming update

If you haven't tried it already and you've got fond memories of the '90s, you need to check out Shadow Warrior. It's just an unadulterated blast from the past and it's super fun. It doesn't last very long but that's okay, because it lets me get back to Assassin's Creed Unity. Yes, it has its fair share of problems (I've gotten stuck when climbing, for instance, which never happened in any of the previous games), but I still love it. I will also add that I've heard about all the glitches and issues and frankly, I've experienced all but one, and it wasn't that big of a deal. As usual, I think gamers are blowing minor stuff out of proportion, but whatever.

Of course, I also have to find a way to play through Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 4. I specifically held off on finishing it on the PS3 so I could play on the new system. I didn't think I'd have three giant open-world games to play all at once; Unity, GTAV and Dragon Age: Inquisition. And it's not like Far Cry 4 is small, either. Geez.

11/22/2014 Ben Dutka

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Comments (26 posts)

Temjin001
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 1:29:14 AM
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yea, I couldn't get into the game-art philosophies myself. It seems like there's always controversy whenever anything identity related, doesn't matter what it is, starts blending over into other categories. Whether it's RPG's and action games, eSports and athletes, Mass Effect vs Mass Effect 2 (I can't sift through inventory and useless gear Whaa-mbulance!) or whatever, there's always going to be varied opinions.

PGU: Well, CoD AW finally won me over. It took me a while to warm up to it. But dang, the game is really good at what it does. It feels like the game I wanted KZ Shadowfall to be. The two games share a similar space in terms of tech, abilities, and overall vibe. But AW is way WAY better at pretty much everything, single player-wise. I'm far into to it too. Got captured by ATLAS and I'm on a truck with my comrades gett'n thrown off and stuff. Haven't played multi-player yet. There are aspects to the actual graphics tech I think is better in KZ SF but AW still holds it's own just fine.

Sonic IV Episode 2 is awesome! Best side-scrolling Sonic game I've played (haven't finished it yet). And I've played a lot of SOnic. Oldschool Sonic fans owe it to themselves to play it and feel how cool it is.



Last edited by Temjin001 on 11/23/2014 1:33:52 AM

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slow and smart
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 1:52:35 AM
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So i got me a ps4,and it's a white one with an extra controller, finally.It's Awesome!.
Games:The last of us remastered/Metro Redux and downloads:Outlast and The Swapper.
This will be enough till Febr.2015:The order/The witcher 3

PGU:The 1st on my list:The last of us remastered,what a great game.

Last edited by slow and smart on 11/23/2014 2:00:52 AM

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 2:07:46 AM
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Good ol VG art debate. For sure most most anything can be considered art given the right perspective. You're best bet is to give undeniable reasons as to why it's art. Most non-gamers don't have the slightest idea how much meticulous work goes into making a game. Watching the sunrise reflect on the trees is art for more than one reason. A screen shot is worth a thousand words

PGU: Still Borderlands 2. Only Vita now. Currently in Beam's homeland. My luggage didn't make it and none of the airlines can find them. So trying to stay calm as several thousand dollars worth of equipment is hanging out in the nether... Just DLed the Steam demo of Shadow Warrior. We'll see how that feels. Wonder if a game like that would do better with the PC game pad (360 controller) or the WASD mouse theme. And a replay of Portal 2 is in the mix.

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Beamboom
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 5:45:23 AM
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I've always thought it's been meaningless to call games art for multiple reasons. First of all, anything made by man *can* be art. Secondly it solely depends on the recipients perception of what art is to them.

But above all, to label an entire category of products as art it's just so darn... pompous. They are entertainment products, and just like any other entertainment product they can also be art.

PGU: Got started on Borderlands Pre-Sequel. Refreshing with the new setting of the moon, and real fun how they tell the story.

Right now I am fiddling with the idea of getting done with the Pre-Sequel first and then, finally, get me Inquisition. I want *full* focus once I start playing that game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 11:54:41 PM

"First of all, anything made by man *can* be art."

It can be. But that doesn't mean it always is.

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Beamboom
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 3:42:56 AM

I knew you were going to say that, yet somehow I'm disappointed cause it's just so obviously so. It's why I stated so clearly *can* be.

But to pull the discussion up on a more interesting, philosophical level, I think that one might even say that everything made by man is indeed art, what's left for the individual to judge is if it is *good* art or not. Cause really, it's impossible to define the border between art and non-art. Maybe that is because we try to find a border that's not there?

Last edited by Beamboom on 11/24/2014 3:48:38 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 11:19:47 AM

As far as I'm concerned, art is a form of communication. If you're not conveying anything, it's not art. If you're not conveying something we all haven't seen, heard and felt a thousand times before, it's lesser art produced by a lesser skill.

There are degrees in the quality of artistic expression. I really can't produce a painting that actually speaks to anyone because I can't paint. Therefore, I wouldn't expect anyone to call my painting a piece of art.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/24/2014 11:20:19 AM

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Beamboom
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 1:04:20 PM

To judge a piece of work on the "level of communication" is indeed an interesting way to define it.

Although I'm not sure if I agree with the part of it being so unique.
At least if you include feelings. Isn't everything based on the few basic types of emotion we got, like fear, happiness, sadness, anger, love and hate (or something like that)? I'm not sure I've ever witnessed anything truly unique before. Just different ways of communicating essentially the same.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 1:29:48 PM

There were truly unique forms of art. We don't have them anymore because we don't value them. The Sistine Chapel is a unique form of art never to be repeated or really even approached. There are pieces of art that are legendary for the artist's ability to convey immense emotion to anyone who looks at it.

We don't care about that anymore. We only care about having our basest instincts satisfied; "art" now only has to shock, titillate, or arouse. We're becoming increasingly incapable of appreciating art the way it was always meant to be appreciated.

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Beamboom
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 3:08:20 PM

We probably talk about slightly different things. Cause I do agree there are works of art conveying immense emotions, I just don't think those emotions necessarily are unique in their basic form.

I don't agree that it's not to be found any more though. One just have to look elsewhere than the tabloids or commercial TV stations. But yes, the world is filled with more noise now than ever before.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 3:30:20 PM

"I don't agree that it's not to be found any more though."

Most would have difficulty pointing to an actual work of genius in the literary, music, architectural, or general artistic world that occurred in the last fifty years. We can recycle and reinvent, but our ability to actually produce and invent world-stopping pieces of art is rapidly beginning to disappear, if it hasn't disappeared already.

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Beamboom
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 5:16:15 PM

"Works of genious" may not do the same level of social impact today as it did back in the really old days. But it's still very much there.

We got a rather large gallery of modern art close to where we live (very well known in Norway), so we've stopped by there quite a few sundays over the years. And I gotta say, there's been some works on display there that's really been very impressive - some downright intelligent. Little of it is what I'd want to have on display at home, but that doesn't mean anything in itself - it's really not where they are meant to be either.

But if we talk about more commercially appealing works, I'd really say that artists like Nick Cave really have done some masterly works both as an author and song writer.

Or the world where I personally am most interested in: Abstract/instrumental music. Both of the classic instrumentalists but above all amongst the electronic musicians there are some really, really impressive works that I'd definitely call work of genious. I don't think there's any use in listing names cause unless youy're into that part of the music world you've not heard of them (Carbon Based Lifeforms, Robert Rich, Mui...).
But of the best known you may be familiar with Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield.

The problem is that we live in extremely different times today compared to a hundred+ years ago. An extreme level of noise. But we we are really honest with ourselves, if we look at "masterpieces" from the old authors, like Ibsen who you probably know (he's a Norwegian writer), if we look past the fact that they are a bit hard to read due to a different language back then, their stories itself are not *that* insanely good. There's a morale and a set of characters and all well and fine, but at least of the old stuff I've read it's basically all about the usual suspects; love, passion, (dis)honesty, good versus evil.
... And what else is there to write about, really? :D

That's why I like abstract works of art better. More room for mental images and discoveries.
But now I'm sidetracking severely. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/24/2014 5:17:01 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 @ 10:31:30 AM

In most instances, save a rare once-in-a-century exception, people don't recognize artistic genius until well after they've come and gone. It's almost like you need the comparison to the age.

Just look at the greatest musical or artistic minds of the past... most lived in or near poverty and weren't fully appreciated until after their death.

So, I'm not convinced we'll really know how good we have it with some "artists" until much later.

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Darth Retsof
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 11:54:47 AM
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"Firstly, we live in a society that hardly puts a premium on artistic talent; that's why even musical geniuses live in studio apartments and struggle to pay rent while we heap fame and fortune on someone who can skillfully play with a ball."

Bad example. You should have used 'Runway Models' or a Kardashian as an better over paid do nothing....I like your work, but try hitting a curve sometime...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 3:31:32 PM

No, it's a fine example. The more we promote our athletes as gods, the more we'll decline.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 12:53:46 PM
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I agree about the art thing, we should move away from that because it is a thing which history will take care of on its own. History always builds a strong narrative around true art and artists. One day they will talk about what it was like to be around during the release of landmark games, who the first major voice actor celebrities were, what it was like to interview Ken Levine, etc.

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DemonNeno
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 1:55:15 PM
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I don't agree with the art ideology. The artwork is in the... Art. That's it. The gameplay isn't art. Perhaps art in motion. Big difference. One can consider a car "a work of art" and, in fact, it requires it come into fruition. That doesn't make it art.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 3:44:54 PM

Isn't using tools to develop an extraordinary experience for people a kind of art?

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DemonNeno
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 5:35:22 PM

In certain aspects, sure. Flower is a good example. Perhaps that's more of an art than a "game". Call of Duty, to me, isn't Art. Everything we're surrounded by has artistic touches to it and requires an artist to create it. That doesn't mean that it's all art.

Let's take sports as an example. There are artists that design the uniforms. There's a coach acting as the "game engine" and dictating the moves. There are fans adding the soundtrack. Yet, calling sports a form of art isn't true. Just because art enhanced the playing field doesn't mean it's intention is to be art.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 10:11:00 PM

no

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DemonNeno
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 10:28:17 PM

Yes

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Beamboom
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 3:44:56 AM

both.

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Nerull
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 4:09:27 PM
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PGU: I'm on Smackdown in my career mode now and am finally beginning to get a bit of story to my matches.
I'm also getting a bit further in Inquisition. I just got Iron Bull and so far the only things annoying about the game are the lack of healing spells, and limited number of potions you can carry (unless you can have more at once later on).
@ Temjin I played both Sonic 4 episodes, but I gave up on the level where you are trapped in a tall chamber filling up with sand or whatever. It seemed like a big difficulty spike to me.

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Gordo
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 6:08:18 PM
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I sort of disagree about the art point. Art in my opinion is anything that brings emotion. Paintings, music, photography, movies, writing and video games. All the same. I don't understand the distinction for video games.

Obviously you have the high art and low art distinctions with video games similar to music, movies, paintings etc.

I just think video games is a new art form and as such needs confidence that only time brings.

I am sure more people played Journey than went to the Opera and GTAV made more money than most Hollywood films for example, so there is nothing to be ashamed of or nothing to look down on.

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MRSUCCESS
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 7:37:36 PM
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I know for everyone that's playing Far Cry 4... how annoyed are you with those flying Eagles?

That has to be the most annoying thing in the whole game. So far I only killed one because it got me so frustrated but if they were not flying...

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 5:11:41 AM
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i'm looking foward to a bunch of this stuff that shadow worrior looks interesting

happy gaming

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