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Friday, December 19, 2014

Anti-game is anti-human

A fascinating article on the anti-GamerGate focus on narrative and how that anti-game perspective is intrinsically anti-human:
Life doesn’t have innate structure, even if you can awkwardly cram cylindrical tropes through square holes to try and illustrate relationships between things you experience and media you consume. But this gets even worse when examining other media. Films and novels are heavily rooted in narratives, because they must have a plot to carry them forward, excepting some very experimental films. Some songs carry a narrative, but you can’t have music that’s just someone talking. That might qualify as poetry, but even some poetry isn’t narrative, merely descriptive. You can have music without a narrative, and for centuries this was the most popular form of music. Likewise, games are another medium which can exist without any narrative at all. Just as music can be art merely for the composition, a game can be beautiful for its game mechanics.

A classic game that can qualify as art based on nothing but core mechanics.

One of the major problems with game criticism—the “subjective” kind that many detractors say is unacceptable—is that it is rooted in Narratology. Instead of focusing on the mechanics, and commenting on how well they work together, critics focus on the narrative and what the mechanics mean for the story, not what the story means for the mechanics, or even if the developer had the intention of making such a statement.

Personally, I love it when a game merges story and mechanics. In fact, I think the best way to tell a story is through mechanics, and not exposition or traditional narrative delivery. But that concept has been rejected by critics, opting to use Narratological deconstruction and insisting that this is the only way to evaluate media. When games naturally don’t pander to this benchmark, they receive failing marks. There’s a bigger reward for developers catering to this cabal of “journalists” than for catering to the actual audience. When the standards of the reviewer and their audience differ so greatly, the reviewer cannot be said to speak for their audience. Despite this flawed approach, proponents of New Historicism insist that all media must be evaluated this way. It conveniently allows them to cite Post-Structuralist reasoning to defend themselves from criticism of their methodology, since the reviewers subjective opinion and any conjecture they can express are consider to be at least as important as the media being judged, no matter how self-evident it is that the reviewer has missed the point.

Papers, Please tells a compelling, interactive story using its mechanics.

To a degree, it’s inevitable that this outlook supports “experimental” titles that don’t really fall into the bounds of “games.” It’s not a medium they’re capable of properly digesting, so content has to be restricted to something they can process. Funny, you never hear the opposition supporting non-narrative films, but they do support games that are top-heavy with narrative. It’s not actually about something “new” or “better.” It’s about something “different.” Labeling it “experimental” is the only way it can get a pass in the wrong industry. If held to the standards of a medium it actually belonged in–one with Narratological standards–it’d fall apart.

Ultimately what these ideas boil down to is an overarching philosophy called Anti-Humanism. This social theory comes as a reaction to Humanism, and the belief that it was too idealistic. While Humanism is all about free will, placing humanity and human actions at the center of life, and using rationality and reason alone to reach moral decisions, Anti-Humanism detaches humanity from inherent meanings (via Post-Structuralism) to “de-center” subjects and remove their agency. In other words, you yourself lack free will, since you’re a product of the world around you, and working towards an ideal self is futile. Interestingly, Nietzsche (credited as a “founder” of Existentialism, a philosophy that places great emphasis on human agency and the absurdity of life) often criticized humanism for being a form of “secular theism.” Anti-humanism finds itself equally religious in practice, but with a much more oppressive set of goals.

Gaming is the natural enemy of anti-humanism. When you play games, you yourself have personal agency. Only a player truly has free will inside of a game. You are playing by a ruleset, but you have choice within that ruleset, and likely have goals and motivations. These are informed by your situation and by the gameplay systems, but some of the highest-praised games have allowed you to set your own criterion for success, and provided you with a system open enough to facilitate that. Many strategy and 4X games are good examples of that. The belief that all humans are free and equal is a core tenet of Humanism, which Anti-Humanists reject.
The idea that the average individual has agency, of course, is anathema in the world of the Social Justice Warrior. Because then he would be responsible for his actions... and his failures.

Labels: ,

51 Comments:

Blogger Shimshon December 19, 2014 4:19 AM  

After many recent verbal interactions with SJWs, my conclusion is that their own agency is quite defective. They are incapable of having any sort of discussion or argument that doesn't fit neatly into the collective rhetorical toolbox they constructed. I'm pretty sure you've said as much.

They insert race and gender into everything. Even where it doesn't make sense. Like games.

It's sad. Because in my experience, these people often have a reasonable degree of natural intelligence. They are literally retarded in their potential, and not through any genetic or environmental factors either. The power of propaganda and indoctrination and weak self awareness. Rare is the individual who can break out of the straitjacket.

The labels for their opponents are similarly constricted. For example, I have been labeled a "right libertarian" (I'm not quite sure what it means, but I think they file me with the Kochs), as opposed to a named "left libertarian" (Chomsky). My opponent was quite offended when I said it would not be inaccurate to use terms like radical or anarchist to describe my ideological leanings.

Anonymous zen0 December 19, 2014 4:50 AM  

Secular Calvinism?

Anonymous rho December 19, 2014 5:04 AM  

Games have their rules; SJWs have their rules. The rules disagree, but they're both playing a game.

I'm not sure how much "personal agency" is involved with either, but at least one of them you can opt out of by not playing.

Anonymous FrankNorman December 19, 2014 6:02 AM  

The most basic unstated premise of much of modern Leftism is along the lines of "I get to do whatever I like, but I'm not accountable for anything, or to anyone!"
And the second one: "Other people have no rights, they exist for my amusement!"

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 19, 2014 6:14 AM  

That's maybe all too philosophical. I would say that SJW simply were stuck at the child level: wanting and doing things without being responsible or taking accoutability.

Nietzsche was much more a prophet than he was philosopher or key figure for anti-humansims.

Anonymous Peter Garstig December 19, 2014 6:16 AM  

They insert race and gender into everything. Even where it doesn't make sense. Like games.

It's called totalitarianism. Now ask a SJW what totalitarianism is.

Anonymous kh123 December 19, 2014 6:22 AM  

Whatever concept cannot be fit into an animated .gif meme for Tumblr... will not be retained within the r-type's collective consciousness.

Even typing that felt a bit borg-like.

Anonymous kh123 December 19, 2014 6:24 AM  

...Just want to say, Earthworm Jim was a really great series. And am enjoying Ghostopolis. Great art and imagination.

* whistles innocently *

Blogger J Curtis December 19, 2014 7:12 AM  

Wow. It will be fun trying to see the hard Left, SJW trying to squirm their way out if that analogy. I think their collective heads would explode by even trying to understand it.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit December 19, 2014 7:15 AM  

Having followed #GamerGate since the beginning I can say that the one unifying factor of the SJW is their hypocrisy. They are able to double-think to an extent Orwell would never have imagined. In one tweet they will be criticizing #GG for 'doxing' (usually pointing out some publicly available data) and in the next tweet praising when someone is swatted.

They talk about #GG censoring while blocking any opposing point of view (while using other means to follow along and keep posting). Everyhing they say is pure projection of their infantile thoughts and methods.

Its not childishness, its the mental retardation that comes from brains not maturing naturally. One drop of self-awareness and they would immediately realize how stupid the sounded but they never do. They check the integrity of the echo, chamber and circle-jerk themselves to climax with verifiable lies - but they really don't care because they really believe that it's OK when they do it.

The ones at the top who know that they are exploiting this mental brokenness are the ones to look out for.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 19, 2014 7:34 AM  

Indeed, any degree of agency and the SJW groupies doesn't really compute for them.

Blogger njartist December 19, 2014 8:04 AM  

@J Curtis December 19, 2014 7:12 AM
You are not innocent.

Anonymous PA December 19, 2014 8:27 AM  

One of our effective rhetorical tools is the construction:

"Anti-[SJW target] is (optional: 'just a codeword for') anti-[something good]."

Blogger David December 19, 2014 8:29 AM  

The ideological opponents you describe strike me as lacking the ability to think through abstractions. Like many or most people, they cannot grasp the path that lies ahead on their beliefs.

Anonymous PA December 19, 2014 8:36 AM  

Speaking of rhetoric, I've enjoyed discussions here about dialectic vs rhetoric, I've constructed the following simple hierarchy of persuasion, from truth-based to power-based. Any comments?

Dialectic
Rhetoric
Mockery
Violence

Blogger David December 19, 2014 8:39 AM  

"Most men do not desire liberty, most only wish for a just master." -Sallust

The collectivist simply wishes to establish the like-minded in the master's seat, thus creating a society that renders his life superior to others' lives. It's the same as when an attractive woman tries to elevate her status vis-a-vis other girls in the eyes of nearby men,
and no more "intellectual" than that.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 8:45 AM  

"Secular Calvinism?"

***chuckle***

yup.

Blogger James Dixon December 19, 2014 8:52 AM  

OT for this thread, but for those looking for a good epub reader to use with the Castalia House books, the Kobo Aura is on sale for $99 though Dec. 31st.

Blogger Josh December 19, 2014 9:28 AM  

Secular Calvinism?

Hehehe

Anonymous Jump the Shark December 19, 2014 9:34 AM  

Mockery is a form of rhetoric.

Think in terms of intellectual force, emotional force, and physical force.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 19, 2014 9:50 AM  

The most basic unstated premise of much of modern Leftism is along the lines of "I get to do whatever I like, but I'm not accountable for anything, or to anyone!"

Yes. That's why the liberal Christian's favorite Bible verse is, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

An awful lot of people who aren't really leftists lean left, or at least support leftist politicians, because they're afraid a right-leaning authority would take away their personal vice. "There's something I like to do (or hope someday to do), and if the right-wingers were in charge, they might prevent me."

Anonymous Michael December 19, 2014 9:53 AM  

I'm not buying this guy's line of reasoning. Video gaming, in and of itself, has nothing to do with ideology, nor does subjective analysis (game reviews). The heavy emphasis on cinematics is the direct result of game directors using the medium as though it were their chance to direct a film, because they're following industry trends and standards. So long as consumers keep emptying out their wallets for such drivel, nothing is going to change.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 9:56 AM  

"The heavy emphasis on cinematics is the direct result of game directors using the medium as though it were their chance to direct a film, because they're following industry trends and standards. "

The point! THERE IT GOES!

Anonymous Steve December 19, 2014 9:58 AM  

Shut up rabbit - "they really believe that it's OK when they do it."

When they do it, it's "punching up".

Anonymous The other skeptic December 19, 2014 10:12 AM  

The idea that the average woman has agency, of course, is anathema in the world of the Social Justice Warrior. Because then she would be responsible for her actions... and failures.

FIFY

Anonymous Michael December 19, 2014 10:22 AM  

Nate, sorry, the author is trying to conflate an ideological issue with an aspect of the gaming industry, namely the ability to tell (or convey) story. Problem is anyone can tell a story with practically any medium. He doesn't specify, at least in the excerpt, instances to validate his argument.

Anonymous The other skeptic December 19, 2014 10:33 AM  

Ultimately what these ideas boil down to is an overarching philosophy called Anti-Humanism. This social theory comes as a reaction to Humanism

Be careful with that one thing is a reaction to another thing justification. Why, next thing you know people will claim that National Socialism was a reaction to the treatment Germans received over a certain period. It's a slippery slope, I tell you.

Anonymous p-dawg December 19, 2014 10:42 AM  

Whenever I meet someone who doesn't believe in free will, I have to smack them. How can they object? I had to do it.

Blogger Josh December 19, 2014 10:44 AM  

Why, next thing you know people will claim that National Socialism was a reaction to the treatment Germans received over a certain period

Nothing happened between 1939 and 1945. Everyone was on vacation.

Anonymous Anubis December 19, 2014 10:53 AM  

"The most basic unstated premise of much of modern Leftism is along the lines of "I get to do whatever I like, but I'm not accountable for anything, or to anyone!"

They seek to avoid all consequences, its possible to have consequences without any accountability.

When the movie "The Giver" came out I told people the line about "When people have choices they chose wrong" was how leftists actually think only to run into people that believed it and couldn't be enlightened. I had to remember its more important to have their mask fall off for others than to try wasting time converting them.

Anonymous Stilicho December 19, 2014 11:02 AM  

Mockery is a form of rhetoric.

Actually, it can take the form of rhetoric, dialectic, or both depending on its substance. Mockery is just the delivery vehicle. An example drawn from these comments:

SJW: There is no such thing as free will!

Mocker: Don't complain when I bitch slap you...I have to do it.

The rhetorical component says "you're an idiot" while the dialectic component points out the illogical absurdity of the SJW's comment.

Blogger tweell December 19, 2014 11:14 AM  

Somewhat OT, The International Lord of Hate has his new Christmas short story out: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/12/18/christmas-noun-7-attack-of-the-social-justice-noun/

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 11:19 AM  

"Nate, sorry, the author is trying to conflate an ideological issue with an aspect of the gaming industry, namely the ability to tell (or convey) story."

No. He is not. He is pointing out that game critics often are not gamers and therefore aren't qualified to critique game mechanics... so instead... they talk about cut scenes and narrative.

Anonymous War Chicken December 19, 2014 11:21 AM  

I once kicked someone square in the shins who was arguing predestination. He said something about hitting me and I said he wasn't destined to. He didn't.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 19, 2014 12:19 PM  

In his post, Codexx mentions the Libertarian two-axis political diagram. It's okay, but I like Jerry Pournelle's (who hopefully is recoverying well) better.

It's here if you're interested.

But even that chart misses the critical parts about agency and accountability.

Anonymous maniacprovost December 19, 2014 12:29 PM  

In related news, Mirror's Edge was free on PSN the other day... It's ok, but kinda off somehow. If the SJWs invade the sequel, I predict horribleness.

Blogger JLanceCombs December 19, 2014 12:30 PM  

"A classic game that can qualify as art based on nothing but core mechanics."

Tetris

Anonymous Athor Pel December 19, 2014 12:51 PM  

" Michael December 19, 2014 10:22 AM
Nate, sorry, the author is trying to conflate an ideological issue with an aspect of the gaming industry, namely the ability to tell (or convey) story. Problem is anyone can tell a story with practically any medium. He doesn't specify, at least in the excerpt, instances to validate his argument.
."



You're obviously not a gamer and your lack of complete cognition is showing.

Blogger Nate December 19, 2014 1:27 PM  

"Tetris"

othello.

Blogger RandalThorn December 19, 2014 1:33 PM  

Pac-Man

Anonymous Quartermaster December 19, 2014 2:14 PM  

Jack Sez: "But even that chart misses the critical parts about agency and accountability."

The purpose of Jerry's chart is to better illustrate the political spectrum, than the basic "left-right" nonsense that has been used for better than 100 years. Agency and accountability does not enter into it.

Blogger SirHamster December 19, 2014 2:42 PM  

Yes. That's why the liberal Christian's favorite Bible verse is, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

Which in essence means, "I judge you to be too judge-y".

Quick, shut down the brain before any other judge-y thoughts come inside!

Anonymous Athor Pel December 19, 2014 3:05 PM  

"A classic game that can qualify as art based on nothing but core mechanics."


I started listing a bunch of iconic coin-op video games and realized a bunch of them were just shoot - dodge - shoot - repeat, except the following.

Joust
and
Dig Dug

I was then reminded of Minefield, the greatest time waster on every early Windows machine right behind Mahjong. And those two games reminded me of Nethack which I also played at the same time and place but on a Sun box not a windows machine.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 4:17 PM  

@Michael
Video gaming, in and of itself, has nothing to do with ideology, nor does subjective analysis (game reviews).

Oh, by what evidence? Your say-so?

You're missing the point of the article anyway, which was that the very fundamental principle of player agency (you can't have a video game without player input/agency, period) just does not sit well with these people who flee from self-agency.

It's not that video games are an ideology, but that video games are under attack by those who cling to an ideology. It's incompatible to them, and instead of quietly finding something else more to their liking, they attack.

The heavy emphasis on cinematics is the direct result of game directors using the medium as though it were their chance to direct a film, because they're following industry trends and standards.

Cinematics is not the same thing as narrative.

This article is talking about people finding narrative where there is none (see: "The curtains were fucking blue."), and so by that they cry "racism!" and "sexism!" when that's not the point of the game, or even the intention of the game maker.

Anonymous Michael December 19, 2014 7:39 PM  

Nate, "No. He is not. He is pointing out that game critics often are not gamers and therefore aren't qualified to critique game mechanics... so instead... they talk about cut scenes and narrative."

If a critic is an SJW then let the truth bear itself out. But not every critic is such.

Athor Pel, "You're obviously not a gamer and your lack of complete cognition is showing."

Oh really, because you say so, Mr. Know-It-All? I've been gaming ever since I was a tot with stuff like ColecoVision, Vectrex and Atari.

Student In Blue, "Oh, by what evidence? Your say-so?"

Non sequitur. The author of this article makes wide-sweeping generalizations and I asked for evidence.

"You're missing the point of the article anyway, which was that the very fundamental principle of player agency (you can't have a video game without player input/agency, period) just does not sit well with these people who flee from self-agency."

But there's always been software with varying degrees of interaction. For instance, FMV games such as D's, Lunacy and Sherlock Holmes (TG-CD) which focus more on storytelling and puzzle-solving rather than hand-eye coordination, reflexes and skill.

"It's not that video games are an ideology, but that video games are under attack by those who cling to an ideology. It's incompatible to them, and instead of quietly finding something else more to their liking, they attack."

Ok, that may be true, but even if such is the case, do they really think gamers are going to support their efforts to snuff out gameplay?

"Cinematics is not the same thing as narrative."

Which is why I clarified that the act of storytelling wasn't confined merely to gaming.

"This article is talking about people finding narrative where there is none (see: "The curtains were fucking blue."), and so by that they cry "racism!" and "sexism!" when that's not the point of the game, or even the intention of the game maker."

Of course, because the SJW try by all means to work their agenda into everything. They know that they cannot dominate in an industry wherein gamers - the majority of which are notoriously immune to PC bullying tactics - provide the financial pillar. Rather than compete head-on in shark-infested waters, they enter by means of institutionalized takeover of certain established companies. EA springs immediately to mind.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 19, 2014 8:42 PM  

@Michael
Non sequitur. The author of this article makes wide-sweeping generalizations and I asked for evidence.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the burden of evidence lies on the accuser. As it is, this Codexx has basically made a theory, and the extent of your refutation is "nuh uh".

If you're going to call into question what you believe to be faulty logic, then make your case why it's faulty logic. The sentence, "Video gaming, in and of itself, has nothing to do with ideology, nor does subjective analysis (game reviews)" is a declaration. It simply states, "it is" without providing evidence in form of an anecdote or logical argument.

But there's always been software with varying degrees of interaction. For instance, FMV games such as D's, Lunacy and Sherlock Holmes (TG-CD) which focus more on storytelling and puzzle-solving rather than hand-eye coordination, reflexes and skill.

Please, be more concise with your words. Agency is not simply "interaction". Video games are not simply "software". We are talking about agency in video games, and not about the latest depth of interaction you can have in Photoshop thanks to its new UI.

True, FMV games (and more simply put, adventure games, such as Monkey Island) focus on puzzles and story instead of reflexive skill. But that's a type of interaction. A style of interaction. You, the player, are just as much of an agent/have agency when you make decisions in Monkey Island as when you make a decision to round the corner in Call of Duty.

The contrast, what is at risk of being taken away from us, is the possibility of even having enough agency to lose the game. What is being taken away is the agency to say "I'm going to try out the 'evil option' and see what that's like in this game."

Here, I'll put it in a different way. Some games have a large narrative that is explored by an agent, but other games have a world that is built and you, the agent, are simply experiencing it, and there is mostly no narrative there. What you make of it, is all on you.

However, the concept of agency carries with it the concept of... I'm failing to find the word. Culpability? Responsibility? The idea that you are responsible for your own actions.

These people who make up a lot of SJWs and third-wave feminists run as far and fast away from personal responsibility as they can. They live in a state of constant victimhood, because victimhood is the cornerstone of their identity, of how they understand the world.

So when they see a (video game) world that has been made with something they find distasteful? Instead of using that agency and avoiding it, or fighting against it in-game (or even just not buying the game in general), they instead whine and moan that the world must change for them. They exculpate themselves of any responsibility and try to make everyone else change, conform, and feel bad.

As it is in real life, they do in video games.

Anti-game is anti-human.

The rest of your response I think is covered, at least tangentially, by this.

Anonymous maniacprovost December 19, 2014 10:31 PM  

I wonder if "winning" and "losing" and "skill" and "merit" are driven out of SJW games. Now, I'm an RPG fan, and most RPGs are pretty easy, and one might say there's no winning or losing unless you just suck really bad or quit playing. There's also the fact that you can "play" without it necessarily being a contest. Sandbox games. They're fun, but are they really games?

Even so, could the emphasis on cut-scenes, narrative,and lesbian love affairs at the expense of gameplay be due to the SJW's inherent lack of interest in being judged against an objective metric?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 20, 2014 12:12 AM  

The purpose of Jerry's chart is to better illustrate the political spectrum, than the basic "left-right" nonsense that has been used for better than 100 years. Agency and accountability does not enter into it.

Well thank you Captain Obvious.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 20, 2014 12:19 AM  

Yes. That's why the liberal Christian's favorite Bible verse is, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

I've always preferred to think the meaning of that verse is, if you decide to publically judge someone, other people will then judge you on how good your judgmenet turned out ot be.

e.g. if you judge a babbling idiot to be a sage, you'll in turn be judged a fool.

Blogger AdognamedOp December 20, 2014 12:25 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Student in Blue December 20, 2014 2:50 AM  

@Jack Amok
I've always preferred to think the meaning of that verse is[...]

We could have a good long time discussing that verse alone. But whenever deciphering the meaning of Bible verses, always consider who it's being addressed to, and what was said immediately before and after. I.e., context.

That's what everyone (even the devil) does when changing Scripture to suit them - they take it out of context. That liberal Christian won't be able to tell you any supporting verses to support his particular view - because he's not interested what the Bible says, but instead in finding anything to support his position, playing connect-the-dots with select words until it's a picture he's happy with.

But, uh... right. The topic. Video games!

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