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Everything posted by TychoCelchuuu

  1. That's true. To the extent that we could let every game/notgame pick and choose itself whether to be associated, that would be great, and to the extent that we could pick a different term that's more positive without any negative side effects, that would be great, but the first option tells against you as much as it tells for you (many things you don't see as "games" would count as games according to that criterion) and the second option is not a live one. Why, exactly, can't a game developer win the Turner Prize? Why can't games be award prestigious literary prizes? Is it simply because people don't view games as valuable art works? How are you going to solve that by taking the best ones and refusing to call them games? What happens when something that is explicitly a game and that can't wiggle itself out of the definition, like Brenda Romero's Train game, is something that you want to be honored? Having thrown games under the bus by creating a new category for notgames and putting those things up for the awards, you've got to eat some serious crow to admit games too, right? This just seems like a ridiculous position to find oneself in. Your solution to people not taking games seriously is to make up a new category that fits some but not all games, hoping against hope that the only good games will fit into your new category and that we won't leave anything valuable behind if we decide to allow "games" to just by synonymous with "cultural shithole with nothing interesting to say about any topic other than what the inside of someone's skull looks like when you shatter their face with a bullet." I think you're 100% right! We need to call Dear Esther a game because that's what makes it clear that games have value! The reason we have to do this is because unlike Dear Esther, some other games that have value can't wiggle out of the games category via whatever trick you think we can use to free Dear Esther. It's for the sake of those games that we should just call the whole lot "games" rather than trying to argue on two fronts, 1st that Dear Esther isn't a game but is good and 2nd that there are games as good as Dear Esther for the same reasons Dear Esther is good. What a nightmare that would be! Unless you're suggesting that literally all games critics lack these tools because it is a constitutive feature of games criticism that these tools cannot be brought to bear, I can't see your point at all. A lot of games critics lack the tools simply because people have not been making games that require these tools, and when they do make these games, people like you try to snatch them away from the games critics in the first place, and people like GamerGaters try to do the same thing, but for the opposite reason: namely that they don't want to have to read or think about these games. That's why your side in the culture wars is the wrong one. The "art" thing is a red herring. Whatever you want to call art, even you have to admit some games are art, right? By that I mean some games under your narrow definition of games, whatever that definition is.
  2. Do you think calling something an "altgame" ditches the baggage of calling it a game? In my mind, 95% of that baggage exists in virtue of people who don't play any games (or "experience any software entertainment"). Surely the word "altgames" is not going to get them to stop associating these things with the baggage of "games," because the word "games" is right there in there. I do like Quinn's suggestion and I think it's a very good one, but I think she's on my side: she wants to call games games. She just wants to be more specific about some of them: some games are altgames, just like some music is alt music.
  3. Is it disrespectful because the "video game" moniker is inapposite, because it's derogatory, or because it's a moniker they don't want? If your answer is the first, that's what we're arguing about. If it's the second, abandoning the legit games to the wolves is not a great solution, compared to the alternative, which is making games into respectable things by incorporating the respectable games. If it's the third, that would tell in favor of calling some things games that you don't want to call games. I wasn't aware that criticism worked like this - that if a video game critic criticizes something, it's now off-limits for a theatre critic. Do you really think that what's stopping theatre critics from criticizing Dear Esther is the fact that Rock, Paper, Shotgun has some articles about it? More worryingly, it sounds like your solution is to exclude things like Dear Esther from traditional game spaces. No GOTY awards, no coverage on IGN or RPS, etc. Right? That's the only way we could prevent video game critics from "claiming it as part of their critical domain," right? But so many of these games have fought very hard not to be excluded from traditional gaming spaces, or in your words they've fought very hard to be claimed as part of the critical domain of games. Do you really want to be fighting against that?! You want to be the one telling game developers you know better than them and that they're too good to want to be anyone's GOTY or to be talked about on Idle Thumbs and other video game podcasts? If you think you can ever avoid this you're deceiving yourself. Different words just bring along different distortions. There is no "true" word to name the things we're talking about, the magic phrase that would allow us to discuss them without any preconceived notions. I know that the word "game" does bring along some inapposite stuff simply in virtue of having a more variegated pedigree, but people are fighting tooth and nail to change that, and they can, if people go along with it. Idle Thumbs, as I'm sure you realize, is particularly wandering, as video game podcasts go, and we can imagine an Idle Thumbs-like show that was very much like our current podcast but which, when anyone spent more than a couple minutes talking about a non-game, someone would say "we should get off this tangent." On that podcast, they would have to stop talking about Dear Esther after 5 minutes, right? That is your suggestion, correct? I mean obviously your preferred route would be that the podcast change itself from a video games podcast into... something else (you still owe me the word or words you think they should use) but that's not an option because then it will get delisted from "gaming" podcast lists where it finds all its listeners, etc. I guess my issue with that is that it just sounds too goofy? Like "here are our software entertainment of the year awards for 2016" is something I'd have trouble saying with a straight face. The ESA is the lamest-named body imaginable, on purpose, because they want to be dry as an empty riverbed. I think it's a little ironic that you want to get away from "games" because of all the dumb baggage just to choose something that sounds like the label on a chitnzy shrink wrapped CD from the 90s filled with a bunch of shitty card games sponsored by Hoyle that you'd get when you buy a 50 pound bag of dog food. There's no problem there - those podcasts already exist and they're just called gaming podcasts, because most people who make these podcasts think of Dear Esther and Minecraft as games. So clearly the issue is not whether the podcast can in theory exist. The question is what you'd call them, how it would work in practice, etc. We're not having an argument over whether if we could wave our magic wands we ought to change things. I'd be happy to give up the word "game" if I got to reorganize the world in which it was replaced with something else. But right here and right now in the middle of a fucking culture war, when it comes time to pick sides, there's the side that goes with GamerGate on the question "what is game" and there's the side that doesn't, and I think there are lots of reasons to pick the side that doesn't.
  4. I don't particularly worry about that because "games is a positive value judgment" is so obviously bankrupt even by their own lights that it won't hold up in a stiff wind - they surely recognize that some games are bad games and in fact are bad in virtue of being games rather than movies. This is in fact one impetus behind the drive to call various things not-games: there are more moderate people on the wrong side of this fight who write negative Steam reviews along the lines of "this would be good if it were a movie/interactive art piece/etc. but they sold it to me as a game so now I'm going to shit on it because they lied" and people who say things like "this would work better as a movie than a game, your choices don't influence the story and there are lots of cutscenes" and so on. I think the real fight is over what juv3nal points out: calling something a game doesn't net you quality, it lets you past various gatekeeping mechanisms of the sorts I've described (inclusion on GOTY lists, coverage in gaming magazines and on gaming websites and gaming podcasts, etc.). In fact I'm not sure you took my point about IGN, GOTY, etc. very seriously. You said that "entertainment already exists as a word," but surely you don't mean to suggest we should have Entertainment of the Year Awards, or that if we did, they would have the same function as GOTY awards, do you? Should gaming magazines really rename themselves entertainment magazines? Should we delete the "gaming" podcast category and replace it with an "entertainment" podcast category? Is this really something you think would have positive results? This isn't an academic question or something. If you really want to stop calling Dear Esther a game, what do I call my podcast that talks about things like Dear Esther, Proteus, and Gears of War when I want to categorize it? It clearly isn't a gaming podcast. Is there something else? Idle Thumbs is obviously not a video game podcast by your own lights. What is it? Tell me! Tell me what this podcast is, using words you actually think we should use. This is a question you can't legitimately dodge if you go around claiming things like Dear Esther and Minecraft aren't games. Can you give me an example of a verb I can't use if I call Dear Esther a game? I also don't understand why my position implies a "general lack of ambition in interacting with popular culture." Does that same criticism apply to using the word "novel?" Is "novel" another retreat on another front that is also a little embarrassing?
  5. So it sounds like you're taking answer #1 - all those things need to also use different words. Do you think that there's a point at which advocating for this sort of thing might have deleterious effects if it's not 100% effective? That is, if you aren't able to change how the entire world talks, there might be negative effects to refusing to call Dear Esther a game that might be avoided if you did call Dear Esther a game? And also, do you think there are any negative effects attached to my position (roughly the "call everything games" position)? What are those effects? My own view is that my position has no negative effects, whereas your position forces you to be on the side of the unsavory characters you thought I was accusing you of being. Those people ought not to get our help in the culture war and I'm reluctant to give them any help if I can avoid it. It's easily avoidable, too, because as I noted, I don't think my position has any downsides.
  6. My thesis is that "video game" works about as well as "novel" works - video games might not be "games," whatever you think that word means, just like novels aren't novel, but that's okay, we can use the word anyways. The costs to giving up "video game" for things like Dear Esther strike me as much too dear: should it be disqualified from Game of the Year contests? Should someone who worked on it not be able to call themselves a video game developer if that's their only relevant experience? Are talks about Dear Esther going to be barred from the Game Developer's Conference? Should sites that cover video games not bother covering Dear Esther? If your parents tell you not to play more than an hour of video games each day, can you play as much Dear Esther as you want? If someone is awarding grant money to develop video games, should projects like Dear Esther be barred from receiving the money? Now, I know your answer to all of these things is "no," plus either "all those things need to also use different words" or "we can just live with the ambiguity." The former sounds way too word-policey to me - that ship has sailed, sorry. It's too late to get IGN to change its name to I?N or to change GOTY to ?OTY. The latter strikes me as a reason for calling Dear Esther a video game in the first place. If we can be loosey goosey enough to let Dear Esther enter game of the year competitions, why not be loosey goosey enough to call it a game? What's the harm? What terrible things are going to happen and why didn't they happen when we kept calling novels novels even when they were no longer novel?
  7. Sometimes people use "where is the game" as a shorthand for "what am I supposed to be doing" or "when is this going to get more exciting" or something like that. A couple hours later, if they're talking to another person about what they were doing two hours ago, do you think they'd say "I was playing a game but I couldn't see what the point was" or "I played a very boring game where nothing happened" or do you think they'd say "I don't really have the words to describe to you what I was doing, it was some sort of interactive art simulator that I played interacted with via mouse and keyboard or something"? I have a lot of trouble picturing someone, when pressed to describe Dear Esther, saying anything other than "video game" - that seems to be the only designation that normal people have available to them! But if your dataset includes lots of people experienced with 3d art and data visualization software, maybe that has something to do with it: they're more or less the only segments of the population for whom there might be a distinction between a 3d environment you interact with that's meant to be a game and another sort of 3d environment.
  8. Sorry, I misread your post. Your experiences strike me as somewhat idiosyncratic, but I guess to sort out who has the numbers on their side we'd need to do some sort of systematic study. Proteus is one of the games (er, sorry, maybe not a game...?) that I use to introduce non-gamers to gaming, along with other perennial not-games like Crystal Warrior Ke$ha (no fail state), and people seem fine with calling them games, and every parent I've ever heard talk about their kids playing Minecraft refers to it as a game, but maybe I'm the one with the idiosyncratic experiences.
  9. Best Films of 2016

    I tend not to watch movies in theaters, and I also try to watch older films before newer films, so I've seen almost zero 2016 movies. Here are my reviews of every 2016 movie I've seen ranked from best to worst: Hail, Caesar! - Lightweight and with lots of loose threads that get tied up in the narrative but not in any satisfactory matter, but still fucking hilarious, filled with great characters and set pieces. George Clooney is in his element as a befuddled dopey movie star and the scene with the three priests and the rabbi had me in stitches. It's one of my favorite Coen Bros. movies despite being less hefty than a lot of their movies, simply because it's sooooo much fun. Zootopia - Honestly I think it runs out of gas and falls off in the last part, and I guessed the twist basically immediately, but everything else is spot-on. I liked all the little designs for the things that had to work for animals of various sizes, and more generally the movie was pretty. As everyone else has noted, great story too. The Nice Guys - I was hoping I'd like this even more than I did, but I still liked it pretty well. Nothing will ever top Kiss Kiss Bang Bang I guess, but this is pretty good. Ghostbusters - Really funny, but like Zootopia it sort of ran out of steam in the last act. I actually liked the action sequence, though, which was nice. Captain America: Civil War - For whatever reason I like all the Marvel movies, even the shitty ones. This wasn't a shitty one but it wasn't really anything special. I don't really know why I like all the Marvel movies but whatever that reason is, I think that's the reason I like this movie. Star Trek Beyond - Jokes were good, everything else was yawn. It's hilarious how Kirk just continually fucks everything up and keeps getting rewarded for it.
  10. I'm sorry if I came across as attacking you. I wasn't attacking you. I take it to be pretty uncontroverisal that an adequate definition has to cover how the word is used. That is in fact literally the only job a definition has. A definition that does not match the word's usage is simply not a definition. It is something else. A definition's only job is to match how the word is used. We don't define words for other reasons. A dictionary doesn't have any other agenda. A dictionary's sole job is to report on usage. I didn't mean "gamer" to be pejorative, I simply meant to point out that the only people who seem to have these odd ideas about what the word "game" means are gamers, who are too close to the medium to realize that there is a vast group of people out there using words in ways that gamers don't use words. I certainly did not mean to connect you to various unpleasant online groups. Yes, like I said, if you talk to gamers you can find people for whom your definition is an accurate one. But gamers are a tiny minority of the population - if we wrote dictionaries like this, they'd be a fucking mess. If you want to stipulate something like "in the context of a certain part of gamer subculture, the word 'game' clearly refers to..." I would have no issue with this. You'd be correct, in fact! In many parts of gamer subculture, 'game' has a warped meaning compared to what it means more generally in English. But that's not your argument: your argument was that 'game' means something else full stop, which is manifestly false. I don't recall calling you evil or a purist or accusing you of trying to defend games. Given the fact that you explicitly noted that you don't take "game" to be a positive term and "non-game" to be a negative term, these would have been odd accusations to make, don't you think? I apologize for all those other people attacking you. I did not attack you, or at least I did not mean to appear to have attacked you. I'm a philosopher by training, and in philosophy this is how we all talk to each other. It definitely comes off as snippy and aggressive to normal people, and it's hard to break that habit. I think you've definitely made as many assumptions about my character and my tone as you think I've made about yours, at the very least, so I'd be on the hook for kitten killing too if any of that is in the offing.
  11. Idle Thumbs Streams

    https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/ElegantFrogPanicBasket https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/ShyDugongKappaPride
  12. At that point you're clearly just calling games not-games (toys, art-pieces, whatever) in order to preserve the adequacy of your definition. If you ask literally any human being other than a gamer invested in defending their clearly inadequate definition of games whether Minecraft, Proteus, and Animal Crossing are video games, they will say "yes" and probably look at you weirdly for asking a question that obvious. You may lament the fact that people talk so sloppily by using the word "game" to describe things that to you are not "properly" games, but the way language works is that people use words to mean what they actually mean, not what you wish they would mean or what you think they should mean.
  13. Plenty of video games don't have fail states, like Animal Crossing, Proteus, Minecraft creative mode, etc.
  14. https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/JoyousYakWinWaker https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/VastElephantBORT
  15. The Happy Thread


    In January they're adding a patch that will let you replay specific levels, so hopefully that will include a level restart.
  17. https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/AmusedSheep4Head
  18. Idle Streaming Community: Twitchy, Tasty

    A partner has to do it, right? So, like, is anyone a partner?
  19. The way Jake quickly rattled off all the work that went into making the Idle Thumbs logo animation for the stream (with the various Windows screensavers etc.) just hammers home for the millionth time how tremendous his attention to detail, aesthetic sensibilities, and general on-top-of-it-ness are. That really goes for lots of the Thumbs, in fact, and I think it's one of the reasons the podcast they churn out is so enjoyable. They're just super capable folks, which really carries over into the conversations they have with with each other and with Nick.
  20. https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/ShinyGrouseTheTarFu https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/CloudyEagleAsianGlow
  21. https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/BloodyParrotCorgiDerp
  22. Fucked up my clip, see Problem Machine's below:
  23. https://clips.twitch.tv/idlethumbs/BraveCrocodileCoolCat