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Mike Bithell - "games are art but don't critique them" - Let's Rant

Saruhashi

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Seeing shit like this really rips my knitting.

Mike Bithell - "Games are art but don't critique them. They are for thoughtful , cool grownups but obviously contain no political or philosophical content. All the kudos, none of the responsibility. We are creating culturally important work but please treat it as utterly disposable."

Sarcastic tweets like this really get under my skin for some reason.

I feel like I see this attitude so often in the gaming sphere. Someone makes a critique of games or a game or a specific aspect of a game and then acts as though their critique itself is somehow above criticism.

NO. If your critique is a pile of fucking shite then people are well within their rights to point this out.
It doesn't mean that people don't think games should never be criticized. It means that they think your criticism is rubbish.

Just because someone can come up some professional or polished or plausible sounding critique of games doesn't mean that disagreement with that critique means that we think games are disposable. Maybe we just think that this specific critique is garbage?

I'm just not sure how this is supposed to work? If someone takes a game like Sonic the Hedgehog, let's say, and comes up with a somewhat intellectual essay about how the game is about environmentalism and has a lot to say about the state of the planet then that's fine. The essay itself is not above criticism though. Even if the criticism is "I think you are looking too much into this, the game is just a fun game".

The thing here is that so many people seem to just want criticism or critique to stop exactly when they say so. So and so said Mario is a sexist game and if you say "don't talk shite" then it's "bwahahaha the toxic gamers think games shouldn't be criticized".

You can critique a game and I can critique your views and you can come back at me and I can go back at you and that can go on and on forever. It's bullshit to say that because someone disagrees with your criticism that they are just an idiot who is treating the entire medium as disposable. Your criticism is not above criticism.

The main thing that stands out to me here is that when this conversation about games gets started people are actually mostly talking about story and narrative.
Even when gameplay mechanics come into the mix it's about how those mechanics play into narrative.

I would guess that developers like Mike Bithell maybe see games as more of an interactive storytelling whereas your average player who is into Fortnite or Call of Duty is looking for more of a visceral competitive gaming experience.

It always amazes me to see someone in the industry, who makes pretty good games actually, act like games are some kind of monolith and then also act like people who say "I think your critique might be totally wrong here" are just either really dumb or really out of touch.

When people say "keep your politics out of videogames" they generally tend to mean "don't insert annoyingly preachy political talking points where they don't fit".
At least this is my experience.

That makes a lot of sense when you think about it. A military shooter with a single player campaign that has a deep, character driven story, will of course need to deal with politics to some extent. The multiplayer mode however? That's a completely different aspect to gaming.

I don't need to read "Mike Bithell's Fart Huffing Thoughts On The Deeper Meaning Of Game X" to just enjoy sitting down with Game X and doing some online multiplayer for an hour. I can easily say "yeah this political BS doesn't appeal to me I'd just like to play the game for a while".

I think this is where people like Mike, when making these points, miss that mark. Games are not JUST storytelling, they are not JUST a vehicle for interesting political views or character driven insights into the human condition. They can ALSO just be a fun and mindless way to pass the time. For some people they can be only one or only the other. That's fine. It's allowed.

The hobby as a lot of room for one or the other both without people needing to act like they know better than the plebs who just want to have fun. They are just so much better than you.

You know, you might just be enjoying your game of Splatoon but here come the Videogame Intellectuals to tell you how the game is really a warning about climate change and that's exactly what we need in Trumps America. What's that? You just want to enjoy the colors and the fun gameplay and not be bothered with all that? What are you? Some kind of troglodyte who thinks games are just disposable nonsense?

Fuck those people.

It pisses me off that when people think of "games are art" they are more often than not ONLY talking about story. What about mechanics, what about visual choices, what about soundtracks and sound effects?

I think you even have to ask the question of where the "art" even is when it comes to gaming?
Is there "art" in a game when you strip away the story and the graphics and just leave the controls and gameplay behind?

I think these folks would argue that Tetris is "art" but at the same time a critique that tries to politicize the gameplay of Tetris (ie not the fucking political story about how the game was made, the actual content of the game) is going to sound like total pretentious nonsense.

Some people really need to get over themselves and stop thinking that the only "correct" way to think in this community is their way.

There is room for both. You can have games that spin wonderful and deep narratives and that's the art of those games. Then you can have mindless fun games where the "art" lies in crafting compelling and exciting gameplay. Shit, you can even have games that give you a bit of both.

There isn't just one way to do things and there is no need for any given game to do or not do ANYTHING.

If you've got some grand "critique" of a game then, brilliant, share it with the world.
Just try to refrain from acting like a disingenuous, pompous, asshole when someone doesn't agree that your "critique" isn't the most profound and insightful thing they've read this week.

Sometimes critique can be misguided, ignorant, bullshit and it should not be defended with "hurr durr gamers can't handle criticism of their beloved electronic toys".

:)
 
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xool

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Yeah, of course I know his tweet was sarcasm.
Your response seems to have nothing or very little to do with what he said. His tweet seemed to be a complaint about the "games is art" claim being made (by other people) at the most superficial, shallow level.

Are you attacking Bithell, someone else, or a non-specific group of people.?

NO. If your critique is a pile of fucking shite then people are well within their rights to point this out.
Who is this aimed at.? Bithell or not. Why are you writing this here ?
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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I agree with his (sarcastic) conclusion, but it's possible I'm missing context and he's using it as a deflection for when he himself made a poor critique. That's the problem with the internet. Any brainlet can look up a list of "logical fallacies" (older version of this problem) or acquire a hot list of Twitter buzzphrases to deflect or defend nearly any criticism. I think the root is some form of reductionism gone wild. The logic itself is sound, more-or-less, but it has been misapplied. It makes the person seem smarter or more in tune when the audience isn't capable of sniffing out where they misapplied their logical principle.

The result is a downward spiral of egotists trying to make themselves look smart while other egotists argue and insist they're wrong. It's basically just a hopper of narcissistic food.

As you put it:

It always amazes me to see someone in the industry, [...] act like games are some kind of monolith and then also act like people who say "I think your critique might be totally wrong here" are just either really dumb or really out of touch.
Reducing a group to a monolith has the tendency of doing this. When you think in terms of groups, it becomes easier to defend your own group from any dissent and it becomes easier to smear opposing groups for going against the grain. It also becomes easier to make assumptions about what they are really thinking and much harder to comprehend alternative viewpoints. After all, if you already know what they are really thinking, the particular words they use don't matter too much, even if they are pleading with you to re-read/re-listen to what you said and to correct the initial misunderstanding.

To use your example:

When people say "keep your politics out of videogames" they generally tend to mean "don't insert annoyingly preachy political talking points where they don't fit".
This might be false. The person who said "keep your politics out of videogames" might be a simpleton who didn't understand the nuance of what they're saying. Or maybe they're using shorthand for a multifaceted opinion that they spent a long time evaluating, adjusting, and considering. I could take it either way. The problem arises when others jump on statements like these and presume what is meant. "You don't want politics in videogames? You must be a GamerGate supporter" or "Everything is politics, so if you are making these statements, you don't really understand what is going on" or "LOL you claim to hate politics in games yet you've been saving the princess and uprooting enemy kingdoms since the beginning, idiot"

It's all reductionism, a deconstruction of language, a popular -- but ultimately empty -- debate tactic. It was very popular among fascistic and communist academics and politicians. No no no no, what you really meant was [this thing I insist it means because it flips the burden of proof in the argument], and since that's what you really meant, I'm going to argue accordingly.

Even when presented with further explanation, we tend to double down and insist that our original interpretation of what the other person said is the correct interpretation. Even though we might see it crop up more frequently in certain groups, I wouldn't say this is unique to any particular ideology or practice. It's just human nature.
 
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kiunchbb

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If anything, critics are the one who often have the most problem when readers are criticising their review.

If only critics accepts criticism half as open as game developers then may be I will finally treat game review seriously.
 

Keihart

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i agree with you...until like the second paragraph or so, TLDR sorry.
 
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Dunki

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Games are art.Everything created by a human being is art. Art is not a quality meassurement. Art is something made by a human being.

as for political: No people do not mind political games. They mind however agenda driven ones like Life is Strange 2. Witcher for example has a lot to say about topical issues but they are subtle and not trying to tell you what to think. And not hammering it in you over and over again.
His arguments are bullshit.
 

Ogbert

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I think you even have to ask the question of where the "art" even is when it comes to gaming?
In the gameplay.

Games are not an art. They are a craft. And the enjoyable, illusive magic of a good game is the connection between the player and the game. How perfectly the mechanics are crafted, like an excellently comfortable chair.

Of course, you might shower praise on a chair that looks fantastic and represents a challenge to modern aesthetics, but if you sit on it and it hurts your bum, it fails the primary test of what makes a chair a chair.
 

#Phonepunk#

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Too many critics these days not enough creatives IMO. Also most of both have zero training. Lot of know nothing people who have never made an original thing in their lives are now “Experts” telling others about “art”. The blind leading the blind.

We have a generation of people who think that talking about a movie is itself a work of art.

Obviously a game is art, it has sound, it has imagery, it is a work made by creative people. Anyone arguing otherwise needs to read a little art history. This “can popular things be art” debate was solved in the 60s
 
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Shifty.

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I'm not really picking up what he's putting down here. The tweet is slathered in sarcasm to the degree where you'd expect it to be in snarky response to some twitter chain and, you know, have context.

The fuck does politics have to do with critique anyway? Shit nothing, unless you're making critique of political content.

Quit mincing words, Bithell.
 
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Filben

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I think you got his tweet wrong. Or to put into other words, I have a different take on this one. He seems to criticize people who tell other people that games are "just games", and shouldn't be criticized, shouldn't be political while the same people want games, simultaneously, to be considered art—which doesn't work because art is supposed to be criticized, political, and responsible, or at least that's what art usually does and is.

"All the kudos, none of the responsibility. We are creating culturally important work but please treat it as utterly disposable."

He focalises what he criticizes people for through those very people and make up an expression that may reflect some people's opinion. Without quoting anyone directly but taking on the role of someone he's criticising, this could be seen as a straw man argument because he might attack a straw man instead of a real person (or group of people) because no one ever made this argument.
 
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Petrae

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Once the “games are art” crowd poisoned the well, it was all over for video games as we once knew them. The level of pretension in the video game sphere skyrocketed. It became gauche to say that video games don’t have to be fun (which still blows my mind, as playing a game that isn’t fun sounds like a penance). It became all about narrative and characters and politics and gender.

I’m fortunate enough to come from a time before the video game industry got off on the smell of its own farts. They didn’t try to tell epic stories or take hours to “get good”. Almost nobody cared about gender or race representation back then; if they did, they were a small minority of players who thankfully didn’t have the internet to shout at until they were heard. Ms. Pac-Man came about organically, and not as a result of a feminist social media mob and its neckbearded defense force... or an attention-seeking hack who doesn’t know a thing about video games but knows there isn’t enough female representation.

It’s another reason why I’m ready to walk away from modern video games and stick with the old stuff.
 

Ballthyrm

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Once the “games are art” crowd poisoned the well, it was all over for video games as we once knew them
The most damaging point for me is that the focus by the media on what they like in games (narrative-politics-etc) is taken as an indication of what is good. They rewarded what make games similar to other mediums instead of what makes them unique (interactivity - emergence - performance).

I think it slowed down the evolution of the medium a lot, instead of thinking of what they could be, it all became "we are just as grown up as the other serious medium". We don't compare TV with music and we shouldn't compare games with TV.

There this need, a need of confirmation of the video games importance, like if they wanted to be taken seriously by the "adult medium" around them. So what did the "games as art" people do, they stole what made other medium great, instead of putting the emphasis on what make games great.
 
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ROMhack

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I think Bithell is saying people don't like the games as art movement because it affects how they choose to perceive games, which is as disposable products with no value beyond 'muh fun!'.

However, he really needs to get off Twitter if he wants to engage in an actual discussion about it.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Once the “games are art” crowd poisoned the well, it was all over for video games as we once knew them. The level of pretension in the video game sphere skyrocketed. It became gauche to say that video games don’t have to be fun (which still blows my mind, as playing a game that isn’t fun sounds like a penance). It became all about narrative and characters and politics and gender.
it reminds me of this scene from Ghost World. i went to art college and this is 100% on the money:

the art world is funny, because it isn't really based on pure aesthetics, the way something looks. there is a market there, you have to write an Artist Statement, you have to work your way into shows, do networking, present your vision, etc. "what does this mean?" politics plays a role there, for sure, whether it is personal (gallery owner likes you) or political (gallery owner likes how you promote a political position). so what ends up happening is you have people that just want to make art, make a creative expression, but you also have people that are "saying important things" and market themselves that way. these tend to be more vocal, more socially outgoing people, so they tend to overcrowd everything. "what does this mean?" is a question for a lot of art starting at the beginning, before the work is even made. many artists don't even consider it, they just work, and leave the critiquing to the critics. but some are hyper social and focused on marketing, these are the types usually running stuff, the gatekeepers.

to me it is funny, games don't need to try to be art. they already are. games like Super Mario Bros. have long been featured in art shows, in for real art galleries. it's not even an argument anyone needs to make. it's a fact. in the end, real art outlasts time, and most artists are not appreciated in their time. critics are short sighted and will be forgotten. this is almost always the case.
 
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MrJTeera

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I feel like Uno is the pinnacle of game as art. It brings all the human emotions, frustration and triumphant, to the forefront. The same could be apply to vidya games with that same mood.
 
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Toilet Kid on PC Engine puts video game is art meme to the only place it belongs: toilets... and it's still a good place to masturbate, brain masturbation off course!

And Night Trap was not about politics? Who the vampires were supposed to be if not politics? 🤭😋🤣😜 more seriously, i can't believe he knows nothing about the whole Tetris story...
 
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Hudo

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Unpopular opinion time: Games are not art and they don't need to be. They don't gain anything by "being art". They only lose, IMHO, because then they are subject to limitations that come with something being defined as art and designers who want to be seen as artists because they then somehow feel ligitimized. Games are their own thing. And that's OK.

But I understand that most devs and gamers do see games as art and that's OK. I just don't share that opinion.
 

SlashBringingHasher

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not every movie is art and not every video game is art. infact most aren't. same with movies, art is a subjective word nowdays I guess. an actual piece of shit launched onto a wall could make an art piece to some people.
 

Danjin44

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I personally consider games as art, artist, composers, 3D artist, animators, writers and designers all come together to create something that can have emotion response same way movies, books and music can.
 
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Al Abaster

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Some people really need to get over themselves and stop thinking that the only "correct" way to think in this community is their way.
It's not just this community, but the whole of Western Society that needs to hear what you're saying. It's like the whole Western world is reliving the Spanish Inquisition, only this time it's not Catholicism that's pushing but some freaky-deaky modern-day variant of Marxism. Like, Marxism with a Coke and a Smile in really cool clothes.

Still the inquisition, though. And all these butt clowns think they're Torquemada.
 

tassletine

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Games are art.Everything created by a human being is art. Art is not a quality meassurement. Art is something made by a human being.

as for political: No people do not mind political games. They mind however agenda driven ones like Life is Strange 2. Witcher for example has a lot to say about topical issues but they are subtle and not trying to tell you what to think. And not hammering it in you over and over again.
His arguments are bullshit.

You don't get to write your own definition.

One of the biggest problems any art form has are people who think that everything is worthy, just because their mum told them their drawings were nice.
 

Al Abaster

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One of the biggest problems any art form has are people who think that everything is worthy, just because their mum told them their drawings were nice.
That's the biggest problem everything has these days. Every scrub wants to do away with measures of excellence ... heck, they want to do away with all standards of any sort ... so they can pretend they are equal to the .001 percent of the population that is great. They just can't be comfortable or content being one of us regular folk of no particular importance that make the whole world go. Like, what's wrong with being a regular person? I can't just be a regular guy, I gotta change the world or something to be satisified with life? Get a grip.

As for games being art, I just have to laugh. These game creators can't craft dialogue, story, or dramatic plot at any level higher than Junior High School drama class. It's just one facepalm after another. They need to do what the guys who made the very first science fiction movie ... Forbidden Planet ... did and just remake a classical story. Forbidden Planet is The Tempest, redone as a sci-fi.

Game people gotta realize that hopeless geeks with tattoos, body piercings, and pink hair can make alright games but they will never make art or even alright stories. So get one with a pedigree.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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And Night Trap was not about politics? Who the vampires were supposed to be if not politics? 🤭😋🤣😜 more seriously, i can't believe he knows nothing about the whole Tetris story...
Night Trap is so ahead of it's time. it is almost a non-linear interactive film foretelling the future of Streaming Video. your role as a SCAT employee is spent exploring the power and responsibility of the surveillance state. the vampire villains at the heart of the story are upper middle class elites who prey on the young, specifically on college age students, a powerful analog to the crushing generational weight of college debt. the vampires are capitalists, they are selling blood, their customers being the Augers. your mission is to shut down the entire operation from top to bottom, taking down the users & buyers first and working your way up. this is symbolized by the end of the game taking place upstairs.

the interactive design asks that players manage their time, that they constantly make value judgement on the content, whether to switch to a new room, whether to rescue the girls, whether to not and see the fail sequence that you have missed. every performance is unique, as if the movie is live edited by the player. the footage itself is a kitschy delight, preserving the camp of the late 80s teen horror genre in a PG package, like some long lost artifact etched onto VHS tape. this delightful, historical work could easily run in an art gallery with preprogrammed and random sequences.
 
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Aintitcool

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Games are the highest form of media integrating many arts and made by a huge credit list of artist. They are not however 1 man 1 work. The artwork also lives with the players and how they play. It is an art unlike all other arts and I feel that's where people get mislead into games are not art.
 
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Danjin44

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As for games being art, I just have to laugh. These game creators can't craft dialogue, story, or dramatic plot at any level higher than Junior High School drama class. It's just one facepalm after another. They need to do what the guys who made the very first science fiction movie ... Forbidden Planet ... did and just remake a classical story. Forbidden Planet is The Tempest, redone as a sci-fi.
Why when people talk about games not being art is always about the story not being as good as movies? When I talk about games as art, I'm talking about games using their medium to tell their stories in unique way and even outside of the story using combination soundtrack and game's mechanics to make the boss fight epic and exciting. What I personally like about Yoko Taro's games is his not writing his story like his writing for movie he actually use video games as platform to tell his stories.

My issue is most developers (especially western ones) is they want to their games to be like movies in order be treated seriously.

I'm sure Cyberpunck 2077 is going great game for people who are excited about it but when I hear some thing like this, it makes question why developers want this?
 
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brap

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If some dumb fuck rubbing her period blood on a canvas is art why aren't video games?
 

Al Abaster

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Why when people talk about games not being art is always about the story not being as good as movies?
I wasn't saying that games aren't as good as movies. Heck, there hasn't been art in movies since forever. I think "Waking Ned Devine" is the only movie I've seen in the past 50 years that even came close to being decent. But no game story can even approach "Waking Ned Devine" in any aspect.

I used that movie because it was the handiest example of an artistic work in a genre gamers appreciate that used a classical story as basis for its own plot. I didn't choose it just because it was a movie. I think games should be compared to written art rather than cinematic art myself. It needs to be personal, and leave a lot to the imagination.
 
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ROMhack

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I wasn't saying that games aren't as good as movies. Heck, there hasn't been art in movies since forever. I think "Waking Ned Devine" is the only movie I've seen in the past 50 years that even came close to being decent. But no game story can even approach Waking Ned Devine in any aspect.

I used that movie because it was the handiest example of an artistic work in a genre gamers appreciate that used a classical story as basis for its own plot. I didn't choose it just because it was a movie. I think games should be compared to written art rather than cinematic art myself. It needs to be personal, and leave a lot to the imagination.
You should watch more movies.
 
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Dunki

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You don't get to write your own definition.

One of the biggest problems any art form has are people who think that everything is worthy, just because their mum told them their drawings were nice.
That is not my definition. It is the definition of the word we use. There is something like higher art. And which is worthwile etc is very subjective but still it is art.


Works produced by human creative skill and imagination.

So everything produced by a human is art. It maybe not high class art but it is still art.
 
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Spukc

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Seeing shit like this really rips my knitting.

Post pics or i will call you out on your bullshit i am sick and tired of people making fun of knitting.
It is cool as hell.



knitting link
great thread tho

get it ??

THREAD

:messenger_poop:
 

brian0057

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Video games are not art.
If your game is a boring piece of shit and not fun to play whatsoever, no amount of beautiful art style, superb soundtrack, o gripping story will save it from the mire of mediocrity.
A game with godlike gameplay and fun-to-engage mechanics can survive a terrible story, a shit soundtrack, or the most bland visual style imaginable.

I'm with Nintendo on this one. Games are entertainment. Their ultimate goal is to entertain and have fun.
If it manages to do that AND it has great art, sound, and story, then that's just the cherry on top of the already delicious cake.
 
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Generic

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Video games are not art.
If your game is a boring piece of shit and not fun to play whatsoever, no amount of beautiful art style, superb soundtrack, o gripping story will save it from the mire of mediocrity.
A game with godlike gameplay and fun-to-engage mechanics can survive a terrible story, a shit soundtrack, or the most bland visual style imaginable.

I'm with Nintendo on this one. Games are entertainment. Their ultimate goal is to entertain and have fun.
If it manages to do that AND it has great art, sound, and story, then that's just the cherry on top of the already delicious cake.
Why can't these be considered art?
 

MagnesG

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Seems like everyone's interpretation of the subject will be different just because their definitions in their minds differs.

For me it doesn't matter what people to want qquantify
or critique, just don't act like games is not its own thing, and comparing it wholefully to other medium is not the best comparison to do. I mean it's just basically not worth comparing, focus more on it uniqueness as a game aka the whole lot of its gameplay.
 
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brian0057

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Why can't these be considered art?
Because then we jump into a downward spiral of questions like this:

"If gameplay can be considered art, does that make sports 'art'?".
"What about works of engineering? Should they be considered art when we focus solely on functionality?".
"How do we judge the artistic merit of an action?".
"Is Bayonetta more artistic than The Last of Us based purely on game mechanics?".
"Is a game that has more mechanics more artistic than one that has less?".
"Is football more artistic than baseball?".

I honestly don't care since I'm basing all of this on the fun factor.
Is your game fun? Great. That makes all the "artistic" crap a bonus.
Is your game boring? No amount of sublime art will save it from being boring.
 

Generic

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Because then we jump into a downward spiral of questions like this:

"If gameplay can be considered art, does that make sports 'art'?".
"What about works of engineering? Should they be considered art when we focus solely on functionality?".
"How do we judge the artistic merit of an action?".
"Is Bayonetta more artistic than The Last of Us based purely on game mechanics?".
"Is a game that has more mechanics more artistic than one that has less?".
"Is football more artistic than baseball?".

I honestly don't care since I'm basing all of this on the fun factor.
Is your game fun? Great. That makes all the "artistic" crap a bonus.
Is your game boring? No amount of sublime art will save it from being boring.
Well, sports are art. And mechanically intensive games are more artistic than games with boring mechanics, because they take advantage of their medium.
 
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brian0057

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Why are sports "art"? Just because? What are your metrics?
Is it the rules? The players themselves?
If art depends on that we feel then, why isn't everything considered art?
See, this is my problem with calling games art.
Where do you draw the line? At what point does something become art?
And mechanically intensive games are more artistic than games with boring mechanics,
Keep in mind, I never said "mechanically intensive VS boring mechanics". I said "More mechanics VS less mechanics". Both games could be good.
Is a good game with lots of things more artistic than a good game with fewer things?
because they take advantage of their medium.
This is where we can actually find some common ground for discussion.
In the realm of artistic merit, I find games like Thief II: The Metal Age and Breath of the Wild more "artistic" than pablum like The Last of Us or The Witcher 3.
Mainly because the former two games take more advantage of the medium that the latter pair.
 
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Gargus

Member
Oct 1, 2018
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Games are not art
Well art is 100% personal opinion. You cant qualify what is art and what isn't across the board. The concept of art is subjective, not objective.

To me the mona lisa isn't art, it's just a painting and some guy pisses in a jar of nails might call it art but I call it a jar of nails and piss. But there are many who would disagree with me. Anything a person creates can be called art. But just because a sculpture can be considered art doesn't mean every sculpture ever created is art, just like not every song ever made is art, nor every picture taken is art.

And games are not art as a rule and its incredibly narrow minded of all those people who just chant "games are art!!!!!!!" Because not all games are art. If someone said madden 20 was art I cant argue against their opinion.

But to me games are only art in a clinical sense that it takes an artist to design and create the images and such, much like the logo for GE took an artist to do it but I don't consider it art in the abstract sense of the word.
 

Arkage

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Sep 25, 2012
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If someone takes a game like Sonic the Hedgehog, let's say, and comes up with a somewhat intellectual essay about how the game is about environmentalism and has a lot to say about the state of the planet then that's fine. The essay itself is not above criticism though. Even if the criticism is "I think you are looking too much into this, the game is just a fun game".
Beyond the fact that games can be interpreted politically, criticism can be interpreted politically as well. I.E. criticism about a lack of diversity in a game is viewed as negative since it's in the SJW camp. But criticism about having female infantry soldiers is viewed as kosher since it's anti-SJW. To further extend this, "I don't want politics in my games" is a conservative talking point, because what it actually means is "I don't want SJW-type politics in my games." I.E. they don't complain about the fairly conservative politics of Tom Clancy games.
 
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Whitesnake

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Jan 31, 2018
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The word “art” is useless and doesn’t mean anything.
Whether or not games are labeled “art” by society or some arbitrary authority doesn’t matter.

People are free to criticize things, but that criticism is itself subject to criticism. Nobody has to agree with your criticism, you are not owed agreement. If you say “[thing] is bad and the game would be better without it.”, people are free to disagree and say “[thing] is good and I appreciate its inclusion” and vice-versa. Maybe you feel like “sexualization” is a big issue and should be avoided, but other people are free to enjoy sexualized things, amd their feelings are just as valid as yours. If you try to find some deep political meaning in something that clearly wasn’t going foor political messaging, then that’s fine, but it’s also fine for people to go “that’s fucking stupid, it ain’t that deep”.

When people talk about not wanting politics in games, what they mean is they don’t want blatant political lectures and pandering in games. Nobody is gonna complain if you put players in situation where they have to think introspectively about their own beliefs and ideas. Spec Ops: The Line did that beautifully.
The problem is when you have a character spew your personal political beliefs and rhetoric either at the player-character or at some strawman, in a situation where your personal biases are made to look good and go unchallanged while the other ideas are made to look bad and are ridiculed. This doesn’t just go for games but for all works of fiction. If you do this, you are a hack who makes half-assed thinly-veiled propaganda under the guise of fiction.