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I think what I have learned from being part of the game blogging community over the last several years is that insularity is an unfortunate reality in these kinds of communities. Part of it, I think, is that people really do get used to addressing the same old battles and arguments in a language that becomes standardized over time - a process that is benign, I think. At the same time, I also see - and this is much more pernicious - the same people turning lively discussion into a sycophantic echo-chamber, endlessly praising the word-droppings of the same old faces in vain hope that they might bask in the reflected glory. While most of the discussions I've had with gamers have been fruitful over the years, this toxic and self-aggrandizing side to gaming "criticism", to me, is discouraging. I guess all communities come with their baggage, but I'm glad to see that there are still some articulate folks out there with their feet on the earth. I'll check out your blog soon. And - Michael, sorry to hijack your comments section with the tangent! :)
Toggle Commented May 13, 2011 on Valuable experience at Brainy Gamer
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@Sheenyglass - Wow, you've covered a lot of ground in your response - it deserves a whole post of its own. I like the link with the natural sciences that you make - which has, traditionally, been very connected with the modernist morality of "progress, progress, progress". As a writer in psychology - a discipline that has become thoroughly scientistic - the whole language of expression and evocation gets thrown out the door in favour of conceptual systematicity. There certainly is room for clarity in expression, but when clarity itself becomes the only measure for quality, I get antsy. What's the point of game writing if it does not reveal something new (poetic) in our experience? I'd say that if anything, Dan's dead right about something that most people have glossed over: most game "critics" have nothing new to say. Any chance that you have a blog of your own? I'd love to read more of your writing some time. - Chris
Toggle Commented May 11, 2011 on Valuable experience at Brainy Gamer
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Wow - you covered everything from cognitive psychology to neokantians to expressivists - all in one post. I am obscenely jealous. You got me thinking, so excuse the thoughtbarf: What I think the Romantic expressivists got right, and people like Gaston Bachelard and Charles Taylor picked up later and made good flour of, was that the 'literal' or designative language emerges from a primary experience of reality that is thoroughly metaphorical and symbolic (magical, manitou). It is much later in human development that words like 'metaphor' or 'image' take on very intellectualized or conceptual meanings. Preserved in the idea of metaphor, from what I grasp in Cassirer's Language & Myth and from the expressivists, is that metaphors become dead when they simply designate formulaic differences/similarities between designata. The "automatism of language" that takes us over when things become repeated ad nausea, at least for people like Bachelard, conceal the mysterious and inherently inexhaustive meanings that rich metaphors (or poetic images) have for us. His whole project, from what I can see, is to free the poetic and imaginative from dead language, to re-inhabit it with new meanings. So the literal, at least for the expressivists, is a deadening of language and a retreat into the way of being where language-is-tool-or-instrument. Hence, the literal is always prop-oriented, and the imaginative is always world/content-oriented. Just playing with the terms to get a sense for them. Fantastic post, and I'm elated to see you wrestling with some of the same ideas that I do. take care, - Chris
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2011 on Metaphors, Make-Believe & Mythology at Only a Game
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Apr 28, 2011