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PatrionDigital
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Halloween has become an interesting sideshow for me. Living in Japan for the past decade has not so much detached but rather distanced me from Western Cultural influences giving me a similar sense of, we’ll say “wonder” that I suspect Britons also feel. But Halloween has marched yearly from the tacky decorations bedecked on the display shelves of businesses pursuing globalism (sa-ti-wan aisu kuri-mu) to get another chance to hock more unneeded garbage to a populace already living in rather narrow environs. With the traditional Buddhist celebration of the dead having already passed two and a half months earlier, there is absolutely no attempt to promote the nearly-forgotten religious overtones, so the holiday here becomes merely a sub-class node of the cyber-network, with a great deal of its data and functions lost in transmission. Instead, it’s more akin to the Italian Carnivale, revelling in it’s disruption of the traditional business and suit cyber-networks.
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2019 on Halloween at Only a Game
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Hi Chris, Above and beyond what I was hoping when I proposed this topic! Thank you for this! I will take a few days to properly reply to this, but before that I want to add a (possibly apocryphal) note on a side effect to a point you raised. I have been lead to believe (can’t recall the source) that a significant contributing factor to the deforestation of the UK was due to the rise of British Naval Power; Hearts of Oak and all that. Oak is also the preferred material for vessels containing that wonderful spirit whisky (or whiskey if the Irish is more your flavour) and the prodigious lack of oak trees in Scotland inevitably led to the early batches of the product being of somewhat lower quality. “Rot-gut” is a natural symptom of oak-heart it would seem. Among other things, such as the previously mentioned spelling, this was a driving force behind an act of Congress spearheaded by a prominent owner of distilleries who went by the name of Washington. In an example of what we now know as “DOP” branding, any whiskeys labelled as “Bourbon” not only had to originate in the borders of Bourbon county (however, only 2 or 3 Bourbon distilleries still hold that distinction, the rest having it stripped by the tender ministrations of gerrymandering politicians) but also could not modify or adulterate the spirit post-distillation. This meant that the practice of “finishing” a whiskey by storing it in wine casks for example, was outlawed in Tenesse. The booming market for Bourbon whiskey soon lead to a glut of fine oak casks, since, by letter of the law, a cask that had been used to age a previous batch of whiskey would be affecting the new batch post-distillation. At the time, there was only one other viable market for such a commodity, the poor Scots distillers long bereft of fine, locally sourced oak of their own. So, it seems to me it’s a fine thing to deem oneself quite cyber-virtuous when enjoying a dram, and the only sane position in a world such as we find ourselves in now would be to “top-up” one’s virtue generously. Always the warmest regards, Patrick S. Davis
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2018 on Trees at Only a Game
1 reply
Hi Chris, I gave myself a couple days to properly cogitate and ruminate on this one and I want to preface my comment saying that I neither agree nor disagree with you entirely. When I was in high school oh so many years ago, we had a substitute teacher cover one music class. She started by asking us all “What is music?” Being suitably wise to such chicanery I kept my hands firmly down while my classmates blurted out her hoped-for wrong answers. “Harmony!” “No.” “Organized modulated tones!” “No” (Okay, that last one was probably me making that up now, but I’m pretty sure there was something along those lines.) In the the end she told us music is “rising and falling tension.” Now, the fact that I remember this 20+ years later (god, in getting old...) is testament to the fact that as an aesthetically appealing description of music, hers was pretty damn impressive. It’s suitably vague that it can be applied to any genre, including pop, excepting perhaps Bieber, and is the kind of deep comment that pointy-bearded music critics with stroke the aforementioned beard gingerly with their forefingers in appreciation. All this is great, until you get to the business of actually making the music. All of a sudden all the aesthetics in the world are largely meaningless when trying to explain to an orchestra of professionals how to play the marvelous crescendos and whatnot that at the moment only exist in your head. St this point you need sheet music, chords, clefs and all the other tools that musical crafts people use to craft their works. So, this is the crux of my comment: I am in no way arguing against the presence of art in Games, or the nature of Games as art. When viewing and considering the artefact on its own and when experience as a play movement, these considerations are important. I’d posit that there’s a whole other price to be written on this considering the works from a media perspective: ie games as played vs games watched and how that change in media experience affects the game experience. But the reason we consider Games as constructed, or as I prefer to say “crafted” from some elements is so that we can communicate the howtos of that crafting. It’s not more important that the aesthetics perspective, and a game as experienced by its craft person is going to be a different piece than that experienced by the audience, but it is important is determining what will be ultimately experienced. I think part of the genius of ale Blanc et al’s work is the multi vector approach to experience of the MDA framework: that Mechanics inform Dynamics that are in turn modulated by the Aesthetics for the crafters, and in the act of play the Aesthetics reveal the Dynamics that are constructed from Mechanics. Where things start to get thorny is when we try to decide actually *what* the Mechanics are. Le Blanc tells us it’s what the player can do, and also includes “equipment” in that sphere, so a golf club is equivalent to a Hadouken, apparently. Even Adams and Dormans carefully side-stepped the issue (in a book titled “Mechanics”, no less...) by referring us to MDA and also Zimmerman and Salen’s treatise on Rules that dispenses entirely with the term “Mechanics”. Adams and Dormans basically come back with “Mechanics are rules and vice versa” and that’s how we define Games. Sicart later chimed in and actually came up with one of the better definitions of Mechanics, I feel, only doing so from more the player’s perspective than the creator’s. So this is wher I partially agree and disagree with you. Dismissing the aesthetics as the gloss on an entirely rules-based artifice is a narrow view and one that does great disservice to the unique properties of Games. But I strongly feel that any rejection of an attempt to determine game’s elemental units takes away a powerful tool from creators, not least when trying to educate new disciples in the craft. After all, as Koster pointed out in his talk on Game Grammar in 2004, even ballet has its own language. If we want to talk about these things with each other, it’d probably be a lot easier if we had a common vernacular that we all agreed on. As always, it’s a pleasure to hear you thoughts. Best regards, Patrick S. Davis
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2017 on Are Videogames Made of Rules? at ihobo
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