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Stop talking about games,
start talking about what
matters!
About me
• Written about games
for 10 years
• Professional Game
Developer for 3 years
• Can be found at
@vanulla_ace or
vanulla.wordpress.co
First:
A book review
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
The theory of deminishing
returns
How do we make meaning of
games?
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
But games elicit any types
Start talking about what matters...
Start talking about what matters...
All together now…
jesper@electricbloo.com
Start talking about what matters...

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Editor's Notes

  1. Welcome to this talk - *Title*Should have been with Julie Horup. Couldn’t make it. But invaluable feedabck.
  2. We are many who have been waiting for The Martian Chronicles to come out. A lot of Ray Bradburys earlies stories have been printed in pulp magazine, so it was really exiting to see, what the superior print quality of a real book could do for the content. Reading Bradbury has always been fun, but too often has one been forced to deal with inferior print quality, typos and the use of sub-optimal fonts, when his stories have been printed in periodicals, instead of being published as books.In The Martian Chronicles, you are following different people who comes to Mars or lives there, over about 30 years. And they alle have different experiences on the read planet. It’s basically a collection of some of Braburys earlier episodic content, now collected in one volume, and with various tweaks incomporated, along with the wecome technical upgrades. You can clearly see the difference, providede by Bantam Books proprietary rotary offset press, with clear blacks and super high contrast ratio, especially in the serifs.For this HD release, many have been questioning, if it was really worth paying $15.98 for content, where most of it has already been available before. But if you really are a Bradbuty-fan, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It took me 6 hours to read the book, from cover to cover, so I think you are getting your moneys worth. And even if you already have read some of the stories in The Martian Chronicles before, some of them has been tweaked a bit for this re-release. And seing your favorite stories in crisp Garamond on is almost like reading for the first time again. Page turning is real easy, and the change from periodical to book format really helps with with both page turning and storage. I must say however, that I’m a bit disappointed with the cover. It’s a pretty cheap 4-color print, and honestly, I had expected more from a full price release. But it’s still a great little book, and if you are a fan of Bradbuty, or maybe even on the fence about investing in this HD-collection, it’s actually a pretty good deal.Now – this was of course nothing like a normal book review. It was missing something. Specifically what the book was actually about. Not how the latters on the page looked, but what they told!
  3. Maybe once, book reviews were like this. When books became a mass medium, this was also the result of a technical innovation. Films too.
  4. Computer games, perhaps more than any other medium, have been dependent on technical innovation. We have even been told by the industy itself, that technological innovation is what drives games development. For every new console generation we have been told ”This would not have been possible on old hardware”Maybe that is why, computer games has such a difficult time to let go of it’s technical roots. Or at least to be able to separate technical innovation from other forms of innovation in the media. Maybe thats why we are still focusing on framerate, resolution, textures, disk size, load times, number of polygons on the sceen and wheter it’s a ‘good buy’ instead of what it is the games do to us.
  5. But I believe we are reaching the limits for technology-driven evolution of games. You might have heard about the theory of diminishing returns. Technology is running out of steam for driving the evolution by brute-forcing more processing power into our games.
  6. But I think it’s time to look for a new language to talk about games. A language, that is not about shaders, resolution and technical achievements, but about the actual content, and what it means to us. About what The Martian Chronicles tells us about what it is to be human? Or at least what I think it tell us about, what it means to be human?In the same way, as film found it’s voice with the first generation of film theorists, we need to learn to talk about games in new ways, for games to come into it’s own as an independent cultural medium. The question the is, how to we go about talking about games in a way, that is not about the technical prowess of the coders. Not about shaders, graphics, performance and framerate. Well - I believe there is a way, we can try to get beyond the technicalities. Leave the technical inheritance of games behind for a while, and try to get a bit deeper into the games, and open them up as carriers of more than entertainment and pastimes.
  7. Say goodbye to the fun imparativeThe first thing we must do is, to leave behind the fun imparative. Games have traditionalle been seen as entertainment. They have to be fun! That’s their reason to be. But i suggest moving on to a new imparative. Games are experiences. They can be fun, depressing, good or bad. But the defining element of games are, that they have the ability to move us, to do something to us to affect us. Not that all games will nessecarily do that, but we at least accept, that they have that potential.
  8. We should accept, that games can affect us. They are not harmless.You might think, that is an obvious statement, but it’s not. Whenever games are accused of causing harm, the harmless card is played. ”Oh, millions of people play games every day, without something happening.”You know all those headlines that say ”Games can make kids violent”. I say, that is a good thing.*Video*Now why would I say something like this? Well, it’s not because i believe it’s a good idea for kids på play Grand Theft Auto, with all it’s hooker, guns and torture. But because this criticism actually is one of the greatest arguments for, why we should talk about games in a more serious way, than we do. Not because games make people violent, but because this is proof that games actually affect us. They can do something to us.Imageine the alternative. Games do nothing. They are harmless entertainment, with no lasting effect. That would be much worse.
  9. When we look at games, what we see at the most immediate levels, is really just a bunch of individual pixels on a screen. As such, they are nothing more than small spots of color.But if we zoom out a bit, we can see, that these pixels make up images. They coalescence into something that is a depiction of something. A representation of a room, a person or a universe. This is the level, at which we have been talking about games until now. We’ve been looking at the games universes as self contained digital wonder. But we are missing a vital part. A game only become something other that dead code, when there is a human to process it. A human to experience it and interact with it. And this is where another layer of meaning is added, or interpreted from those pixels making up that image. Those pixels, are making up a representation of the G-Man in Half-Life. But he in turn creates a feeling of dread in our minds. An uneasy feeling of fate having already been decided for you, unable for you to escape, even though it’s a game – defined by it’s interactivity and you ability to affect your surroundings. It’s time to stop excluding ourselves from the equation, seeing the feelings as a disturbance, a something irrelevant to the games. But if we instead try to focus on, what we feel when we play games, what happens in our mind, when we experience them. That’s actually a relly great way to get around the question of superficial technical details is, to insted of the surface, look at what happens inside of our minds, as you play the game. What you could call an impressionist game experience. That’s as analogue, as you can get. And I believe there is an argument, why the meaning we construct from games inside our head, is really important. What we experience is more important, than how we experience it. What we are told is more important, than how it’s told.
  10. Nothing new, we just have to ackqnowledge it!Now, this idea. That games can elicit feelings in us, is definitely not something I have come up with. Games have been affecting people, and their feelings for a long time. The only thing we need to do is, to take it seriously. Now, here is a thread from a very popular internet forum, where poeple are posting stories about games, that made them cry. This tread alone has about 400 replies. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=761630&highlight=made+you+cry
  11. Now – this doesn’t mean, that games can make you feel other things. It doesn’t have to be sad all of it. It’s just that tears are such an easy way to gauge feelings. It’s hard to cry on command, and maybe in some ways, tears can betray you. Sometiimes you will feel them rolling down your cheeks, even when you don’t want them to. So – I think itøs a good litmus test.
  12. But in reality, I believe, that games can elicit any kind of feeling. Happyness, as much as sadness
  13. The use of you own feelings to complete the game experience is really nothing new either. Especially horror-games have been dependent on the player filling in the fear in the games themselves. But this mostly seem to have happened in a kind of opague way, where it’s some very basic and general feelings being adressed. And it’s probably more a result of the requirements of the horror-genre as such, than a specific choice on the developers part.Some of todays indie games are actually using this in an active an concious way – they are dependent on the persons playing them feeling something within themselves, to make them work. They are acknowledging these feelings, making them an integral part of the way they work. Probably because of the indie-movement, that allows games to target a much more narrow audience and take more chances.Games like Papo & Yo, Gone Home, To the Moon all depend on the emotional investment of the player. They are resonating with something inside ourselves, activating it, and that is what makes the experience of these games whole. Only when Gone Homes delicate tale of the first real love, resonates with your own memories of that experience, does Gone Home become more than a walking around-simulator. In that way, we are also seeing the first signs of the games industry laying the groundwork for us to begin talking about games in a way, that takes the human experience into account.
  14. Now, this is just the beginning. I don’t think, that we should forever limit ourselves to only describe our personal feelings about the games we play. But I do believe it’s an important stepping stone to try and leave all the technical details behind, and develop a language, that describes better, what games actually are. Just as the early film criticism was challenged with coming up with a language that could move beyond the engineers technical description of the process of the moving image. We, as people interested in games, have that same opportunity now. Because we (I hope) want’s to use games to be more than just empty entertainment – also when we talk about them. And it’s not a bad job at all. Cause we actually have the opportunity to do soomething new. To go and explore the games medium, and find out, how it’s put together in a grand discovery process.
  15. Now, that’s what I would ask of you today. If you have one, share with us a story about a game, that made you feel something special. A game that touched something inside you, and became much much more, than dead code.
  16. I will tell you my story – It’s a story about a game called Braid. But it’s also a story of my unique experience with Braid. Noter:Godt med paralleler til film og bøger.Ustruktureret ved billedet af hjerne. Kan blive nemmere at styre med en struktur. <- Brug Roland Barthes – 2. mening.Tekniknologi overfor psykologi?Bedre struktur fa ”just the beginning” og fremHold fast i det simple. Det skal ikke være overfilosofisk. Det er ok at have følelser, når man spiller. De er en del af det. Der er flere og flere spil, som spillet på følelserne- Det er dem, som gør oplevelsen hel. God pointe med spil er ikek kun underholdning, det er også en oplevelse.Segmentering med indie – går nu efter ‘the feels’. Der er reaktioner på det. Mætningspunkt for ren underholdning?