Medium, Message

Brendan Vance has a lot of very interesting things to say, starting with

I develop videogames for a living, but I spent last year really hating videogames. I questioned how it was I could consume 60 hours of ‘content’ for Assassin’s Creed 3 yet feel utterly unsatisfied by my act of consumption. I questioned what it was I had consumed, other than my own time. I questioned what it was I sought from the game in the first place. I questioned the nature of the ‘content’ it claimed to offer me; privately I began to suspect it might not even exist.

  1. Only loosely related, but this brought to mind some of the ideas in Lana Polansky’s piece, Daydreaming is Healthy: An Apology for Wasting Time:

    Take … the fact that the primary ludic goals of the MMO are to kill stuff to get loot, in order to kill bigger and meaner stuff. I dont mean to argue that I’m opposed to combat systems in games or even necessarily metrics and reward systems, rather that in a lot of cases these design choices are modeled—consciously or unconsciously—on ingrained capitalistic tendencies.

    The contradiction here is that games which promise more agency tend to actually offer less, pandering to the player in exchange for the dedicated grind. But play in many of these cases can feel truer because the games spend less time telling the player what to do and patting them on the head for it and more time giving the player the means to figure it out for themselves. That being said, it makes sense that the logics reproducing mechanisms of capital are more familiar to people than ones that don’t. I can understand why leisure can be maligned as “time-wasting” when the virtue of constant productivity permeates our society. I can understand why it might not even get recognized as play. Because joy, happiness itself, can be a radical act. Because sometimes a 20-plus hour videogame has less “play” packed into it than idly clicking on a tool just to listen to the sound it makes.

  2. Quick, someone make a newspaper newspaper-like to end all newspaper’s

    Also, McLuhan is hard.

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