infovore + michaelabbott   9

The Brainy Gamer: The action is in the margins
"In recent years we've seen plenty of criticism (including mine) leveled at video games that rehash old ideas; games that rely on genre formulas; games that ape the language of film. Games, we're often told, need new ideas. Games need to grow up. Games should leverage their defining interactivity. Cutscenes are lazy. Let movies be movies. Players want to write their own stories. Games don't need authored narratives. Games don't need linear stories. Games don't need stories. All games should be fun. No they shouldn't.

The problem with these reductive arguments is they fail to account for how art rails against boundaries; how artists inevitably seek to situate their work in the margins no one can own. Artists instinctively push back against "don't," "shouldn't," and "must." This is why we give them genius grants. It's also why we put them in prison. The real action is in the margins." Good stuff from Michael.
games  art  margins  boundaries  structure  michaelabbott 
december 2010 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Impotent narrative
"One succeeds because it leverages the player's motivated, explorative, self-driven experience; the other fails because it relies on a hackneyed, disjointed "epic" plotting (told in 3 separate plot-lines via cutscenes) with incongruous settings and 2-dimensional characters. One succeeds because its formal systems directly feed the player's connection to the world and characters; the other fails because its formal systems bear no discernible relationship to the stories the game wants to tell." This is strong stuff from Michael; I am increasingly fed up of the focus on (poorly-told) stories in games.
games  narrative  emergence  story  michaelabbott  rpg 
october 2010 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Heavy Rain
"The game insists that I focus, even for mundane activities like carrying groceries, on carefully following directions delivered to me visually on-screen. The simple act of carrying groceries is subsumed by the mechanical procedure of executing a series of prompts _for no apparent reason_. This, for me, is the primary disconnect in Heavy Rain. My mechanical game-directed actions don't amplify or add meaning to the in-game behaviors they execute. They don't pull me in; they keep me out. " Hmn. I've been thinking about something similar recently. Time to fire up the blogpostmatron...
heavyrain  michaelabbott  acting  directing  games  interactivedrama 
february 2010 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: The servant and the someday song
"...sometimes I fear our endless preoccupation with making the case for video games is self-defeating. It feels defensive and, at its worst, produces a kind of micro-culture obsession with analysis: a 24/7 bloggo-Twitter tilling and re-tilling of the same small plot of dirt. In this self-absorbed environment, each new game's worth is measured by its ability to move the needle on emergent narrative, artistic expression, genre refinement...or whatever criterion we're applying this week to prove games matter to people already convinced." Yes. Not the reason I've been taking a break from writing about it, but something that plays on my mind before I put fingers to keyboard.
games  writing  criticism  michaelabbott  blogs  navelgazing 
november 2009 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Put away your popcorn
"...when we step into the shoes of that avatar, be it 1st-person, 3rd-person or otherwise, we exit the darkened movie theater paradigm and enter an intricate, performative, exploratory lab of untested ideas and speculation. We enter a playful space that feels and responds much more like a live theater rehearsal than an interactive movie or a triggered series of movie clips." Michael debunks the games-as-cinema analogy with an interesting take that considers them as more like theatre rehearsal.
games  michaelabbott  analogy  cinema  theatre  rehearsal  stage 
february 2009 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: "I'm With the Band" - a short play
"My crystal ball tells me you will hear music - great classic rock tunes - and you will believe, truly believe, that you are playing that music on your toy guitar. And you will feel, truly feel, that you are cool. A hero of the guitar." Lovely.
games  music  play  writing  rockband  guitarhero  michaelabbott 
january 2009 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Made by human beings
"What a wonderful idea," Jennifer noted. "We never get to see the people who make the games." Michael Abbott is talking about LittleBigPlanet.
games  creation  play  littlebigplanet  michaelabbott 
december 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Dissonance
"Does the road to ludonarrative unity really lead us where we want to go? Is the destination reachable? Is it possible to embrace a design aesthetic that takes us in another direction that could be just as fruitful, if not more so? Okay that was three questions, but it's my blog so I get to ask as many as I want. Now if I could only answer them." This is going to be interesting when I come to write about Far Cry 2.
games  narrative  story  michaelabbott  dissonance  design  mechanics  systems 
december 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: The big ignore
"...in recent years, [the stage has] moved away from those practices. Today, we better understand the importance of offering kids the very best we can do. They are no different from the rest of us. They respond positively to quality, and they quickly grow bored and restless with mediocrity... We might consider a similar approach to video games. If we want our kids - heck, if we want all of us - to enjoy quality games, we must pay attention to and promote those games that deliver quality."
children  entertainment  games  art  quality  criticism  michaelabbott 
november 2008 by infovore

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