Art or Show?

Video games have changed over the years in order to keep up with the everchanging tastes of the video game player (I mean fickleness) of the game player. The bond between the game designer and the game player has been indeed blurred. Neither knows what each other wants, and for the sake of profit and possibly control video games that rely on realism as it’s main thing are being called art. This is wrong for the reasons of having substance and alot of these realistic games lack plenty of substance. Video games back in the day were able to combine a great story with gameplay, and of course graphics were a work of art. Playing those games whether action/adventure, side scrolling RPG, platforms, and fighting games opened up the imagination, tested skill, and can be reminiscent of reading fiction books and seeing those worlds, and characters come to life. If and when a game can do that, and do it well then it is art. Art also has substance, most games now are being modeled after stylized movies, and themes, that have no story, and the main selling point again is the realism as far as sound of characters speaking, explosions, violence, blood or gore, big cars, armed combat simulations and so on. Those games would be classified as show due to having as movie directors old slogan goes: “More Bang for your Buck.” In the “Show games” they have real locations but they cannot be explored unless they have something to do with game, the player just zips through the city, and the “real location” just serves as scenery, and a backdrop to the game (It’s there to look cool). Whereas in games that are considered art the scenery is apart of the game whatever the location looks like can be entered sometimes as secret rooms or passageways, a representation of the location may not be entered into until later in the game, or may be apart of the game altogether. Games that are art also use “real elements” for character design, locations,etc. as a blueprint and the game itself could totally be based off the game designers imagination. Which is no surprise that most game players are searching long and hard to find and download the classic games that gave them that feeling of this is art onto the new game systems currently out most notably the nintendo wii. In short Game designers in mass production and distribution have favored Familiarty and profit over Imagination and substance, and have turned highly imaginative games into stagnant franchises. In order for a video game to be considered art these things need to happen: Game designers need to create more imaginative games at a high level that includes, story, gameplay, and graphics, and the game buying public needs to reaffirm what art is in this new age of Gameplay to include Video games as being not only art, but apart of art as well, otherwise the Show will go on.

Hype takes over

Being apart of many things over the years, and seeing how they are presented, has made me

wonder since the truth is always out there why are people living the hype? In just about everything that

has to do with the arts or of human expression it is all about spectacle and that is regarded more

than the actual thing and that is scary. In the short essay Piercing the Spectacle by Lauren

she talks about how the spectacle affects our very learning by saying it is more exciting to

make a big deal out of something without having to put any substance in it, or getting anything

out of it Education is not taught to you it is marketed to you. It’s so many ways this can be

looked at especially through education being about

facts and figures instead of putting what you learned, to use and into practice. The spectacle

itself is a presentation or lack there of, and designed to make people oblivious to the real thing.

which fits well into video games of the present with all the Hyper-Violence and different


created to keep you occupied and focused on what’s in front of you, and not have or even

seek anything else or of use. The player takes nothing from the game except the violence displayed on

it, the environment, the characters and how all of those elements are reality-based or Life-Like.

In RPG’s and most Side-scrolling games the people that have played those that are aware of it

being just another way to challenge themselves and have fun at the same time will tell you of how

after they play the game they learned strategy, some problem solving skills and patience that can be used in real life.

Lauren also speaks about how education is just about passing tests, and

also how students are being conditioned to just learn facts and figures, and not having any

skills on thinking “outside the box” the only thing that students who will later become adults

can know is what they were taught, believe it and ultimately live it. Questioning anything is

wrong, and considered counter-productive or to Quote the Simpsons episode about school

testing “Iowa Tests Controlling your destiny since 1925” or abnormal.

In interactive gaming the same method applies

you have to be an expert at playing the game, all the choices you make are only confined to the game itself, and the player becomes occupied by it as well there is no

freedom but the illusion of it is definitely there. In the education 25+ years ago Teachers used

unconventional methods in their lesson plans to teach

their students to develop themselves through thinking, participating, and being practical by incorporating

show-and-tell, showing movies or slide shows, bringing in puppets, watching historical events on Tv, scheduling field trips,

humor, Law Enforcement, exercise, Guest speakers/demonstrators, Assemblies etc. Some of the textbooks or educational short movies had characters from cartoons or other

movies that students recognized, enjoyed and identified with. And also teachers

sharing their likes with their students and finding out what their students are interested in as

well. Introducing “Real Elements” into something as structured as a school made students excited on coming and learning everyday. Book reports, and in-class demonstrations, and skits acted out by students and teachers were also implemented. Those techniques used would as Lauren would say develop “Critical Thinking skills” among

the students that they can use in later life also it was fun. Lauren argues that education must

be reconstructed to include interactivity that will make the students eager to learn as well as

question things instead of being Human Robots. Also suggested in the essay is why

educational games are not doing so well because it is presented in an uninteresting way,

and she as I can say as well Education would be more exciting and fun if they included

interactive elements into traditional education. Imagine how much fun education and

interaction would be if

they continue to added things that are apart of life such as questioning, and experience, along

with early interactive games such as Speak n’ spell, Alphie II, or later versions of those games

being made by educational game companies that really emphasize on making learning fun.

One game a few years ago around the same time this essay was written involved students

learning about the American Revolution and the Constitution that allowed the student to

participate with a CD-Rom included with the game, and make choices that ultimately lead to these main events in history that the students can imagine they are apart of.

This is a step in the right direction

that may spawn some more games of the same caliber and in the student developing critical

thinking skills, and other techniques that will help the student in later life, as well as developing

problem solving skills. Instead of believing that a player only has control over a controlled

environment that is limited due to rules, and having an my actions, don’t matter because there

is someone always over me mentality. If the masses young, old, and in-between continue to think as well

as act like that then the only thing that will be reality is the spectacle, and all of the Hype,

In front of it, behind, and pushing it.

Alphie II

There needs to be Balance

Unfortunately most of these games and game communites tend to become overwhelming as new game communities are constantly starting up from the New games being put on Market. Witchcraft is a good example of this as they use both TV and celebrities to make this game exciting also the fact you can create, and customize your own characters to enter this world of multi-player game play and fantasy but the gameplay itself is extremely long, you often don’t know who you are online with, or playing your game console against as people get online at anytime, and also there are other games in that GameWorld that people may end up being a member of that may include 20 or more different games with the one community that they are apart of already. You don’t want to stretch yourselves too thin. Even in the Game Communities you can become exausted.