Woah! Wait, don’t mind him! You are perfectly welcome. For some reason I turn into a dick when I’m illustrated.
So, yeah, this is THRUSTING STICKS, my weekly game blog in keeping with my phallic web theme. I hope to update it with a variety of content; animations, reviews, critical discourse – any medium, so long as it looks at gaming from a fresh and colourful perspective.
This multi-medium approach is inspired by games themselves. I think people incorrectly think of video games as one cohesive ‘medium’, neatly slotting alongside films, novels and music in your categorical mindspace. I don’t think games are just a medium, I think they are a digitisation of all mediums – a unification of previously separate art forms through computer code.
I also don’t think that a defining quality of video games is that they are ‘interactive’. While it’s true that computer game code can react to user input in a way that a novel or a film can’t, I think that interactivity, as an idea, is inherent in all art forms. A novel, after all, is simply an assortment of inky marks on a page – yet your brain interprets these strange symbols and conjures from them a whole world of people and places. What is this imaginary realm if not a collaboration, an interaction, between author and reader? Similarly, if you have ever been thrust to the ‘edge of your seat’ by a film, you are engaged in that art form; you are hedging bets, gambling with the creators. “He’s not going to make it”, or, “I think she’s the murderer”. You may not be pressing buttons, but you are playing a game.
(And you could argue that a Call of Duty single-player campaign – no different from Time Crisis, gameplay wise – is one of the least interactive experiences you can have in any medium).
I mean, I was recently sitting on a tube watching my friend John play 80 Days, which is a sort of strategy novel where you don’t just decide your actions within the narrative, but how each paragraph starts and unfolds. Is it literature? Is it a game? Is it a video game? It’s all of these, of course. What stupid questions.
In short: computer games are a digital synergy of all the methods we have been utilising to capture and share our subjective experiences since the first fucking cave paintings 30,000 years ago. So far we have used this bounty of riches to mostly simulate men shooting each other in browny-grey wastelands. We have done this to such an extent, that when games come along which try and do something different, the community responds by claiming that they are not games at all.
So, here’s an idea: EVERYTHING IS A GAME. Now let’s shut up and play some novels. I mean, read a film. Oh, whatever.