Adams on the cultural impact of games

Wow, it’s been almost a month since I last wrote anything here. I guess blogging is a state of mind, not so much about the importance of the content you write, but about feeling like communicating it to other people. Guess I’ve been a bit asocial lately. 🙂

You can read Ernest Adams’ wonderful article here. He talks about the need for culturally respectable games in order to consolidate videogames as a respected medium itself. He talks about having "highbrow" and "elitist" games, and uses Merchant-Ivory as an example of such in films.

Merchant-Ivory is a misguided example in my opinion, they are largely as populist as it gets among a largely female audience, and their choice of where to put production value is not fundamentally different from that of that of a Bruckheimer film: historically details dresses and mansions or realistic explosions and destructions. Who cares? Frankly, neither are intellectually stimulating. Ok now I’m going to the extreme, M-I films do have reasonably interesting story, characters and setting whereas Bruckheimer’s mental values is barely at the level of adolescent fantasies.

In any case, Adams’ choice of words may be intended to emphasize the idea as well as attract attention via controversy, and going by the number of published letters to the editor, he has hit the mark. I’ll just summarize what I feel is the central idea of the article in one of his sentences:

"To merely be fun is to be unimportant, irrelevant, and therefore vulnerable"

As more time passes, I am more of the opinion that videogames have a fundamental problem in order to be culturally interesting: the interaction distracts us and occupies our minds, preventing any absorption or even interest in the more intellectual aspects that a game may communicate. But then, I’m known to ignore and skip every single piece of text or cutscene I can while I’m playing a game.

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