This is my monthly linkspam, which includes some articles I found interesting, and some brief commentary.
Video games are better without stories – Ian Bogost argues that video games just aren’t as good at storytelling as movies or literature. Currently the best stories seem to be told through environmental storytelling, which falls quite short of the interactive storytelling often envisioned. This is a point I’m sympathetic to, having played several games that were widely praised for their story, and being frankly disappointed at how poorly they compare to even mediocre literature.
As far as my personal calculations go, it’s not so much a question of what the medium of video games is capable of. To me, the question is, “Is it economically feasible for the medium to produce good stories that go beyond mainstream tastes?” For me, movies fail this test because either they need to sell to a broad audience (which generally doesn’t include me), or they need to be poorly produced. Video games are also in a bad position, but they may get better as development costs go down.
I found this link via Critical Distance, which paired Ian Bogost’s article with several critiques. To be honest, I was really put off by that Gamasutra article, which started out by complaining that this whole debate had been dismissed by academics since 2005, and then immediately followed this with the complaint that Ian Bogost was being elitist. Games critics, why are you bad? Patrick Klepek makes good points though.
Hypatia affair – So, this requires some context. There was recently an article in Hypatia, academic feminist philosophy journal, which argued that if we accept transgender experiences, we must also accept transracialism (a la Dolezal). It would actually be interesting to see a rigorous philosophical argument along these lines, but the paper did no such thing. In fact, it showed a complete lack of familiarity with trans issues, indicating that Hypatia, a feminist journal, failed to get the right referees to review the paper. This is troubling to philosophers interested in writing about trans issues, knowing “the fate of your work (and, by extension, your career) is being decided by people without even the most minimal literacy in those issues.”
Anyway, academics wrote an open letter criticizing Hypatia. And then New York Magazine writer Jesse Singal brought it to the public realm, referring to it as a “witch hunt” of the paper’s author (who is not even named in the open letter?). Siobhan wrote an article talking about how bullshit this is, and includes many more links on the subject.
A message from Anita on the end of Tropes – Anita Sarkeesian has made her last Tropes Vs Women in Video Games video, which is sad. For most of the series, I have felt that almost everything she said was just basic feminism. And yet, it was so important, because to many people who consume or produce video games, her critiques were eye-opening or subversive. Myself I enjoyed watching her videos because I liked seeing all the examples, oh so many examples.
Oh, but I can’t be too sad about it, because Anita Sarkeesian has already started a new video series!
Speak Your Mind-Even If Your Voice Shakes – This is a first-person perspective from Luxander on purism in our feminist communities. Oh, I have many thoughts on this topic, but they haven’t really coalesced into blog posts, except this linkspam.
You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic? – I was surprised to find that drug overdose deaths are now outnumbering car accident deaths. I’ve always kinda assumed that car deaths were so common that it would be disproportionate to be afraid of anything without also being afraid of cars. Oh, I wonder how Trumpcare will affect that.