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#11558 - 08/25/10 08:59 AM Medal of Honor
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
In response to all the flak surrounding the upcoming release of the video game, Medal of Honor, EA's President has released a statement defending the game. He uses words like "creative vision" and "artistic choice" and states, incredibly, "....the media of its (sic) time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform".

Pardon? Storytelling medium?

I don't have any video games but, from what I've seen on documentaries about gaming and the games involved, I find it hard to believe that even a single copy would be sold to someone who thought they were being told a story.

I find it even more incredible that this executive would compare video games,as a story-telling medium, to a classic work of literature - The Red Badge of Courage.

ryck


Edited by ryck (08/25/10 10:24 AM)
Edit Reason: Add Link
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#11559 - 08/25/10 10:57 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
While I am personally inclined to agree with your point of view, I am reminded of the words to an old Bob Dylan song from the 1960s.
Originally Posted By: Bob Dylan and eLyrics.net and not for commercial use

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.
I have a nephew who is a librarian in a large library system who specializes in "graphic novels" that are little more than the comic books I read as a child in the 1940s. He contends some of the most original stories for children and youth are found in graphic novels. I find him difficult to argue with. In fact, I find myself avidly following one online graphic novel.

While I find the EA President's remarks somewhat puerile and strongly self-serving, who is to say games are not a logical extensions of the fairy tales of old? If they are, then the content and plot of too many of these games should give all of us pause to consider the future with children and youth who have grown up with this kind of amoral, blood splashed, literature(?).


Edited by joemikeb (08/25/10 10:58 AM)
Edit Reason: remove stray UBB tag
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#11560 - 08/25/10 12:53 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
He contends some of the most original stories for children and youth are found in graphic novels. I find him difficult to argue with. In fact, I find myself avidly following one online graphic novel.

Exactly. There are stories.

Storytelling has certainly changed over the centuries but, no matter what the medium, there was something in common - a story being told and followed. However, I have a hard time thinking that racking up as many 'kills' as possible constitutes following a storyline.

ryck
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#11567 - 08/26/10 01:56 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck
Storytelling has certainly changed over the centuries but, no matter what the medium, there was something in common - a story being told and followed. However, I have a hard time thinking that racking up as many 'kills' as possible constitutes following a storyline.

ryck


Have you ever played any of these games?

Many video games, such as Bioshock, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and so on, have very strong storylines. It's not just about "racking up as many kills as possible;" the game's story and setting unfold as you play. Hell, I've seen video games that have characters who are better described and more complex than the characters in a lot of movies I've seen!

It sounds to me like what it comes down to is that you have a strong emotional reaction to the game. You think of a group of people as a caricature; you're accustomed to responding to them on an emotional level as one-dimensionally evil, so the idea that someone might play a game while pretending to take on their role upsets you emotionally.

I think that's understandable, but I also don't think it's any reason to condemn a game, especially sight unseen.
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#11570 - 08/26/10 03:25 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
Hell, I've seen video games that have characters who are better described and more complex than the characters in a lot of movies I've seen!

Though that might be considered "damning with faint praise." wink
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#11571 - 08/26/10 05:29 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
Have you ever played any of these games?

No, and it's unlikely that I will anytime soon. However, neither do I plan to participate in a range of other things. It isn't complicated. Playing these games, like a host of other activities, simply does not appeal to me.

Originally Posted By: tacit
Many video games, such as Bioshock, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and so on, have very strong storylines. It's not just about "racking up as many kills as possible;" the game's story and setting unfold as you play

I don't know what you think constitutes a "very strong storyline" but I'll take your word that some games you mentioned have the kinds of plots you describe. However, I remain unconvinced of the likelihood that they are comparable to great literature.

Originally Posted By: tacit
Hell, I've seen video games that have characters who are better described and more complex than the characters in a lot of movies I've seen!

Given the quality of many movies being released these days, it's hardly a ringing endorsement.

Originally Posted By: tacit
It sounds to me like what it comes down to is that you have a strong emotional reaction to the game.

This isn't about emotions at all. I just think that when someone makes a completely stupid statement, as Mr. Gibeau did by comparing his video game with The Red Badge of Courage, someone should call him on it.

Originally Posted By: tacit
You think of a group of people as a caricature; you're accustomed to responding to them on an emotional level as one-dimensionally evil, so the idea that someone might play a game while pretending to take on their role upsets you emotionally.

You got all that from the few words I wrote? No one can say you don't have a knack for creative writing.

ryck


Edited by ryck (08/26/10 11:00 PM)
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#11574 - 08/27/10 01:15 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
Many video games, such as Bioshock, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and so on, have very strong storylines. It's not just about "racking up as many kills as possible;" the game's story and setting unfold as you play. Hell, I've seen video games that have characters who are better described and more complex than the characters in a lot of movies I've seen!

I have now taken time to read the "plots" of the games you used as examples and, generically, they do not appear to be much different than each other or many games that have gone before....as long as 25 or 30 years ago.

The protagonists are put into a dangerous situation and must find their way out, perhaps achieving other goals along the way. They have opportunities to acquire things or form alliances that will help them and, depending how far along they are, the dangers become more challenging.

Depending on how successful they have been in dealing with the dangerous individuals or situations, their health deteriorates. There are ways to restore their health. Et cetera, et cetera.

Ho hum.

I read descriptions of the differences in the way these games use camera angles and the ways that technology has improved the realism of the settings and other aspects of the games.

They remind me of the kind of movies I believe you are referring to. In the absence of anything new for a "plot" let's substitute special effects.

It still doesn't sound like great literature to me.

ryck


Edited by ryck (08/27/10 02:35 AM)
Edit Reason: grammar
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#11580 - 08/27/10 10:28 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
I have now taken time to read the "plots" of the games you used as examples and, generically, they do not appear to be much different than each other or many games that have gone before....as long as 25 or 30 years ago.

The same could be said of the plots of all literature going back to ancient times. They are hinged on the same human strengths and foibles. The names, setting, and details change, but the underlying truths as well as the basic plots remain the same. John Campbell discusses this at length in his work on the monomyth a.k.a. the heroes journey.
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#11581 - 08/28/10 06:27 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
The same could be said of the plots of all literature going back to ancient times.


Campbell has an interesting theory but it appears to be more about stories in mythology and religion, so this seems a bit of a stretch.

Other visitors to the lounge are better equipped than I to debate the merits of Campbell's theory but I do see that scholars have questioned its validity. One person makes a good point "....like most universalists, he is content to merely assert universality rather than bother to document it."

I have already conceded that video games may have plots but I contend that they are hardly comparable to those found in great literature. When The Red Badge of Courage was originally published, it was compared with works by authors like Tolstoy, Zola and Kipling.

I haven't seen Medal of Honor, and am not likely to, but I'm absolutely certain that no credible individual is going to play it and say "Man, this sure reminds me of War and Peace". I'll go a step further and suggest that'll never happen with any of the other games mentioned in this thread.

I stick with my original contention concerning Mr. Gibeau's suggestion that, in story-telling media, Medal of Honor is on a par with The Red Badge of Courage. It's laughable.

ryck


Edited by ryck (08/28/10 06:29 AM)
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#11601 - 08/29/10 10:24 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck
The protagonists are put into a dangerous situation and must find their way out, perhaps achieving other goals along the way. They have opportunities to acquire things or form alliances that will help them and, depending how far along they are, the dangers become more challenging.

Depending on how successful they have been in dealing with the dangerous individuals or situations, their health deteriorates. There are ways to restore their health. Et cetera, et cetera.

Ho hum.


What you're describing is a mechanic or a story progression, not a plot.

Let's take the game Bioshock as an example. The plot of Bioshock involves the main character, who is played by the game player, beginning an overseas journey. The plane the protagonist character is on crashes; the protagonist is the only survivor, and swims to a lighthouse on a nearby island after the crash. That's how the story starts.

From there, the story develops in some very complex ways. As the player plays the game, he enters an undersea city beneath the lighthouse and begins to learn about the history of that city. The player encounters a couple of non-player characters who give him contradictory information about the origins of the city, the motivations of the other character, and the other character's goals. The player learns that the city was built as a Libertarian paradise many years ago, and that researchers working in the city discovered techniques for gene splicing that can give people extraordinary abilities, including abilities such as telekinesis.

The player also learns that the ability to do these things requires the harvesting of specialized stem cells from a rare undersea organism, that a war had broken out in the city over control of that resource, and that the non-player characters he is interacting with are opposing factions in that war (which is still going on).

The characters have a rich and complex past; one of the characters the player encounters, for instance, is a Holocaust survivor who escaped to the Libertarian city, only to become embroiled in the war for control of its resources. There's a great deal more story than that, but that's the basic skeleton.

A very interesting part of the storytelling in this and other games, though, is that as the protagonist, the player can make moral choices that influence both the development of the protagonist and the story itself. With conventional storytelling, the experience of the story is passive; no matter how many times you watch Star Wars, it always ends the same way. In games like Bioshock, the character is confronted with moral choices. There are citizens in Bioshock called Little Sisters, who are essentially girls genetically modified to produce the stem cells in their bodies. The main character has the choice to kill them and harvest the stem cells from their bodies, which makes the player much stronger; or to free them and allow them to escape, which makes the player less powerful. The game's story changes depending on the choices the player makes.

The ability to make moral choices is only relevant if it is possible to make choices which are not moral; it would be meaningless to make moral choices if every choice were the right one. That's one of the features of well-written interactive games that's so compelling from a storytelling point of view--the ability to have the protagonist make wrong choices, and to see the consequences of those choices. I think that too many stories, especially Hollywood stories, have characters who either never confront any significant moral choices or, when they do, never make any mistakes and never make the wrong choices. I think, honestly, that that makes for weaker storytelling.

I've actually written an essay about that, as a matter of fact.

At the end of the day, there is more to storytelling than books or movies, and the fact that you personally may not recognize a medium as a valid storytelling vehicle doesn't mean that it isn't. Hell, people say thatcomic books aren't real storytelling media, and yet the comic book Maus (about the author's father's experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, in which the Nazis are drawn as cats and the Jews as mice) has won a Pulitzer Prize.

Is the game as compelling a story as The Red Badge of Courage? I dunno. I haven't played it. I have read The Red Badge of Courage? and I didn't find it to be especially well-written or particularly interesting, so it's possible. But when you make comparisons like that, in the end you're talking taste, not objective fact.

One man's Great Literature(tm) is another man's dreck; I've heard the book Brave New World described as 'one of the 100 best works of literature ever written in the English language," for instance, and to me it's nothing but reactionary, anti-industrialization, anti-sex nonsense with an implausible plot, poor storytelling, and an astonishingly poor grasp on basic human nature.

Whatever.

As for not believing that anyone would buy a video game believing he were being told a story,well...people can and do buy video games for the story in them. Video game reviewers often rate games on the basis of their story. Absolutely, people can and do buy and play video games for the stories they tell.
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#11615 - 08/31/10 06:08 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
Sturner Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Cyber Space
Some have a story "theme", some promote a story line through the levels/maps/incidents in the game. Multi-player is short on story, though it uses a theme.

Some, Like Halo, have a back story that comes out more strongly in the advertising trailers and and peripheral novels that they generate. The Halo: ODST trailers used live action to show the situation and back story of the game to great effect. The current Halo: Reach trailers do the same with animated live action. Each is a vignette which evokes a well spring of emotional response. Thus, they are telling a story, which the gamer is vicariously extending.
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#11620 - 08/31/10 04:29 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive view. It is both quite informative and appreciated. I have also read the piece you wrote about Watchmen.

Originally Posted By: tacit
With conventional storytelling, the experience of the story is passive...

If the experience is passive, it is a matter of choice. A book becomes a much more enjoyable experience when there is discussion and interpretation of the author's words, et cetera. We all experienced that during literature classes in school.

Some folks belong to book clubs where discussion is a key reason for belonging and, anyone who has ever read to a child will agree that the experience can definitely be something other than solitary passive.

Originally Posted By: tacit
Is the game as compelling a story as The Red Badge of Courage? I dunno. I haven't played it. I have read The Red Badge of Courage? and I didn't find it to be especially well-written or particularly interesting, so it's possible. But when you make comparisons like that, in the end you're talking taste, not objective fact.

Although your assessment of the novel is only your opinion, your concluding sentence is an accusation that can be made of Mr. Gibeau at Electronic Arts. He is the one who defended Medal of Honor by comparing it with The Red Badge of Courage.

Your description of Bioshock doesn't convince me that Mr. Gibeau is right about Medal of Honor. I doubt very much that it will contain the type of moral dilemmas you described for Bioshock. Is a person taking on the role of a Taliban extremist really going to ponder whether he should kill an American soldier? Or throw acid into the face of a schoolgirl?

I think Mr. Gibeau found that he couldn't properly respond to the controversy about the taste and appropriateness of releasing his game at this time, so he set up a straw man argument. It deserves to be knocked down.

ryck


Edited by ryck (08/31/10 05:31 PM)
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#11646 - 09/03/10 10:31 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: joemikeb]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
John Campbell discusses this at length in his work on the monomyth a.k.a. the heroes journey.

Joseph, right? wink

Tacit's right about all the weak characters in movies. It's even worse in current fiction. I've been disappointed by just about every newly proclaimed masterpiece I've read this summer.

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#11723 - 09/10/10 06:07 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: dboh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: dboh
John Campbell discusses this at length in his work on the monomyth a.k.a. the heroes journey.

Joseph, right? wink

Tacit's right about all the weak characters in movies. It's even worse in current fiction. I've been disappointed by just about every newly proclaimed masterpiece I've read this summer.


To be fair, I do think that most of the really good works of fiction these days are happening in places that aren't mainstream fiction (which, for the most part, I have little use for).

The best single piece of contemporary literature I've read in the last decade, for example, is Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which is an astonishing and complex journey into the life of a very morally ambiguous character that is told non-linearly (each odd-numbered chapter proceeds from the start of the story forward in time, while even-numbered chapters proceed backward in time and reveal more about the main character's past). In the end, we learn things about the main character that portray him as a person capable of the most appalling of atrocities, while still viewing him in a sympathetic light. The story is both compassionate towards and also unflinching about the life of the main character, that manages the very unusual feat of not attempting to justify or condone his actions while at the still time being sympathetic to him.

It's also science fiction, rather than more mainstream fiction...which, as I've written about here, I believe is the only reason it hasn't won a Pulitzer Prize.

It is definitel my opinion that there are many literary forms which are dismissed as not being "real" literature (science fiction, for example, or graphic novels), but in which you can find some interesting, groundbreaking, and even breathtaking literature. I would venture to say that quite a bit of the cutting-edge works of good literature of the last half of the 20th century have gone totally unnoticed by a lot of people because they're happening in genres which folks are accustomed to dismissing out of hand.

And that's a shame.
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#11726 - 09/10/10 08:22 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
II would venture to say that quite a bit of the cutting-edge works of good literature of the last half of the 20th century have gone totally unnoticed by a lot of people because they're happening in genres which folks are accustomed to dismissing out of hand.

And that's a shame.


Hear, hear!

(And I agree with you about Banks. Brilliant.)
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#11733 - 09/10/10 01:13 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
To be fair, I do think that most of the really good works of fiction these days are happening in places that aren't mainstream fiction (which, for the most part, I have little use for).

The best single piece of contemporary literature I've read in the last decade, for example, is Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which is an astonishing and complex journey into the life of a very morally ambiguous character that is told non-linearly (each odd-numbered chapter proceeds from the start of the story forward in time, while even-numbered chapters proceed backward in time and reveal more about the main character's past).


And, of course, that's your opinion. You are entitled to it as others are entitled to theirs.

I looked around for other opinions on "Use of Weapons" and, lo and behold, there are folks who don't agree with you. So, maybe it's safe to conclude that there's a reason that this book hasn't won a Pulitzer Prize, other than "because it's Science Fiction". Perhaps it just doesn't qualify.

From where I sit, your opinion is coloured by what you appear to think: "I love science fiction and I can't understand why everyone else doesn't. There must be something wrong with them." Your science fiction bias becomes even clearer in the link you provided.

Originally Posted By: tacit
I would venture to say that quite a bit of the cutting-edge works of good literature of the last half of the 20th century have gone totally unnoticed by a lot of people because they're happening in genres which folks are accustomed to dismissing out of hand.

And that's a shame.


A shame? Maybe. Too facile? Absolutely. Maybe the truth is that the kind of science fiction you like just isn't appealing except to a limited group.

Clearly there is a style that appeals to a wider audience. There have been science fiction best sellers, clearly reflected in sales of books and movie tickets. But, in your opinion, they have no redeeming value as stories. Hence your distain for Star Wars and Brave New World.

You call your preference "interesting, groundbreaking, and even breathtaking" and are dismissive of any who may not concur. To be quite honest, your description of "Use of Weapons" sounds more like chronological gymnastics than a good tale.

Did you forget your own words earlier in this thread: "One man's Great Literature(tm) is another man's dreck...", or did you forget to add the caveat that the words only apply if another's tastes are in sync with yours?

ryck


Edited by ryck (09/10/10 01:15 PM)
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#11738 - 09/10/10 02:06 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
Maybe the truth is that the kind of science fiction you like just isn't appealing except to a limited group.


There is material in every single paragraph you wrote (keep 'm coming!) I could extensively comment on, but doing so would likely muddy the waters more than they already seem to be. That's why I rather arbitrarily picked the sentence I quoted.

Wouldn't you agree that your statement is true for any genre of writing, not just science fiction, but also including many (if not most) works earning the highest praise and prizes? (Using the word 'literature' instead of 'writing' is a value judgement I prefer to leave to the readers.)


Stepping away from that single quote, it seems to me that you're too fixated on perceived 'truths' and 'objective values' to hear what some here are saying. Or, in your words, your opinion is coloured by what you appear to think. That's fine with me, but what's good for the goose...

Just to give another 'dreck' example: James Joyce's Ulysses is considered a high point of literature by experts, but abject and unreadable drivel by others, whose numbers likely exceed many times those of the experts.

Who's right? I suspect that your answer would be the experts. Apart from the fact that I usually don't care too much about this kind of right or wrong, I'd say they both are, albeit for different reasons. The bestselling Great Literature and Banal Dreck segments only partially overlap in market terms and volume, just like those segments that don't sell well. We may be talking apples and oranges here, but they have equal right to exist.
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#11741 - 09/10/10 03:23 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: alternaut]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: alternaut
....but doing so would likely muddy the waters more than they already seem to be.

The thread has moved considerably from the original denouncing of Mr. Gibeau's lame defense of Medal of Honor, but who's counting? Isn't that what's supposed to happen in The Lounge?

Originally Posted By: alternaut
Wouldn't you agree that your statement is true for any genre of writing, not just science fiction, but also including many (if not most) works earning the highest praise and prizes?

I agree generally (although "any genre of writing" might be an overstatement) but I would further suggest that "limited appeal" is applicable in art forms other than literature (or writing, if you prefer). A perfect example is jazz. I am a fan of jazz but there are styles that, in my opinion, are just bizarre and a long way from musicality.

I don't quibble with the right of people to create that jazz, or to be fans of it, but I find that the proponents dismiss non-fans with "You just don't get it" and they act as though all else is inferior.

It's the kind of dismissiveness I've "heard" in this thread.

Originally Posted By: alternaut
Who's right? I suspect that your answer would be the experts.

Actually, you're wrong.

And, in the case of getting opinions on "Use of Weapons", I read what people had said on various blogs.

ryck


Edited by ryck (09/10/10 03:25 PM)
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#11746 - 09/10/10 04:23 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

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Registered: 08/04/09
I find much less to argue about in your reply this time around, and I fully agree with you about the wanderings of this thread. laugh

Returning to Mr. Gibeau, perhaps a better way to get to the heart of the matter is to ask you if you could (re)state your point of view in these matters in as succinct a manner as possible. I promise not to nail you down on the missing details that would necessarily have to fall by the wayside in this approach. smirk

I know that this is much easier asked than answered, but it can help to focus on the essentials and minimize the marginal ad-hominem remarks this discourse seems to spark.
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#11753 - 09/11/10 10:13 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: alternaut]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: alternaut
I find much less to argue about in your reply this time around, and I fully agree with you about the wanderings of this thread. laugh

Returning to Mr. Gibeau, perhaps a better way to get to the heart of the matter is to ask you if you could (re)state your point of view in these matters in as succinct a manner as possible.

Re-set to zero? I don't think that has any value. The topic didn't generate much interest then and I don't think it will now.

Originally Posted By: alternaut
....but it can help to focus on the essentials and minimize the marginal ad-hominem remarks this discourse seems to spark.

I've always thought that, in The Lounge, 'wandering' topics are to be expected. I can understand that, in a Technical Forum, correspondence should stay on topic. The threads are referential and new topics need new threads with correct titles.

When Lounge topics wander they sometimes go into more interesting areas and, in fact, create the opportunity to learn. That happened in this thread. I learned a lot more than I knew about the way plots are constructed in video games, and I expressed my thanks for the lesson.

The best 'wandering' example I can think of started with a straight-forward question I posed about a year ago. I simply asked where I could locate a thread on Unexplained Scientific Principles. The specific answer didn't arrive until page five of the posts.

But, more than 18,000 views and 339 posts later when the thread ended, a wide range of topics had been covered with each accompanied by interesting and informative dialogue.

There were also, as can be expected, a few ad hominems but I'm pretty sure nobody held any grudges. It seems to me that the nature of open dialogue is that it has the potential to heat up and cool down.

However, you are the Moderator so I will just "Leave 'er where Jesus flang 'er."

ryck


Edited by ryck (09/11/10 10:14 AM)
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#11754 - 09/11/10 11:39 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

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Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
- Re-set to zero? I don't think that has any value.
- However, you are the Moderator so I will just "Leave 'er where Jesus flang 'er."

No, not to zero, but to an unambiguous summary position based on all your comments here. Those comments are appreciated regardless of what's to follow, and perhaps your conclusion is for the best.

So far, nothing happened that would require moderator intervention, but some comments definitely made me cringe. That always puts me on the alert for possible escalations, and it's been a tribute to this community that nothing untoward has occurred here. Let's hope that continues.
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#11757 - 09/11/10 02:15 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
I don't quibble with the right of people to create that jazz, or to be fans of it, but I find that the proponents dismiss non-fans with "You just don't get it" and they act as though all else is inferior.

It's the kind of dismissiveness I've "heard" in this thread

Not to quibble and certainly not to defend Mr. Gibeau's lame defense of Medal of Honor, but it sounded to me as if many of your comments to those who supporting the idea that electronic games could have a plot and/or storyline could easily be interpreted as equally dismissive. If that was not what you intended to communicate, perhaps you could further elucidate and clear up your intent.

Your arguments in this thread appear to imply the size of the audience or critical acclaim for a given work of art (I am including all the arts such as visual, musical, literary, performance, etc.) is a determinant its value or worthiness. If that is what you intended to imply, you are treading on quicksand. The collection of what are today considered masterpieces are filled with works that initially were met with outright derision from both critics and audiences. The premier of Igor Stravinsky's magnificent Le Sacre Du Pretemps (The Rite of Spring) created an actual riot among the audience and was met with the utter contempt of the critics. While the works of Samuel Langhorne Clemmens (Mark Twain) did not engender riots, much of his writing was, and still is, banned in many schools in this country. How many of those painters we now consider to be the great masters died destitute and apparently complete failures? Conversely there are artists today that attract huge audiences and earn tens of millions of dollars, but in a few years it is unlikely anyone will remember their name other than a faint recollection of their arrest record.

The point is, critical acclaim, prestigious awards, or the size of the audience are not necessarily a valid measure of the true merit of any form or work of any art. Only time can reveal the real truth of any art or art form.
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#11774 - 09/12/10 05:20 PM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
I was quite happy to leave things as they were and move on. I had more knowledge coming out than I had going in and, in gaining that knowledge, had changed my opinion of one genre of video game in terms of literary content. I am still unconvinced that the content is comparable to great literature.

However...................

Originally Posted By: alternaut
....some comments definitely made me cringe. That always puts me on the alert for possible escalations, and it's been a tribute to this community that nothing untoward has occurred here.

Untoward? I can't even imagine what that could mean.

However, in the unlikely event that Tacit or any reader of this thread has actually been offended by its content I'll be the first to apologize.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
[quote=ryck]....but it sounded to me as if many of your comments to those who supporting the idea that electronic games could have a plot and/or storyline could easily be interpreted as equally dismissive.

Many of my comments? Hardly.

I expressed an opinion that, based on what I'd seen in documentaries, that Medal of Honor could not be compared with The Red Badge of Courage on a literary level. In the next post you said you were "....personally inclined to agree...".

You went on to make the point, with a supporting argument, that there are original stories found in graphic novels. Without supporting argument, you also suggested that video games may be extensions of fairy tales. I agreed with your first point, not your second.

In the next post we have the first dismissive comment but, surprise surprise, it's not from me. Without supporting argument, Tacit states that many video games have "very strong storylines". He goes on to dismiss my opinion out-of-hand as nothing more than an emotional reaction.

Despite the fact that there was nothing to support Tacit's contention of the games' literary value, I say I am prepared to accept his word that they have the kinds of plots he described, although there's no evidence they're comparable to great literature.

I decide to do some reading on the plots in Tacit's examples and conclude the plots are formulaic. Based on a Joseph Campbell theory, you suggest my conclusion could be applicable to all literature going back to ancient times.

I don't agree although I admit I am not the best person to debate the merits of the theory. I concede again that some video games have plots (although I have yet to hear any supporting argument).

In the next post we get meat. Tacit writes a comprehensive and excellent description of the plots in the games he mentioned. Sturner adds support with examples. Tacit's post changes my mind about the literary value of some games.

I thank Tacit for taking the time to be so informative. I have a small disagreement about whether conventional storytelling needs to be passive. I reiterate my point about Mr. Gibeau's defense of Medal of Honor and suggest it's a straw man.

Tacit now changes the direction of the thread from video games to books and waxes eloquent about Use of Weapons. He concludes with what I perceive as a veiled swipe at me but I choose to ignore it.

Originally Posted By: tacit
It is definitel my opinion that there are many literary forms which are dismissed as not being "real" literature (science fiction, for example, or graphic novels), but in which you can find some interesting, groundbreaking, and even breathtaking literature. I would venture to say that quite a bit of the cutting-edge works of good literature of the last half of the 20th century have gone totally unnoticed by a lot of people because they're happening in genres which folks are accustomed to dismissing out of hand.

And that's a shame.

However, maybe a response is in order. I am not dismissing anything out of hand. When I was a kid I read a few sci-fi comics but I didn't like them. I found them boring. As I grew into my teens I tried a couple more times to read sci-fi but could never get past a few chapters before finding them a giant snore.

Not an "emotional reaction", not out-of-hand dismissiveness...I just don't care for it. I can understand why others might like it (although I wonder about the costumed convention attendees) but I don't understand why my rightful dislike seems to generate such zealotry.

Anyway, I respond to Tacit and suddenly two Moderators have jumped in.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Your arguments in this thread appear to imply the size of the audience or critical acclaim for a given work of art (I am including all the arts such as visual, musical, literary, performance, etc.) is a determinant its value or worthiness. If that is what you intended to imply, you are treading on quicksand.

How could you possibly draw that conclusion? Not one word in any of my posts suggested that awards matter. In fact, it's only only Tacit who seems to think that they are an important measuring stick.

Originally Posted By: tacit
It's also science fiction, rather than more mainstream fiction...which, as I've written about here, I believe is the only reason it hasn't won a Pulitzer Prize.

And, in the link Tacit provided, he even underlined the importance of awards by suggesting that even more than the Pulitzer would be appropriate: "....and there's a reason it has not won a Pulitzer Prize. At the very least."

If your awards point is important perhaps you should direct it at the right person.

My sin was to have an opinion that the "because it's science fiction" rationale for not winning the coveted prize might be a weak argument. Sorry about that but I thought opinions were allowed in The Lounge.

ryck


Edited by ryck (09/13/10 08:26 AM)
Edit Reason: Correct a typo (Red)
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#11776 - 09/13/10 03:30 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: alternaut]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
(Just one quick point. Or two.)

Tacit, I don't dismiss any genre, but if it doesn't interest me, I'm not going to read it. My complaint, and it probably applies to all genres, is that authors are getting lazy. Whereas past writers took the time to create and describe an atmosphere to create a sense of a specific time, now authors feel they can just toss in a few brand names, and that'll be enough. For me, it's not. This is as lazy as movie makers thinking a bunch of CGI effects will replace good plots and solid characters.

As for prizes, other genres do get noticed (ie, that whole "magical" South American genre). Plus, there are other prizes for specific genres (ie, Edgars for mysteries). If they don't get the same kind of notice as the Pulitzers, I think the prize-awarders deserve some of the blame for that.

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#11797 - 09/14/10 07:10 AM Re: Medal of Honor [Re: ryck]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ryck
Tacit now changes the direction of the thread from video games to books and waxes eloquent about Use of Weapons. He concludes with what I perceive as a veiled swipe at me but I choose to ignore it.


Ah, I guess tht might explain some of the prickliness I'm picking up from you since then.

No, that wasn't a veiled, or overt, swipe at you; in fact, I wasn't even holding you in mind when I wrote it. I was talking specifically to the point that a great many people (not you) do seem to hang onto the notion that Great Literature must only be in some written genres, and other written genres can never be literature. (I don't know if you believe that or not, but I haven't seen any reason to think you do.)

I am not a passive communicator. When I take swipes at folks, they're never veiled. smile
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