Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:

Toying with what you can convey in a game, how you convey these things, how you tell a story without speaking, is excellently done in Brothers, and few other media can do that with this specific and strange method they've employed.

So Brothers is very fine example – it's more interesting than something that everyone agrees on.

I don't think I follow you here.

In my case, I don't dislike Brothers in spite of its storytelling, I dislike it very explicitly because I think its storytelling is shallow, cliched, and manipulative. I would disagree that it displays anything resembling narrative experimentation, and I would disagree that it does anything that is strongly rooted in the videogaming medium as opposed to any other.

Which is fine - we have very different opinions of the game and its merits. But why does that difference make it a "very fine example?" That's what I don't get.

I think I'm just misunderstanding, but it almost seems like you are saying that people disagreeing with you makes you even more right.

laugh
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
flag msg tools
Now who are these five?
badge
Come, come, all children who love fairy tales.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JohnRayJr wrote:
In my case, I don't dislike Brothers in spite of its storytelling, I dislike it very explicitly because I think its storytelling is shallow, cliched, and manipulative. I would disagree that it displays anything resembling narrative experimentation, and I would disagree that it does anything that is strongly rooted in the videogaming medium as opposed to any other.

I wouldn't say the game exactly makes narrative experiments, but it does a few things that I haven't seen that much in video gaming, and that simply isn't possible in any non-interactivve medium. The story is not the least non-cliché – I recognize every single aspect from fairy tales I grew up with (and that's part of why I like it), there's nothing new to be had there.

But it does give a lot of background story without explaining it. There are strange things in the background that you never encounter, but that say something by just being there. And this is very well done. I was surprised several times during the game, by sudden things that were suddenly introduced, but in a strange way, it all made sense.
I think it's just not your way of wanting a story to be told, but it's there, and I vastly prefer this storytelling (or "background narratives" if you wish) to, say, the one in Skyrim, or Dragon Age, or Final Fantasy.

And the specific button press I'm referring to was definitely something that's quite rarely done.

JohnRayJr wrote:
Which is fine - we have very different opinions of the game and its merits. But why does that difference make it a "very fine example?" That's what I don't get.

I think I'm just misunderstanding, but it almost seems like you are saying that people disagreeing with you makes you even more right.

Not really. I'm saying that people disagreeing on a certain subject, makes the subject interesting to discuss. So Brothers is probably a fine example of what a game can do, just because it divides. If everyone agreed on that it's the top game ever, we would have a harder time analyzing just why it's good / bad – we'd probably just slap each other's shoulders in agreement. But now, I'm rather forced to think "why do I think this is good narration, when other people think it's crap?" and you're forced to think "How the heck can anyone think this is a good narrative? It stinks!", and that's usually more fruitful.
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:
[q="JohnRayJr"]
Not really. I'm saying that people disagreeing on a certain subject, makes the subject interesting to discuss.

That makes more sense! laughblush
2 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, this conversation got all kinds of heavy on page 2! I'm sorry I missed out since I was too busy to post more than a short answer on the first page.

I should say, that while video games are merely my third favorite type of gaming, they are my job. So they are number one when it comes to other parts of my life.

And hanging out here is a much nicer place than parts of the internet devoted only to video games. I've been to some of those places. I much prefer a site with other kinds of gaming connected to it. It seems to have a balancing affect on the tone of those who participate.
5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Fireball!
badge
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
xethair wrote:
That's a lot of questions for a QotD.

That's a lot of questions for a QotD.

mb

frumpish wrote:
In my opinion videogames are a poor vehicle for narrative storytelling. This is because the storyteller has no control over the pacing of the story.

I think that's a fair point. Pacing can get all out of whack depending on the nature of the game. That said, it has never bothered me too much as long as the story itself is good. I guess my brain is able to compartmentalize story moments vs. gameplay moments, so the gaps between the story and whatever you're actually doing don't seem as jarring as they would be if I were watching a movie that suddenly stopped with the story stuff and made you sit through a bunch of loosely related scenes that aren't really propelling anything forward. Regardless, I'd rank story as probably my first or second most important element of a game, in most cases. But admittedly, a lot of video game stories succeed in spite of the medium rather than because of it.
5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
flag msg tools
Now who are these five?
badge
Come, come, all children who love fairy tales.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ghostpants wrote:
frumpish wrote:
In my opinion videogames are a poor vehicle for narrative storytelling. This is because the storyteller has no control over the pacing of the story.

I think that's a fair point. Pacing can get all out of whack depending on the nature of the game.

I don't think controlling the pace is absolutely necessary for a narrative. In a video game, the player can control the pacing themselves, as one can control the pacing in a book, so I don't think author pace control is an absolute requirement for a good narrative medium.

That, plus the participation causes some really interesting aspects that few other narrative media can achieve.
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert
United States
West Union
West Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Patrick Carroll wrote:
If they're both games, they have enough in common to fall under the same heading, to be put in the same class of things.
Except that you don't know Microscope and are simply arguing your semantic dance from the assumption that I chose examples that fail to demonstrate the point.

While I'd like to have picked two examples as easily recognizable as Doom, Microscope came promptly to mind as something of an ideal starting point for illustrating the vast gulf of things that fall under "gaming". Indeed, I would not challenge the assertion that Microscope is not actually a "game" even though it falls under the heading. I could go find an even stronger example, since I have storygames that really don't even have anything one might try to call rules, and may push even the definition of "structured activity". That's not really worth the time it would take. Either you'll see the point, or you're nit-picking well beyond the point of using language as a functional tool.

Quote:
Actually, it was just a pedantic quibble over the word totally.
What it was, was being pointlessly tedious. Yes, one may assert "totally different" cannot apply if there is any similarity, but everything has some kind of similarity, even if it's something irrelevant or functionally useless like "can be described by words". So, such an assertion has no utility and does not seek to clarify or improve anything. It is just tedious disruption. There is nothing strange or unusual in using "totally different" as short-hand for the concept of a longer, more well-defined expression, such as "different for all intents and purposes", that might satisfy even someone out to be deliberately tedious. But that would just be forcing everyone else to be ever more tedious just to prevent the disruption of someone being deliberately tedious.

Quote:
It's used in ways that seem strange to me. Literally is another such word: if someone says, "He literally turned the house upside-down trying to find his lost keys," literally doesn't mean actually; it means the opposite--figuratively. Which is weird.

We may not like what happened to "literally", but it's not weird. "Literally" is almost exclusively used as an emphasizer. It's function of disambiguating metaphor/imprecision based assumption from the intended reality comes up rarely at best, and even in those cases, "literally" is still emphasizing its target, and generally accented. Real language cares most (often only) about salient features and effective utility, so it's entirely natural that something used only for emphasis took on the meaning of emphasis and eventually acquired a figurative usage that went against its literal meaning. It's a cruel but wonderful story of linguistic irony, and its result is neither strange nor unpredictable.

("Figuratively", on the other hand, is fairly superfluous and is used more for color than for actual need. It doesn't call emphasis and it doesn't get accented as important--in fact, it pushes attention away from itself. So marked usage keeps closer to its literal meaning.)

Quote:
To me it's also weird to say "totally" when you don't mean completely but only mean largely.
Now you're just redefining my words. I used "totally" for far more than your dismissive "largely", but you just assume games are similar enough to make that point, even if you have to ignore how ridiculously disparate things that fall under "gaming" actually can be.

Quote:
My whole career is tied up in the written word, and I get picky about things normal people don't care about.
Ah, so it's perfectly reasonable and ok as long as you're the one being picky about something.

Even so, that "totally" was not an important part of what I was saying. On to the less irrelevant parts.


Quote:
There we go--the crux of the matter, the real point at which we disagree. I personally see tremendous value in reflecting on, considering, and reconsidering how much various things mean to me.
Actually, so do I, and I agree that the subtleties of our likes and dislikes say far more about us than most people appreciate. I just don't see value in ranking on a granularity that overly elevates the unimportant features to fabricate distinctions that aren't actually interesting, and I dislike the obsession that ostensible discussion prompts so typically show towards doing exactly that.

Quote:
As it stands right now, it's fascinating to me that you've said Microscope and Doom are so different that you'd never even consider ranking one above the other.
Doom is a game I'd never even play because it holds little interest to me. So, I could easily place something I especially like such as Microscope above Doom. I'm using "ranking" fairly specifically in the "ordered" sense. Placing Microscope above Doom isn't implying a distinct rank order to things--I favor a more tiered mental model. Now, were Doom in the same narrow tier as Microscope, pushing one over the other requires some fairly arbitrary and specific comparisons between clouds of fairly incomparable, incompatible things.

It's not that different things cannot be compared at all; it's that forcing an ordering eventually loses information rather than highlights it, by pushing too far into the noise. What you'd learn from ranking Doom and Microscope in the hypothetical above would be useless and inaccurate.

Quote:
To you it'd be like ranking bipartisan politics above or below lime Jello. That makes me smile and also scratch my head.
I would far prefer Jello, and I don't even much care for Jello.

Quote:
It's hard for me to see how anyone could regard two games as so completely different.
Well, one is a single-player action-oriented challenge-oriented visual/aural system of accomplishing tasks via violence on artificial enemies and applying the tools at hand to lead up to the end of a clear and pre-defined narrative, while the other is a group-only activity of creating a mutual sense of story by taking turns writing compatible happenings on note cards and inserting them anywhere into an extremely broad time line (including within other cards, so the first card would be an entire era), with no real goals or restrictions beyond what the group feels like doing.

Not easy to construct commonalities, there... It's almost as if the two games were specifically chosen not to have things in common, just so someone could see what that might look like.

Quote:
I wonder if you'd also have trouble saying whether you prefer baseball or football. I get the impression you'd say each is good in its own way and there's no point in ranking them. So I guess I've got you pegged as a non-ranker.
Or you're lost in your thoughts again, just nodding to yourself about how neatly your pigeonholes are arranged, regardless of the bloody mess you made of the pigeons. I mean, placing me in the "each is good in its own way" camp? *shudder*

Quote:
Furthermore, if each of us stuck to discussing only the specific games we play, or a narrow range of games, we'd be excluding each other from the conversation all the time.
Hardly. Being human means being able to convey and absorb experience without going through it ourselves. I can talk about lots of games I haven't played, or even seen played for that matter--like (the new) Doom. I receive the experience others gain, and become more than I could be from only my own small time in the world.

Quote:
In gaming, is my favorite whatever I spend the most time on? Or is it what I desire most?
Well, the definition and meaning of "favorite" don't have anything even remotely to do with how much time one dedicates to things, so the former would be pretty egregious misuse of the word.

Careful, there's a guy around here who really doesn't like people misusing words.
2 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:
In a video game, the player can control the pacing themselves, as one can control the pacing in a book.
As a side note, I don't think I've ever stopped and thought about that. But it explains why my wife speeds through books and often looks ahead at the ending before she begins. She's taking it at her own pace. Me, I have to start with the front cover and slowly read everything on every page, sometimes rereading a paragraph or two that didn't sink in as well as I thought it should have. Other times something I just read makes me pause and go off into a daydream, contemplating the passage further. I know how to skim, and I'd say I'm pretty good at it; I just don't do it when I'm reading a story. I'm more likely to almost read aloud to myself and savor all the words.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
xethair wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
If they're both games, they have enough in common to fall under the same heading, to be put in the same class of things.
Except that you don't know Microscope and are simply arguing your semantic dance from the assumption that I chose examples that fail to demonstrate the point.
Sounds like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I used to go around arguing that many of the things people call games really aren't games at all. I've lost that argument often enough that now (in this thread, for example), I just say, "Whatever seems like a game to you counts as a game."

But what I mean--and don't explicitly say--is, "... provided that in this discussion we can compare and contrast everything we call games."

Quote:
While I'd like to have picked two examples as easily recognizable as Doom, Microscope came promptly to mind as something of an ideal starting point for illustrating the vast gulf of things that fall under "gaming". Indeed, I would not challenge the assertion that Microscope is not actually a "game" even though it falls under the heading. I could go find an even stronger example, since I have storygames that really don't even have anything one might try to call rules, and may push even the definition of "structured activity". That's not really worth the time it would take. Either you'll see the point, or you're nit-picking well beyond the point of using language as a functional tool.
I don't see the point, and I don't think I'm nitpicking either. Yeah, there's a wide range of stuff that people call games. So what? Here we're talking about all those things. And the only question is whether video games are your favorite kind. Yeah, you're being asked to lump Microscope and Doom together, if you consider them both games; and then you're being asked to compare Doom and other video games to Microscope and other kinds of gaming. If you're unable or unwilling to do that, fine. I'm good with that.

Quote:
Quote:
Actually, it was just a pedantic quibble over the word totally.
What it was, was being pointlessly tedious.
Sorry if I bored you or tried your patience.

Quote:
Quote:
It's used in ways that seem strange to me. Literally is another such word: if someone says, "He literally turned the house upside-down trying to find his lost keys," literally doesn't mean actually; it means the opposite--figuratively. Which is weird.

We may not like what happened to "literally", but it's not weird.
It's weird to me. It's weird to some other people I know. It's weird enough that Webster's includes a usage comment about it. If it's not weird to you, fine. But your opinion doesn't rule. Ours stand side by side.

Quote:
Quote:
To me it's also weird to say "totally" when you don't mean completely but only mean largely.
Now you're just redefining my words. I used "totally" for far more than your dismissive "largely", but you just assume games are similar enough to make that point, even if you have to ignore how ridiculously disparate things that fall under "gaming" actually can be.
I know damned well how "ridiculously disparate" those things can be. And I don't care. (Not anymore; I used to.) You obviously do care. Fine. Let's leave it at that and drop it.

Quote:
Quote:
My whole career is tied up in the written word, and I get picky about things normal people don't care about.
Ah, so it's perfectly reasonable and ok as long as you're the one being picky about something.
Did you miss the phrase "normal people"? I was trying to apologize and give you this one. Apparently you don't want to accept it without delivering another jab.

Quote:
Quote:
There we go--the crux of the matter, the real point at which we disagree. I personally see tremendous value in reflecting on, considering, and reconsidering how much various things mean to me.
Actually, so do I, and I agree that the subtleties of our likes and dislikes say far more about us than most people appreciate. I just don't see value in ranking on a granularity that overly elevates the unimportant features to fabricate distinctions that aren't actually interesting, and I dislike the obsession that ostensible discussion prompts so typically show towards doing exactly that.
OK, then we understand each other and can agree to disagree. I like those "ostensible discussion prompts" (if I'm guessing right as to what you mean by that). And what you're calling "unimportant features" are sometimes fascinating features to me--points well worth talking about. As to the "granularity" and "ranking," to me it's nothing but a device. I love all those top-ten lists on YouTube and elsewhere, where someone counts down the best games of all time--that sort of thing. Are they ever truly the best games? Of course not. Is the presenter really just talking up a few things s/he feels like praising? Sure. It's all in fun, and it says something about the presenter. And as I watch and reflect, it says something about me too.

Quote:
Doom is a game I'd never even play because it holds little interest to me. So, I could easily place something I especially like such as Microscope above Doom. I'm using "ranking" fairly specifically in the "ordered" sense. Placing Microscope above Doom isn't implying a distinct rank order to things--I favor a more tiered mental model. Now, were Doom in the same narrow tier as Microscope, pushing one over the other requires some fairly arbitrary and specific comparisons between clouds of fairly incomparable, incompatible things.

It's not that different things cannot be compared at all; it's that forcing an ordering eventually loses information rather than highlights it, by pushing too far into the noise. What you'd learn from ranking Doom and Microscope in the hypothetical above would be useless and inaccurate.
But it could also be a lot of fun. And the exercise of comparing and contrasting the two might reveal a lot about the individual(s) doing it.

Useless? It depends on what your purpose is. Above, I believe I just described one way in which it might be useful.

Inaccurate? Maybe. Maybe that's unavoidable. But accuracy may not have anything to do with the purpose of the exercise.

Quote:
Quote:
To you it'd be like ranking bipartisan politics above or below lime Jello. That makes me smile and also scratch my head.
I would far prefer Jello, and I don't even much care for Jello.


Quote:
Quote:
It's hard for me to see how anyone could regard two games as so completely different.
Well, one is a single-player action-oriented challenge-oriented visual/aural system of accomplishing tasks via violence on artificial enemies and applying the tools at hand to lead up to the end of a clear and pre-defined narrative, while the other is a group-only activity of creating a mutual sense of story by taking turns writing compatible happenings on note cards and inserting them anywhere into an extremely broad time line (including within other cards, so the first card would be an entire era), with no real goals or restrictions beyond what the group feels like doing.

Not easy to construct commonalities, there... It's almost as if the two games were specifically chosen not to have things in common, just so someone could see what that might look like.
OK, I was wrong. It's not "hard for me to see how anyone could regard two games as so completely different." What's hard is for me to understand why someone would harp on that when the QotD question intentionally lumps "video games" all together and seeks to compare that to all other kinds of gaming.

I asked people to step back and make broad generalizations. You seem to have done just about the opposite.

If you just didn't like this kind of question, why didn't you ignore it? Many others took it at face value, had fun with it, and gave interesting responses. Your response has been interesting too, but the nature of it takes me aback.

Quote:
Quote:
I wonder if you'd also have trouble saying whether you prefer baseball or football. I get the impression you'd say each is good in its own way and there's no point in ranking them. So I guess I've got you pegged as a non-ranker.
Or you're lost in your thoughts again, just nodding to yourself about how neatly your pigeonholes are arranged, regardless of the bloody mess you made of the pigeons. I mean, placing me in the "each is good in its own way" camp? *shudder*
That'll teach me to try pegging anybody as anything. I knew I was off the mark as soon as I wrote, "I guess I've got you pegged as." No matter what word followed, it was sure to lead to further disagreement.

Quote:
Quote:
Furthermore, if each of us stuck to discussing only the specific games we play, or a narrow range of games, we'd be excluding each other from the conversation all the time.
Hardly. Being human means being able to convey and absorb experience without going through it ourselves. I can talk about lots of games I haven't played, or even seen played for that matter--like (the new) Doom. I receive the experience others gain, and become more than I could be from only my own small time in the world.
Fair enough. Then I'll revise my statement: If each of us stuck to discussing only the specific games we play, or a narrow range of games, I'd be excluded from the conversation all the time.

One of my biggest complaints about discussion forums--not just this one, but many of them--is that topics are too narrow and specific. Somebody is into fly fishing and thinks I'd surely like to hear all about his latest lure and what type and size of fish it caught--but actually I don't know or care about fly fishing (or any kind of fishing) much at all.

Or a fellow Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword player writes up three pages on how important cottages are, telling exactly how many to build where and when in order to maximize their value throughout the game. My eyes glaze over after the first paragraph, and it's hard for me to imagine anyone reading the whole article, much less applying what it says in an actual game.

And that's a game I play pretty often! Imagine how I'd feel if the article were about a game I didn't play.

Since I feel that way about overly specific and detailed posts and articles, I try to apply the Golden Rule when I post things myself. I look for common ground and keep things comfortably general whenever I can.

But now I find that my "glittering generalities" are not at all comfortable for some people, but quite the opposite. I'll have to ponder on that. Not sure where that'll lead me.

Quote:
Quote:
In gaming, is my favorite whatever I spend the most time on? Or is it what I desire most?
Well, the definition and meaning of "favorite" don't have anything even remotely to do with how much time one dedicates to things, so the former would be pretty egregious misuse of the word.

Careful, there's a guy around here who really doesn't like people misusing words.
Touché.

Of course I disagree. I find that quite often the amount of time one voluntarily spends on something has a great deal to do with calling that something his or her favorite. You might not think it should, but is has been a factor for me. And I know for certain that it has been a factor for others as well.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
flag msg tools
Honey + Yeast + Time = Nectar of the Gods
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:
xethair wrote:
Zimeon wrote:
What I find videogames do that nothing else can, is putting the reader/player in control – FORCING the reader/player to control. This breaks the fourth wall a bit, and makes the protagonist "you" in a bigger sense.
This depends a lot on the person. Video games don't make the protagonist me for exactly that reason. Forcing me to manipulate something the way I'm directed to pushes me out of the game. It is just that much more the authorial hand because I am being forced to take actions that are not my actions.
Interesting. I'm much more involved when I'm walking through a house in a video game, than when I watch another person do the same in a movie.
I'm also much more involved in video games than in movies. Lately I've noticed that I tend to zone out at certain points in movies or TV shows (like big battles scenes tend to have that effect on me) or if I'm not really in the mood/mindset to watch them, and my husband decides he wants to my attention tends to wander. I've always enjoyed video games much more than other media because I am directly participating in it and using my brain rather than just staring at a screen.

Patrick Carroll wrote:
When I tried RPGs a few times, I found less of what I was after, but still some. I played Baldur's Gate and Planescape and Icewind Dale because for me it was just a series of battles, and in those battles I could enjoy the kind of gaming I'd always enjoyed. But if I got together with people at a table to play an RPG, I'd get restless and annoyed. The battles wouldn't be entirely mine to command; I'd have to cooperate with other players; there'd be a lot of story between battles; and so on. I have no interest in improv acting, and I don't care much about the narrative. I just want to command my forces and conquer the map.
See, I'm the opposite. I get restless if a game session consists of "too much" combat. I don't dislike the combat, but if I'm playing an RPG especially, I'm there for the roleplay and narrative, otherwise I might as well be playing a board game.
4 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
flaeryn wrote:
I don't dislike the combat, but if I'm playing an RPG especially, I'm there for the roleplay and narrative, otherwise I might as well be playing a board game.
To me, "board," "video," and "tabletop (RPG)" are just different mediums for the same thing. A game is a game, and there's only one kind I play (except when I'm dabbling at something else as a change of pace). Doesn't matter to me if I'm playing it at a table or on a computer or console. But I'm going to be doing it solo, just like reading a book, so the presence of other people is likely to be a distraction to me.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Patrick Carroll wrote:
flaeryn wrote:
I don't dislike the combat, but if I'm playing an RPG especially, I'm there for the roleplay and narrative, otherwise I might as well be playing a board game.
To me, "board," "video," and "tabletop (RPG)" are just different mediums for the same thing. A game is a game, and there's only one kind I play (except when I'm dabbling at something else as a change of pace). Doesn't matter to me if I'm playing it at a table or on a computer or console. But I'm going to be doing it solo, just like reading a book, so the presence of other people is likely to be a distraction to me.
I think the fact that you couch your preferences in the form of the qualia you use to identify games is a problematic thing that serves to generate some pretty classic internet style of debate that goes around and around and around.

Things would progress a lot more smoothly if you could separate your preferences and your means of defining a term.
4 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert
United States
West Union
West Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:
This is intriguing, because this is exactly how I feel with movies (not so much with books). I don't connect, because in the end, I'm not the one doing the actions.
Seems more odd that you feel one way about books but another about movies, since both entirely lack the participatory element you're saying is so important. Maybe the movie is more realized and crosses an uncanny valley type threshold where control/participation is needed... or maybe movies are just poorer than books ;)

Quote:
It's someone else who decides to walk down that corridor, and I'm like "why didn't you go THERE instead?". In the end, I'm watching someone else. I'm not there.
Sure, there's some disruption from someone doing something I wouldn't do, but I'm not them, and I'm not supposed to be them, so that isn't really important. Now, when people do things that anyone wouldn't do, well, that's a more serious obstruction, but it's an obstruction from the author, not the medium.

It seems like, if divergent actions from characters take you out of movies, it would be easy to see how divergent actions take me out of games. Just because I get to go "there" doesn't mean I get to do what I would do there, so it's much more difficult to ignore in games.

I also find games are fairly poor at most aspects of storytelling (particularly voice work, but certainly writing), and that doesn't exactly help, but I think participation is a bigger deal. Participating in the game distances me rather than involves me both because of the added layer of me doing things that are not the things I want to do (both within the game and on the out-of-game level of "I want to play the game, not pretend to do story things I have no agency in"), and because of the simple fact that acting in game from out of game doesn't make me feel in game--it reminds me I am out of the game.

There's just a barrier there created by the medium.

Quote:
No, but _I_ was walking about me, just as you were talking about you and your experiences, right :)
Not exactly. I'm responding to your generalization with experience that doesn't fit it. I have your experience already, and have specifically not invalidated it beyond saying it's not just a fixed consequence of playing a game.

Quote:
Do you feel then, that it's annoying that you're "forced" to read that particular line of text, or would call that specific scene in the movie as "participating in tedious authorial wanking"?
Oh, that definitely happens. I'm certainly not implying that books/movies don't make mistakes or are inherently and universally effective. My point was that tedious authorial wanking is sum of the information I get from that moment as opposed to what you say about it. There are plenty of other sources of such elsewhere.

Also, I think it's important that seeing a scene or reading a line are base-line actions. I cannot read without reading, so reading a line is just how reading works, not a marked activity. In gaming, though, we are both watching and playing, and story actions are, to me, not playing, so they are both marked and take time. Time that gets between me and playing. Story actions are unwelcome intrusions.

Quote:
Because I frankly don't see the difference. In one medium, I'm being given a piece of information (say, an actor gives a wink), and I understand exactly how much that wink means in this particular context. In the other medium, I press a button and it suddenly dawns on me exactly what the outcome means. It's quite similar.
The difference is that one doesn't work because it was bad execution or poor authoring, but for the other it's the medium itself making it not work. The Act Of Which You Speak would convey its information a lot better to me without stumbling through a player doing tedious things because the author thought that was feelly and deep.

Maybe that helps make the distinction better for you: being a game adds additional information by forcing me to participate inside the author's work but their way. That information comes first because it's my primary experience, and can very much de-value or replace the other information from the work.

I could similarly ask why you feel you need to participate in order to feel something (especially something obvious like The Act)? Seems like doing it just gets you through barriers in feeling others' experiences and reminds you to feel, rather than really adding information anywhere. Even above, where you say you see no difference, you clearly describe the two things differently. You just see a wink and receive its information exactly, but then you need to press a button to realize the information you're already being given about what's happening? Pressing a button doesn't actually feel more like the act than not pressing a button.

The game medium may work better for you, but that sounds like you just get more feelings from your involvement, rather than that games themselves are actually better for conveying them.

Quote:
Quote:
What I am saying is that it is an error to generalize your perspective to other people or games in general.
The same, I'd wager. I'm not the only one who thinks the game is absolutely marvelous.
My generalization is that games are not inherently better and more involving for telling stories, though. People liking Brother are included already.

Quote:
Interesting, because your opinion is very similar to my initial opinion of Dragon Age: Downright bad, and doesn't even do what it's supposed to do very well. And horribly fails at important points.
Well, it seems like DAO does a decentish job at single-player party ARPG combat, which is one of the things it's supposed to do. Were I to play it, that's the only thing I'd be there for, but I likely won't play it because the balance there is not enough in my favor, and I have seen it played already. It's not really a game that offers enough in actually playing versus seeing it played, which, really, comes back to a big problem with games focusing on story, and why I have a particular problem with asserting story is so key to games, or their primary value. Story competes with game-play: always for time, but also often for production.

Quote:
I think it's a question of simply misunderstanding _what_ point the game wants to make, or simply not caring about that specific point.
Even if I were there for the things Brother does, it's going to do poorly for me because it's a game and my gaming time makes for a very bad way to accomplish those things. That it has little to offer outside what distinctly doesn't work for a game to do just further lowers its value from there, but that's specific to brothers, not the medium.
2 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
paralipsis wrote:
I think the fact that you couch your preferences in the form of the qualia you use to identify games is a problematic thing that serves to generate some pretty classic internet style of debate that goes around and around and around.
Um, thanks, I guess, for introducing me to a new word. "Qualia" wasn't in my dictionary, so I had to read about it online. That started me down a rabbit hole that I soon backed out of.

Now that I've seen the definition, I should be able to understand what you're saying. Unfortunately, it's not quickly becoming clear.

Quote:
Things would progress a lot more smoothly if you could separate your preferences and your means of defining a term.
Er, it seems to me I rarely define terms at all. The vast majority of the time, I just go with dictionary definitions, which reflect common usage.

In the questions in the subject line of this thread, "all the kinds of gaming there are" and "video gaming" both cover a lot of ground, and I made no effort to define either term. I just expected everyone to know what they mean (or check the dictionary if they don't know).

As to my preferences, to me they're nothing but my evaluations of the "qualia" I experience. What else would they be? If I taste this apple and that orange, and the apple tastes better to me, I'll say I prefer the apple. Simple as that.

Can you give me an example of an instance where I conflated my preferences with my means of defining a term? Because I can't even imagine how that would work.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
xethair wrote:
I have a particular problem with asserting story is so key to games, or their primary value. Story competes with game-play: always for time, but also often for production.
I know that's just a side point to a discussion I'm not following closely, but I think it's worth quoting and repeating. It's something I've often noticed myself but found it hard to articulate. Also something that has fallen on deaf ears or met with resistance.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Patrick Carroll wrote:
Er, it seems to me I rarely define terms at all. The vast majority of the time, I just go with dictionary definitions, which reflect common usage.
But your arguments are predicated on definitions of things that are experiential in nature. There can be no one single definition of game because we can only define what a game is based on what we each feel is a game to us. How it feels to you, whether it then comports with what you read in a dictionary or not, is not a sound basis for disagreeing with someone for whom their experiences have led them down a different method of definition.

This might feel frustratingly vague, but that's just how language works. Some things are concrete and can be discussed in very concrete ways. Others are categories that can have varying degrees of overlap from person to person. If you cannot accept that other people create their own definitions that are different to yours, then you're destined for the kinds of circular arguments that are happening here.
4 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is not at all meant as a dig at Patrick.

But, I do feel that my own conversations with him are more prone to 'go in circles' than they are, say, on average.

Maybe an observation worth putting out there. Not meant to be rude or discouraging.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
paralipsis wrote:
But your arguments are predicated on definitions of things that are experiential in nature. There can be no one single definition of game because we can only define what a game is based on what we each feel is a game to us.
Sorry, but that sounds ridiculous to me. If it were true, there would be no way for people to talk about games in any meaningful way.

I don't need to know what your experience with games is to ask if you like games, or to ask what kinds of games you like best. "Game" is a common word, and no matter what Wittgenstein may have said about it, we all have a ballpark notion of what it means. We know the word well enough to use it in everyday conversation.

Besides, if I only ask about your favorite games, the precise definition doesn't matter. If there's something you consider a game, and you like it, you can name it and you will have answered my question. Or if you want to generalize more, you can name a favorite genre or some broad class of games like sports. Whatever.

Quote:
How it feels to you, whether it then comports with what you read in a dictionary or not, is not a sound basis for disagreeing with someone for whom their experiences have led them down a different method of definition.
I'm afraid I still don't get all this emphasis on definition.

I think feeling-based disagreement is perfectly natural and happens all the time. If my favorite color is blue, and yours is red, we disagree--just because of how we feel about those colors. There's no arguing about it; it's just a matter of taste. But in a sense, we disagree.

But if you start saying blue is not a color, because you don't feel like defining it as such, I'm going to say the conversation is over.

If we're to have a conversation, we need to first agree that we're going to do so in a particular language--say English. And if we're unclear about what some English words mean, we'll have to sort that out in order to understand each other.

But this business of redefining words on the fly is brand-new to me. Sure, people have various experiences and can describe them any way they like. But they're not communicating with anybody if they're coining words and not saying what they mean by them. Or using common words but insisting they have special meanings that other people don't know.

Quote:
This might feel frustratingly vague, but that's just how language works. Some things are concrete and can be discussed in very concrete ways. Others are categories that can have varying degrees of overlap from person to person. If you cannot accept that other people create their own definitions that are different to yours, then you're destined for the kinds of circular arguments that are happening here.
I don't see any circular arguments here. Seems to me that someone was annoyed by my suggested QotD question, and I took a shot at defending it.

If concrete things can be discussed in concrete ways, why can't abstract things be discussed in abstract ways? I wasn't expecting anything particularly concrete or abstract. But no matter how concrete or abstract something is, there will probably be differences in how any two people perceive it. Those gaps and overlaps are part of what makes conversation interesting.

But creating one's own definitions? I don't get that. Don't see why there'd be any need for it.

From my point of view, we all know darned well what games are. If there's any doubt, the dictionary gives sufficient clues. Only if someone wants to take it to a philosophic extreme do they need to consider definitions besides those used in everyday conversation. Hence, we ought to be able to jump past definitions and start talking about what we think and how we feel about various games. Or about games in general.

If a bunch of people get together to talk about video games, but no two of those people can agree on what video games are, the group is in trouble. Until they all know what it is they're trying to talk about, they're doomed to fail in their purpose.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JohnRayJr wrote:
This is not at all meant as a dig at Patrick.

But, I do feel that my own conversations with him are more prone to 'go in circles' than they are, say, on average.

Maybe an observation worth putting out there. Not meant to be rude or discouraging.
Point taken. Thanks for the feedback. I'm sure something is going on. Just trying to figure out what it is exactly.


Addendum: My working hypothesis is that it has a lot to do with the Communication section on this web page, and maybe with the Action section too. Many people prefer to stick to concrete subjects most of the time. And many people focus more on what works than on what's "right" (i.e., conventional or standard). But I fall into the abstract-cooperative quadrant.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
flag msg tools
Now who are these five?
badge
Come, come, all children who love fairy tales.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
(Sorry for the Wall of Text, but I find this quite interesting!)

xethair wrote:
Seems more odd that you feel one way about books but another about movies, since both entirely lack the participatory element you're saying is so important. Maybe the movie is more realized and crosses an uncanny valley type threshold where control/participation is needed... or maybe movies are just poorer than books

Probably in the "immersion" aspect. Books force me to use my imagination more (shortly; I stage it) which means that I do get slightly more involved. Also, no one is forcing the pace on me, I can read quickly or slowly at will. Movies paint exactly everything – exactly how people look, exactly how their voices are, the backgrounds, etc etc, which (unless it's very well done, which it can be) risks disconnecting me into "it's just other people acting".

xethair wrote:
Sure, there's some disruption from someone doing something I wouldn't do, but I'm not them, and I'm not supposed to be them, so that isn't really important.
Indeed – but when I'm playing a game, I fell I'm almost them, or at least part of me is them. It's not a full immersion, but at least for me, it's a higher sense of participation than in a movie, and thus, the situations seem to concern me more.

xethair wrote:
It seems like, if divergent actions from characters take you out of movies, it would be easy to see how divergent actions take me out of games. Just because I get to go "there" doesn't mean I get to do what I would do there, so it's much more difficult to ignore in games.
Indeed it is. I see your point. It slightly reminds me of my disconnect with VR – it's amazing, up to the point where I have to push a button to move. In a game, I don't care, because it's a game on a screen. But when all my vision is filled with information that I'm in another time and place, I don't want to push a button to walk.

xethair wrote:
I also find games are fairly poor at most aspects of storytelling (particularly voice work, but certainly writing)

Can't argue with that But, to clarify, I notice that my mind, when searching my own memory for sensations of past games, I flip between a lot of games, and not all of these "narrative experiences" I feel are good in games, are with characters and dialogue. The "narration" I mostly like in games is more along the lines of atmosphere, details in the background, and … well, in fact, specifically when no word is said.

As another example, I absolutely adore the "narrative" in Limbo, but there is no real "story" in that one – not a word is uttered. You're just walking through various strange environments, and I absolutely loved that. At one point in the game (this is not a very important spoiler, but for the sake of it)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
You pull a lever and the entire screen starts slowly rotating. By some reason or another, I LOVED that particular stunt.


My mind had been working on "where the hell am I?" trying to tie the small threads together (and I guess I really enjoy that – that's a large part of what I liked in Brothers too) and suddenly I had to rework the entire framework – I wouldn't call it a breaking of the fourth wall, but it was a very interesting stunt for me.

xethair wrote:
Participating in the game distances me rather than involves me both because of the added layer of me doing things that are not the things I want to do (both within the game and on the out-of-game level of "I want to play the game, not pretend to do story things I have no agency in"), and because of the simple fact that acting in game from out of game doesn't make me feel in game--it reminds me I am out of the game.

[…]

In gaming, though, we are both watching and playing, and story actions are, to me, not playing, so they are both marked and take time. Time that gets between me and playing. Story actions are unwelcome intrusions.

[…]

Maybe that helps make the distinction better for you: being a game adds additional information by forcing me to participate inside the author's work but their way. That information comes first because it's my primary experience, and can very much de-value or replace the other information from the work.

Hm, yeah, I think I understand what you mean. It sounds like you disconnect because the game feels like someone who is telling you a story, but only waiting until you press a button and then suddenly says "Ah, you pressed the button? Okay, then THIS happens!" and you feel that "well, you'd already decided in advance, so why did I have to do it – why couldn't you just go on telling me?" Am I somewhere close?

I guess I don't mind in that situation; having to press the button, or having to walk down the scary corridor even though it's the only option I have. But I give you that this probably shouldn't be called "narrative", because that's not what it is. I can't find a good word for it, but something like "participation in the moment" or something?

A hypothetical situation: If, in a specific game, we have a story, and there is this tragic situation of something blablabla and the protagonist is in a situation where he must kill his sister, because she's suffering and you'd better put her out of her misery. If the game has be do the action itself, I find that more painful and, well, "powerful", than if just the protagonist does it in a cutscene. But I take it that you on the contrary would find it getting in the way and being annoying. Right?

If right, then we're onto something special in what games do (and that some people like and others don't). Though I can't find a word for it.

xethair wrote:
The Act Of Which You Speak would convey its information a lot better to me without stumbling through a player doing tedious things because the author thought that was feelly and deep.

From your viewpoint, I can truly see that, but to repeat, for me, the information and weight of the moment would never come close to get through as pointedly, had it just been a custcene.

I think there are two separate scenes, that are slightly different:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

1) Burying your big brother: I really really hated going back and forth carrying dirt. Had it been a cutscene, I could just have sat there and endured, but here, I actually had to do it myself. For me, this conveyed the sensation of "this hopeless task has to be done, whether you like it or not", and a cutscene wouldn't have done that in the same way.
2) Pushing the big brother's button for the little brother to swim: I can't find any similar way in another medium to with such a silent moment, convey that the little brother tries to overcome his big brother's death, and learn from him, and in such a way, the big brother lives on, in a way, in the younger one. It's not like I was moved to tears – but I thought it was an excellent way to convey a simple thing, without saying anything, and that only a game could do that. It was like a well-done pun – taking something that you'd done before, make the player forget all about it, and then remind you of it in a slightly different context, and let the audience put the pieces together.


I guess I like this sort of indirect information, and that I'm "forced" to do them, doesn't really bother me that much.

I'm reminded of a friend of mine, who hates the card game "Hanabi". If you don't know, shortly, it's a cooperative card game where you see everyone else's cards, but not your own, and you're not allowed to speak. Giving information to other players as to what they have in hand is an action and quite limited. I love this game because of its silent information, and how you need to cram as much as you can into just saying "this and that card is a 2", or trying to reason what extra information is implied in the information you get. But sometimes your actions are limited, and you're forced to do a specific action because the situation demands it, and one friend of mine HATES that. He just feels it's work, and no fun.

Maybe it's slightly similar?

xethair wrote:
I could similarly ask why you feel you need to participate in order to feel something (especially something obvious like The Act)? Seems like doing it just gets you through barriers in feeling others' experiences and reminds you to feel, rather than really adding information anywhere. Even above, where you say you see no difference, you clearly describe the two things differently. You just see a wink and receive its information exactly, but then you need to press a button to realize the information you're already being given about what's happening? Pressing a button doesn't actually feel more like the act than not pressing a button.

Yeah, I guess I worded it badly there. As you say, having to participate gets me through barriers probably more than not having to participate. However, this can of course be done quite badly, and there are several games where I just find it intrusive.

It's hard to answer your first question there, because all I can say is that it has to be done with some sort of elegance. If a game just has a cutscene and then says "press A to kill the guy" then I feel no connection at all. I guess it has to be some kind of game in the background, and I think this "illusion of the moment" has to come after I have been in the game for a while.

Visual novels, for example, never does it for me. I disconnect after 20 minutes, feeling I'm just reading a book with pictures, and the game is giving me an illusion of choice, when most of it is just a branching story. And the ones I've played, I'm so out of synch with the protagonist that no connection can be had.
Strangely enough, Walking Simulators entice me. I like walking in the world and just seeing things. That it's not even a game doesn't bother me at all.

xethair wrote:
The game medium may work better for you, but that sounds like you just get more feelings from your involvement, rather than that games themselves are actually better for conveying them.
That's one way to put it. But if enough people have the same sensation as I have, that means that games are pretty good at conveying these things. After all, whether a medium works or not depends on who's experiencing it.

xethair wrote:
a big problem with games focusing on story, and why I have a particular problem with asserting story is so key to games, or their primary value. Story competes with game-play: always for time, but also often for production.
I hear you, but this is really not true for me. I had an amazing time with Octopath Traveller, but the story was so un-involving and un-inspiring that I had to drop it. So that game failed (for me) BECAUSE of an uninspiring story.

(I remember when I played FFIV that I really really liked the story being told by small pixellized characters that jumped around. I wouldn't have found the story in FFIV the least interesting or special, had it been a movie. Or a book. But as a game, and a very unrealistic game with pixellized graphics, I found it very exciting.)
4 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Patrick Carroll wrote:
If we're to have a conversation, we need to first agree that we're going to do so in a particular language--say English. And if we're unclear about what some English words mean, we'll have to sort that out in order to understand each other.
Right, but that doesn't mean that we have to settle on having the same definition of a thing. That's not how language works.

Is fruit a thing? Sure. Does it grow on plants? Sure. But where are the boundaries of the concept of "fruit". When is something a fruit or a vegetable? This is where we get into the realm of qualia and the "know it when I see it" kinds of meanings that are not going to be subject to a single universal definition. If you predicate arguments on having such notions, you get stuck going in circles.

You also mention colour. That happens to be a huge field of study in comparative linguistics that I find fascinating. Especially as you specifically mention blue. Both for personal reasons (the car my mother owned in the 90s she thought of as blue, but to me it was green), and also because it is a concept that has a surprisingly recent history. Two thousand or so years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find an equivalent of "blue" in many of the world's languages as they existed then. Even to this day, it does not occur in quite a lot of languages, though mostly this is the case for the smaller language cultures. Yet at the same time, some modern languages go further and have two separate words for two kinds of blue (Russian being one that immediately comes to mind). It's actually a really interesting topic to deep dive into. Language and colour is complex. Perhaps not surprisingly, as colour is a continuum which we arbitrarily divide into groups, and there is no agreed upon set of standards we use to do so. Hence, while "blue" is most certainly a colour in the English language, and one where 90+% of the time everyone will be able to agree on whether something is blue or not. There's that other 10% of the time where the edge cases occur and different people will disagree whether something is blue or not.

So while I agree that there is such a thing as blue (we do share that is common), if you ask me is a certain thing blue or not, I will have to say it really depends on the eye of the beholder. So there is no absolute truth that underlies the concept of blue. If we want to have a discussion that explores the concept of blueness, we have to first agree that it is a subjective experience we are talking about and take it from there.

Dictionaries aren't meant to be a mediator in all of this. Dictionaries are intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive. They can be super helpful when learning a language though. I cannot tell you how many times when I have received completely contradictory information about how some word or concept is supposed to be in Norwegian. When I have no internalised view of how these things are supposed to be, it can be overwhelming to try and deal with all those contradictions. Having a dictionary to fall back upon while I am still a novice is of immense help. But it's like a set of training wheels. Eventually I'll have my own Norwegian language based qualia in my head that will be a synthesis of my experience with all that contradictory information and the dictionary definitions of those words won't serve any particular use to me.
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
paralipsis wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
If we're to have a conversation, we need to first agree that we're going to do so in a particular language--say English. And if we're unclear about what some English words mean, we'll have to sort that out in order to understand each other.
Right, but that doesn't mean that we have to settle on having the same definition of a thing. That's not how language works.
It's partly how language works. You're just focusing on another aspect of language. Language works as a vehicle for communication precisely because, to some extent, we agree as to what words and phrases mean. If we all focused mainly on the differences in perception and internal understanding, communication would break down. Order would give way to chaos. Yet, the individual differences are interesting too.

Quote:
Is fruit a thing? Sure. Does it grow on plants? Sure. But where are the boundaries of the concept of "fruit". When is something a fruit or a vegetable? This is where we get into the realm of qualia and the "know it when I see it" kinds of meanings that are not going to be subject to a single universal definition. If you predicate arguments on having such notions, you get stuck going in circles.
I could take the questioning even further from commonality and ask whether fruit really is a thing. It appears to be, but where exactly does the fruit end and its stalk begin? And what about strange fruits that no one but a botanist would even begin to recognize as fruits? For that matter, is the so-called vegetable kingdom really a thing, or is it just a distinction someone made long ago that happened to get passed down to us? What really separates the vegetable kingdom from the mineral kingdom or animal kingdom? And if Plato was right, maybe all this seemingly real phenomena is just illusion anyway, like shadows on a cave wall. Life could be a dream.

But in everyday conversation, I don't go there. I don't even like dealing with the pesky tomato thing: it's a fruit to a botanist but a vegetable to a chef. I'll just call it a vegetable, since that reflects its practical use in my life, and roll my eyes at botanists who try to correct me. The vast majority of people I converse with from day to day will agree well enough with me. And I care more about being in harmony with them than about being exactly right.

Quote:
You also mention colour. That happens to be a huge field of study in comparative linguistics that I find fascinating. Especially as you specifically mention blue. ... Hence, while "blue" is most certainly a colour in the English language, and one where 90+% of the time everyone will be able to agree on whether something is blue or not. There's that other 10% of the time where the edge cases occur and different people will disagree whether something is blue or not.

So while I agree that there is such a thing as blue (we do share that in common), if you ask me is a certain thing blue or not, I will have to say it really depends on the eye of the beholder. So there is no absolute truth that underlies the concept of blue. If we want to have a discussion that explores the concept of blueness, we have to first agree that it is a subjective experience we are talking about and take it from there.
That's true--if we were going to have a discussion of that particular subject. But we're not, are we?

Now replace "blue" with "game." It's the key word around here, and its nature is just like "blue" or "fruit." That is, it's possible (and can even be interesting) for a linguist to delve deep into it and discover its long history and all the nuances that the OED doesn't even begin to capture. After all, gaming has always been part of human life, even in prehistory, and it's different in various times and cultures and communities. And each individual perceives and experiences it in a unique way.

But in this QotD thread, we're not going into that. Instead we're just taking "game" in the most common broad sense, changing it to "gaming" (game-playing activity), and considering where video gaming fits within that big, broad picture. Everybody here plays some video games and knows there are other kinds of games around. So the simple question is, How do you feel about video gaming in comparison to how you feel about board gaming, RPGing, sports, and other kinds of gaming you may have done? Does video gaming scratch a particular itch that other kinds of gaming don't? Is video gaming a bigger part of your life than other kinds of gaming? Just off the top of your head, how do you estimate video gaming stacks up for you in the greater gaming scheme of things?

In short, I wasn't asking anybody to go deep; I was asking them to go wide. To zoom out and look at a whole lifetime of gaming experiences and a whole head full of gaming knowledge all at once, then mentally isolate video gaming and see where it fits in that picture.

It's not scientific; it's more intuitive or imaginative. It's not a formal inquiry; it's an off-the-wall tidbit of conversation. Though the question does ask something about you as a unique individual, it's part of a public forum where we're all expected to stick to common definitions and understandings most of the time for the sake of easy communication.

Quote:
Dictionaries aren't meant to be a mediator in all of this. Dictionaries are intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive.
Since the early 1970s they have been. I still have my first-edition copy of Webster's Collegiate, which was ground-breaking in that respect.

Still, dictionaries can be, and often are, used prescriptively as well. I use them that way every day in my job. If a piece of writing that crosses my desk uses a word inconsistently with Webster's, I correct it. Not because it's absolutely wrong, but just because we long ago adopted Webster's as our house dictionary and agreed to stick to it for the sake of consistency and ease of understanding. It's one of the peskier aspects of my job; I still have to sigh and force myself to turn to the dictionary when I need to. But I can see the purpose of it and value in it, so I comply. And in the process, I end up making other people comply. A publisher needs to speak with one voice and show a consistent style. And formal writing is more structured than everyday speech.

Quote:
They can be super helpful when learning a language though. I cannot tell you how many times when I have received completely contradictory information about how some word or concept is supposed to be in Norwegian. When I have no internalised view of how these things are supposed to be, it can be overwhelming to try and deal with all those contradictions. Having a dictionary to fall back upon while I am still a novice is of immense help. But it's like a set of training wheels. Eventually I'll have my own Norwegian language based qualia in my head that will be a synthesis of my experience with all that contradictory information and the dictionary definitions of those words won't serve any particular use to me.
Sounds like you're much further along the language-learning path than I've ever been. Makes sense, considering you're immersed in a Norwegian community now.

In contrast, I've always been very curious about languages--to the point where I dabble at several of them just as an occasional hobby. I can get by in Spanish, which I've studied and used the most, but in a dozen other languages I can only manage a handful of phrases. Still, it's fun for me to constantly (but not steadily) expand my vocabulary and learn little things here and there. However, I've never wanted to live in a community that spoke another language--to immerse myself in it and start picking up all the nuances of day-to-day speech. If that happened, it'd be an interesting experience, I guess. But I'm really more interested in learning standard grammar and vocabulary from books and recordings.

It's always a pleasant surprise to me when I find that something I learned on my own, just for fun, works in real life. The language I've studied a little bit but know the least about is Turkish, and one day I was talking with an Iranian woman about languages and happened to utter a Turkish sentence I'd learned. Turned out she'd been to Istanbul, and she immediately understood what I said. She then spoke a Turkish phrase she used to use a lot, and I understood it right away.

That sort of thing is delightful to me. But as I said, I wouldn't really want to totally immerse myself in another language community. That'd be too big a project for me to tackle.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Lundström
Sweden
Täby
flag msg tools
Now who are these five?
badge
Come, come, all children who love fairy tales.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
paralipsis wrote:
So while I agree that there is such a thing as blue (we do share that is common), if you ask me is a certain thing blue or not, I will have to say it really depends on the eye of the beholder. So there is no absolute truth that underlies the concept of blue. If we want to have a discussion that explores the concept of blueness, we have to first agree that it is a subjective experience we are talking about and take it from there.

Isn't this precisely what Patrick has said, repeatedly, that what is a "game" is a subjective experience, and that you're free to interpret it as you wish?

No one in this thread has invalidified an answer with the comment that "You can't reply XXXX because XXX is not a game", right?

As someone said in another thread on BGG, "The term 'euro' might be broad and vague, but it's as useful as the concept of 'I like Italian' food – it contains enough information to start the conversation." I think he nailed it.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zimeon wrote:
paralipsis wrote:
So while I agree that there is such a thing as blue (we do share that is common), if you ask me is a certain thing blue or not, I will have to say it really depends on the eye of the beholder. So there is no absolute truth that underlies the concept of blue. If we want to have a discussion that explores the concept of blueness, we have to first agree that it is a subjective experience we are talking about and take it from there.

Isn't this precisely what Patrick has said, repeatedly, that what is a "game" is a subjective experience, and that you're free to interpret it as you wish?

No one in this thread has invalidified an answer with the comment that "You can't reply XXXX because XXX is not a game", right?

As someone said in another thread on BGG, "The term 'euro' might be broad and vague, but it's as useful as the concept of 'I like Italian' food – it contains enough information to start the conversation." I think he nailed it.
This gets back to what triggered the debate Patrick got caught up in. Namely that "totally" cannot be used to contrast things in the same category. My point is that given those categories are themselves idiosyncratic, that doesn't make any sense. It presumes an authority over those categories where none exist.
2 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
badge
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
paralipsis wrote:
This gets back to what triggered the debate Patrick got caught up in. Namely that "totally" cannot be used to contrast things in the same category. My point is that given those categories are themselves idiosyncratic, that doesn't make any sense. It presumes an authority over those categories where none exist.
The way comparative discussions work is that someone puts forth two or more things--specific things or categories of things--and invites others to compare and contrast.

If specific, concrete things are being compared, there's rarely any procedural problem. But if the things in question are categories or abstractions, it's fair for someone to say, "I don't classify things that way" or "The things in question aren't concrete enough for me."

It would not be fair, IMO, for someone to say, "It's stupid to put A and B in the same category, since they're totally different things." That's kinda hitting below the belt. Obviously they're not two totally different things to the person who put them into the same category.

When anyone poses a comparative question, that person does have "authority over those categories." If it's my question, I'll damned well ask it my own way and set any categories I want to. Your choice is to go along with me or not go along with me. When it's your turn to ask a question, you have authority over the categories.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   |