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98

Game Theories

How your X-Box may be creating art

(missing author)

4
terms
2
notes

by J.C. Hallman

? (2018). Game Theories. The Baffler, 41, pp. 98-109

(noun) cause, origin / (noun) the cause of a disease or abnormal condition / (noun) a branch of knowledge concerned with causes / (noun) a branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases

101

a medium of passive mass entertainment with disturbing etiological roots

—p.101 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

a medium of passive mass entertainment with disturbing etiological roots

—p.101 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

complicated; abstruse; curled inwards

104

the movie’s involuted narrative structure

Memento

—p.104 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

the movie’s involuted narrative structure

Memento

—p.104 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible; as an adjective, refers to something secretive or mysterious

105

those who would further the understanding of a masterful work do nothing more than scour it for hidden symbols, as though criticism is akin to numerology or Kabbalah

—p.105 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

those who would further the understanding of a masterful work do nothing more than scour it for hidden symbols, as though criticism is akin to numerology or Kabbalah

—p.105 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago
108

[...] A meta-twist might tickle the postmodern funny bone of a bratty twelve-year-old, but should a game aspiring to art aim its loftiest ambitions at a player whose most formative life experience to date is the infected zit festering on his slobbery upper lip? What does it suggest that Playdead appears to think of its players, its customers, as a giant, faceless globule desperate for freedom but trapped inside a sequence of events it can’t control? Is it a joke on every parent willing to shell out $6.99 for their kid’s app? Or is it more like the allegory of Stephen King’s Misery, in which the misery is King’s own, feeling strapped to his bed and forced to bang out endless tripe for soulless housewives?

laughed out loud at that

—p.108 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago

[...] A meta-twist might tickle the postmodern funny bone of a bratty twelve-year-old, but should a game aspiring to art aim its loftiest ambitions at a player whose most formative life experience to date is the infected zit festering on his slobbery upper lip? What does it suggest that Playdead appears to think of its players, its customers, as a giant, faceless globule desperate for freedom but trapped inside a sequence of events it can’t control? Is it a joke on every parent willing to shell out $6.99 for their kid’s app? Or is it more like the allegory of Stephen King’s Misery, in which the misery is King’s own, feeling strapped to his bed and forced to bang out endless tripe for soulless housewives?

laughed out loud at that

—p.108 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago

just begun and so not fully formed or developed; rudimentary

108

Amateur critics have inchoately proposed a latent allegory

—p.108 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago

Amateur critics have inchoately proposed a latent allegory

—p.108 missing author
notable
3 days, 13 hours ago
109

Of course, there’s irony to this, as well, because the whole of Inside is about getting outside, about escaping the facility that is the game you’re playing, and the allegorical game designers seem to be trying to help you do that, even though you’re not actually escaping anything, because it’s all just the game. To escape this—to make it more than a prepubescent meta-snort of postmodernism—you have to broaden your understanding of what escape might mean. If escape means distraction, then Inside fails as art, but if escape means enlarging the boundaries of the self, then it succeeds. In other words, Inside is not about whether the kid, or his sister, is dead or alive at the beginning or the end of the game, it’s about whether you are.

The much remarked-upon narrator of Raymond Carver’s classic short story, “Cathedral,” experiences such a moment as the story climaxes with a blind man helping him draw a church. “My eyes were still closed,” the narrator says. “I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.”

At its most ambitious, Inside aspires to a similar feeling. Escape in art that is not transcendence is cheap, and if you can climb beyond the foolish puzzles and the Easter eggs and the hidden meanings, you can feel, for a moment, that you are not alone on your sofa with your phone, playing a game; rather, you are somewhere else—somewhere grassy, bathed in warmth by a ray of sunlight falling from above.

aw i like this

—p.109 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago

Of course, there’s irony to this, as well, because the whole of Inside is about getting outside, about escaping the facility that is the game you’re playing, and the allegorical game designers seem to be trying to help you do that, even though you’re not actually escaping anything, because it’s all just the game. To escape this—to make it more than a prepubescent meta-snort of postmodernism—you have to broaden your understanding of what escape might mean. If escape means distraction, then Inside fails as art, but if escape means enlarging the boundaries of the self, then it succeeds. In other words, Inside is not about whether the kid, or his sister, is dead or alive at the beginning or the end of the game, it’s about whether you are.

The much remarked-upon narrator of Raymond Carver’s classic short story, “Cathedral,” experiences such a moment as the story climaxes with a blind man helping him draw a church. “My eyes were still closed,” the narrator says. “I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.”

At its most ambitious, Inside aspires to a similar feeling. Escape in art that is not transcendence is cheap, and if you can climb beyond the foolish puzzles and the Easter eggs and the hidden meanings, you can feel, for a moment, that you are not alone on your sofa with your phone, playing a game; rather, you are somewhere else—somewhere grassy, bathed in warmth by a ray of sunlight falling from above.

aw i like this

—p.109 missing author 3 days, 13 hours ago