[-empyre-] Forward from Eddo

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Anyway thanks eddo for joining in

--mod /cm
> From: eddo <eddo@c-level.org>
> Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 14:31:49 -0700
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Late arrival
> Hi all, 
> The discussion is already rolling fast with so many threads and  keen points
> brought on that I'd like respond to:
> Jeff - regarding the open ended game design problem
> I think its in Huizinga somewhere defining play as something that occurs
> between fixed boundaries - ie rules - this definition carries very well to
> ground the difference between games and  open ended "virtual"  worlds (some
> MUDs, MOOs, Activeworlds, VRML spaces ...etc..)
> A handful of brilliantly designed games -  Grand Theft Auto, Morrowind (too
> far towards open in my opinion..), Ultima Online and Everquest have found the
> sweet spot between the rigid and open ended design approaches and I think game
> design will never look back.
> I think the problem I have as a player/artist within Online  open ended worlds
> is the motivation to act in an socially expressive way within that context. I
> will try to explain this as best i can - It's a case of self expression - take
> an exhibitionist, a street performer, a "club kid", or a elegant thief -
> these actors motivated by expression NEED, and RELY on the set of social rules
> and conventions  to mark then in relief.
> All of my earliest game intervention work was done in Ultima Online and
> Everquest - to my mind these represented at the time the gaming world's
> equivalent of global main street - I felt I was performing in  public and my
> audience was deeply engaged in the conventions of the world - allowing any
> "Subversive" actions to operate as subversive by going against the game norms.
> - doing this in MUDs or any open-ended world simply would not have that
> psychological affect for me.  I think in MMOs its really all about agency(vs
> the game creators and vs the other players) and maintaining a sense of
> identity. 
> I wrote some about this in a paper some time ago - its at the end in the
> "Player Artifacts" section:
> http://www.c-level.cc/%7Eeddo/Stern_TOME.html
> Melinda - the difference engine =  game
> Yes! this makes a lot of sense and I also believe that here lies the treasure
> trove of potential for "indi" games -
> I have two thoughts on this:
> This type of game model can work either as a cross culturally disseminated
> artifact - and this is usually done "up the hegemonby ladder"   i.e. get
> person X who belongs to empowered group A  to play the game and identify with
> In game character Y who provides a certain representation of person Z
> belonging to disenfranchised group B
> OR  
> as an empowering device where group A and group B are the same group
> I think in the first example (cross cultural) the key to designing these games
> successfully is can you pull offf Identification - ie create immersion and
> then empathy after immersion is broken - and this is so much harder to do with
> games than with film! The graphics have a lot to do with it but so do many
> elements like voice acting and the use of diegetic/phenomenological elements
> in the game - for instance In the design of Waco Resurrection  the decision to
> use David Koresh's real voice - form his song "book of daniel" - was a KEY
> factor in our game design - as was the decision to texture the and model the
> dividians based on the actual faces of those that died in Waco (this never got
> implemented BTW).
> I think this type of game model of course demands more tact and subtlety of
> message - like any form of cross cultural propaganda
> For the second type of game which primarily functions as a form of
> internal-progaganda UnderAsh, Delta Force, Special Force, Ethnic Cleansing,
> America's Army, Conflict Desert Storm etc etc - the lack of subtlety is
> advantageous within the group that is already politically allied (ie the
> Quire...or the Nation) but this lack of subtly does not work as well when
> crossing over to a more indifferent (or hostile...) audience.
> Where I can see this (hopeful) conversation  going is to the depths of the
> paradoxes of cross cultural representations and propaganda mechanisms - the
> logic of "victim representation" which is the fuel that drives the
> Israeli/Palestinian/Arab propaganda war. It becomes a game of who can play
> Underdog better. 
> And yet -  In the Israeli/Palestinian situation we are talking about a very
> imbalanced power balance - I appreciate and see the need for games like
> UnderAsh to exist (BTW I am an Israeli...) but while playing it as an Israeli
> I find that I was already "In the quire" (Ie believ in a two state solution
> and getting the settlers out at all costs)  the identification (same for
> Special Force) I can say worked for me though killing the Israeli soldiers in
> the territories  - was quite chilling and strange ,  as I did serve in the
> Israeli Army in  the early 90s (though not in the occupied territories) - I
> think I can talk more about that experience later...
> -eddo 

 soundart performance videoinstallation multimedia painting theory


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