Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Game Day, redux

Oh, sad, sad news about the Queen of Katwe.

But please don't miss this wonderful essay by Jessica Hoffmann Davis: Unsung heroes: Reconceptualizing a video game as a work of art

Meanwhile, my son had announced to his fans that his 75 year old mother was attempting to play Red Dead Redemption 2 and they responded with wonderful comments of support. They were moved I’d taken such trouble to see what my son had done, moved that an “older” person would make the effort to experience “their art.” I was buoyed by their support; they called my efforts “wholesome.” They made me feel welcome and proud of my novice exploration of the world they knew so well. And what did others know of the magic I was discovering in an area the uninformed consider a “waste of time”?

Perusing the topics of some of the very many academic articles on the subject, I noted that while there is persistent concern for the effects of violence in games, scholars in the field recognize a variety of positive aspects. Of interest to me, they acknowledge what I felt first-hand: the experience of “presence” as in actually being there within the game as well as a sense of personal efficacy as I moved along (Vorderer, Bryant, 2006). So much to learn from historical content to usable skills such as manual dexterity, spatial awareness, and the attention to detail inherent to aesthetic education.

As I came to the end of the RDR2 story, final scenes brought me to tears. The characters found the ways they were meant to find but not always what I would have wished for them. Since my son is a veteran actor, I have seen him in many roles, but never as an animated version of himself—a version that visually walked his walk and audibly exploited the dark and playful regions of his wonderful voice. My journey had allowed this encounter with an extraordinary performance of an extraordinary role. And I had also had the extraordinary experience of playing a role; well, sharing a role with the character Roger Clark so marvelously brought to life. I became facile with a venue I had previously only seen from a distance—a grandson ignoring me, attending somehow to this mysterious arena for play. I entered that world, became absorbed, and didn’t hear when I was called for dinner.

Her son, you see, is Benjamin Byron Davis, who plays "Dutch van der Linde" in the game.

In other gaming news, I'm on the final stretches of the marvelous Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order; but more on that another day.

And I'm already dreaming of what comes next. What do you think about The Pedestrian? I think it looks perfect, but of course I haven't played it yet.

In fact, I'm spending rather too much time not playing games right now.

But when I'm not playing games, I certainly do enjoy reading about them. One of my favorite sites is Red Blob Games, which has just fabulously-beautiful articles on how video game engines actually work.

But have I raved to you about, which is generously hosting all 3 issues of the fascinating, if short-lived, Game AI Pro series of books from CRC Press.

Start reading one article at Game AI Pro, and you'll soon be reading them all.

And, to close things off, let's get back to the Great Game. May I encourage you to spend a few minutes with this beautiful video, and remember that our children are our future?

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