onsdag 21. november 2012

Spillkritikk-onsdag: Uke 47

Det blir en fyldig spalte i dag. Er du klar?

Først ut er en «tingenes tilstand»-artikkel som nærmest er som obligatorisk lesning å regne: Konfliktmineraler og elektronikkindustrien.

Tin. Tantalum. Tungsten. Gold.

The minerals used to make our game consoles. And cell phones. And computers. On their journey from the ground to our TV stands, these minerals fund ethnic bloodshed, slavery, sexual violence, and a war that has killed somewhere between 2.7 and 5.4 million people.

These are what have been dubbed "conflict minerals," the biggest shadow export from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We hear about the game industry's use of conflict minerals from time to time, but mostly in a broad sense that doesn't provide much context to understand the problem or how the industry is making progress to address the issue.

Richard Clark har skrevet en artikkel hos Gamechurch om problemet med fyllstoffet som finnes i mange spill og i livet generelt, eller eventuelt, å holde fast på det som er viktig, og bruker fjærne i Assassin's Creed som eksempel.

There are things we feel, the things we experience, the things we receive from others, the things we love. And then, there are the things we have. Collectively, we call it stuff, but individually, when we focus in on these possessions, we convince ourselves that they matter. Especially when we’re focused on the act of attaining them, we convince ourselves that they will significantly enrich our lives.

What is it we’re thankful for? Not the stuff. The times, the people, the feelings. But almost never stuff.

That stuff takes up so much of my present and future headspace, spurring us on to plan and pine over the most inconsequential possessions, filling our visions of the future and making us discontent with the present. In the meantime, the experiences I have and the people I surround myself with are taken mostly for granted.

11. november var Remembrance Day, eller Veterans' Day om du bor i USA. I den anledning har Push Select Magazine noen artikler som ser med kritisk blikk spills fremstilling av krig, deriblant disse to: Heroism without Horror; What War Games Fail to Remember og War is Hell. Helluva lot of Fun. I tillegg har de en tekst med tre generelle mangler ved mange nye skytespill.

Hos FAIR skriver J. F. Sargent at det er problematisk at spill forsterker stereotyper ved å bruke dem som en enkel utvei når utviklerne vil formidle noe.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim features the option to choose to be one of the “Redguard,” a dark-skinned people whose culture closely resembles the Moors, and receive an “Adrenaline Boost” perk to augment their ability to run and jump beyond that of other races--which reflects obvious stereotypes about African-American athleticism. Earlier games in this same series also gave the Redguard a penalty to intelligence, which meant that playing as a dark-skinned character was mutually exclusive from playing as a smart character, forcing you to “role-play” a racist stereotype. White characters faced no such limitations.

When the problem is “how do I make the player immediately feel ill will towards this character,” prejudices are the easy solution--particularly prejudices that are presumed to be shared by the white, heterosexual male target audience.

Patrick Stafford mener i en nett, liten tekst på bloggen sin at vi spiller for raskt, og jeg vet så alt for godt hva han mener, selv om han nok har det noe travlere enn jeg har det.

I live a busy life, and that’s entirely by choice. My job is demanding, but I choose to keep myself informed in a wide range of things. Just reading the news and blogs I like and depend on is a full-time job. Let alone spending time with my wife and pitching freelance stories. Where’s the time to play games?

Jeg trodde jeg skulle unngå hele «er spill kunst?»-debatten, men Ben Milton hos Ontological Geek har igrunnen et lettfattelig og fint syn på om spill er kunst: Hva er kunst, hva er problemet til spill i forhold til dette og hvordan kan det endres på?

Movies, music, paintings, literature and so on are single, unified experiences. They are carefully defined, circumscribed, finished. Games are not. Games are a massive array of possible experiences, some profound, some banal, some frankly irritating. Their rules are fixed but their events are not. They’re a uniquely malleable art form in which the player is a kind of co-author. The creator of a game can never be certain what experience the player will have, since the player is making up a great deal of that experience as he goes along.

Perhaps we are asking games to be something they weren’t meant to be. They are practical creatures, more mechanisms of self-expression on the part of the player than an end in themselves. Would it be so wrong to consider them tools for making works of art, rather than works of art in themselves? Most of us have had a particular gaming experience that has resonated powerfully with us. However, upon going back later and trying to recapture that feeling we find it elusive, since it was born out of a particular set of circumstances that will never be repeated. … masterful games allow us to experience the strange and startling consequences of our actions, and perhaps it is those works, those unrepeatable, finite, chains of interactions we’ve built, that we ought to be celebrating, rather than the rules that build them.

God lesning!

Noe du vil si?