Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Long Words of TerraNova

Hi! Today I'm going to talk about this post. Someone went and wrote a paper.

Because I know that not everyone (IE, nobody anywhere ever) likes to read papers written in acadspeak, I've writting a translation in English. You can find it here. Technically, I'm not following his requests. Consider it a parody.

The short, short, short version is this:

He first says that games aren't always without consequences. Obvious, but I guess he felt the need to start slow.

Then he says that defining a game by its rules is idiotic. This might sound a little wonky, but really, it's utterly fabulous. It is an awesome, awesome, awesome insight.

Then he starts talking philosophy, which is completely worthless. He keeps after it with a tenacity that almost, but not quite, zeroes out his positive balance from the rule insight.

The rules thing? Yeah. I'm going to talk about that some more. That's really great stuff. Just awesome. But not today.


Patrick Dugan said...

Yes, my aim with Fianna and Pack Appeal (a free for download dream project [not THE dream project] about school violence) is that the play spills over into the mind of the user and stays there, maybe even fucks with your head and gets you to see the world in new ways.

And what I'm on about with rhizomes vs. puzzles (that is optimizational forms of play in general) is that the aesthetic can wrap around and eat the rules whole, so to speak. Or, better yet, the rules can serve the cultural impression to the point where the rules are incidental. Nobody walks out of Shindler's List talking about the wicked cinematography (except Roger Ebert, hmmm...).

Anyways, rambling a bit, nice translation.

Patrick Dugan said...

Okay, now that I've read the whole translation (I skimmed the paper the other day, but shit man, if your reduced translation is seven pages... you know I'm going to use a very casual writing style for my senior thesis if I get credit approval, you're right about writing style) lets talk turkey.

The basic gist is that the magic circle is just chalk on the pavement drawn by men in capes who think they're high priests of Diana. Complexity is a better word for the interplay of chaos and order than contigency, and for that matter procedural is better than processural, which doensn't imply anything other than "I'm 'procedural's' gay little brother." The kinds of complexity he describes seem to correlate to various forms of pattern regocnition in the human brain: spatial, social, verbal, linguistic, maybe musical, maybe logistical, Crawford and Koster each have their own sets, but you get the idea. Most games use spatial complexity to challenge spatial thinking, thats clear enough anyway; social and linguistic (semiotic) complexity are almost nowhere to be found, musical has only caugth on in the past several years. So playing America's Army, a pretty much exclusively spatial games (with weakly social tactics) affects real-life because it teaches you how to be a killing machine that is a team player with other killing machines. If you use social and verbal and linguistic complexity you might be able to effect society in a more interesting way than just recruiting teenage boys into neoimperialism.

Whoops, that was a walk on at the end there. Military Entertianment Complex! Rhizomatic Flavinoid Shiva Clones! Processural Transvestite Circus Economics! I'm important... please think I'm important!

So yeah, theres an interesting correlation between challenge and complexity, that opens up the potential for interesting forms of challenge in non-competetive games.

Craig Perko said...

Well, the situation is somewhat complex... Complexity is complex, too.

I have a lot to say about it. Too much for a comment post.

Patrick Dugan said...

Between work and play: wray - wray all day on an essay, ese'.