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Game poems

Started by droqen, May 21, 2023, 09:06:17 AM

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Regarding Jordan Magnuson's
"Game Poems"


I love my newfound comfort in navigating books freely. In the case of this book, I quickly browsed the table of contents and discovered that it was divided into two major parts:

PART I. What Is a "Game Poem"? and PART II. Making Game Poems in Practice

I've long been sick to death of getting stuck in definitions! So I was very happy to skip part 1, which would have surely frustrated me, straight into part 2, into which all the important definitional flotsam will have found its way regardless, I'm sure.


The 10th chapter is rather definition-y as well. "What is the material of the videogame poet?" A question without clear answers. Next chapter.

EDIT: alright, let me engage more seriously. In this chapter Magnuson brings up many interesting elements and attempts to take them seriously (code, platform, experience) but then (frustratingly) attempts to set some of these aside: "I cannot see these things as describing the fundamental material of the videogame poet." (94)


Chapter 11 starts by defining, or providing a rather definitional lens for, poetry. This is a bad omen for me. I'm going to stop commenting and just soak in the whole chapter, see what I think of it by the end.


P. 100
QuoteVideogames have established visual and auditory vernaculars that are ripe for poetic intervention

P. 104
Quote. . . my central thesis. . . the core material of the videogame poet is the language of videogames: a vast tangled web of visual, auditory, and procedural signifiers, with all of their established ways of signifying. . .

Oh, hmm. I hate it. I'm not denying that there's truth to it, but I find the suggestion of a lens like this is too reactive, and much too insular. How could the core material of an art form ever be the cultural detritus of the art form itself? No, absolutely not.


Put another way, I am so deathly uninterested in a form built only on top of, in response to, to subvert, traditional games. I want to go deeper, to the Center -- not further out to the periphery to the collateral art created in the wake.

Perhaps Magnuson is merely describing an art form I'm not that interested in, while I am looking for some other older form, something that escapes games for the sake of themselves (whether seeking to 'intervene' or not), some 'luminous ground' from which games are born and not homunculi born on top of the ground of games themselves.


Noooo I literally am not going to subject myself to the rest of this chapter, I'm sorry Magnuson


I am going back to the table of contents.


I'm going to read the conclusion (chapter 15), then the introduction, and I think that's it.


P. 147
QuoteChapter 15
Why We Need Game Poems:
A Brief Conclusion

This chapter opens by tricking the reader. There are many quotes about the value of poetry, presented as though they are quotes about the author's 'game poems'. He owns up to the trickery immediately. OK. I'm not impressed; all these quotes are too vague and not about the material, not useful, the 2020s equivalent of "but can a game make you cry?" "ya games can be art"

Yes, games can cause us to feel things! They can mean things to people!


P. 150

Quotewhen I think about my own practice . . . these are the games I want to make; these are the games I want to play.

Strong echoes with Jack's first letter:

QuoteI want to describe to you a kind of game that I like to play, and a kind of game that I want to play.

This is a great lens! I think we should be asking ourselves and each other these questions. Jack goes on to be open and describe something difficult, something vague, something incomplete. Magnuson's words don't resonate with me, but I am glad he is looking for answers, making statements with which I can fight in private like this.


Unsent message to Paradise:

Quotei skimmed Game Poems in the way that i skim books and i didn't really get too much out of it, but that was fine. what really got me riled up was this one quote, this attempt by magnuson to sum up his self-described 'central thesis':

> that the core material of the videogame poet is the *language* of videogames: a vast tangled web of visual, auditory, and procedural signifiers, with all of their established ways of signifying (both denotatively and connotatively) in relation to one another and to the world at large.

the title of this thread is '**the art form of reacting to game culture**' bc i'm curious about other takes on it. i am... i feel that lately i have been moving further away from this, less and less interested in reacting to game culture. it's like... surely there is something interesting about game poems aside from the pieces of other games that compose them ugh