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[Close listening?] Mindscape -- C. Thi Nguyen on Games, Art, Values, and Agency

Started by droqen, October 27, 2021, 07:00:40 AM

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Quote from: ~11:30If you're trying to get to the top of a mountain to get some rare drug that's only there, you're not playing a game, you're just trying to get to the top of the mountain. If you're trying to get to the top of the mountain, as a mountain climber, then certain restrictions are part of what you're doing.

[example about how you respond if someone flies by in a helicopter and says, "hey, want a ride?" the drug-seeker says "yes," the mountain climber says "what do you think i'm doing here?"]

Even trying to get to the top of a mountain to get some rare drug can be thought of as engaging with obstacles on a voluntary level. To differentiate such a task from games is dangerously close to adopting an attitude that play is necessarily unimportant and valueless which is not the case. A person who climbs a mountain, as a mountain climber, very likely benefits from the social ties that make up the mountain climbing culture. The person who tries to get to the top of a mountain to get some rare drug is following their own ''rules'', so to speak. Replace the helicopter example with one where someone says "hey, I found a more interesting path to climb!" The mountain climber says "great!" and the drug-seeker is the one, this time, saying "what do you think I'm doing here?"

I'm not really getting along with this talk right now, I'll stop until droqtober. For now I'll wrap up and say that I think Nguyen's attitude towards games, and what they are, is clashing against my current Play Anything-fuelled mindset, which these days screams something like, "play is just loving the world around you and engaging with its features rather than disengaging with them." The mountain climber can pursue a life-saving drug AND discover, savour, and appreciate the pleasure of climbing a mountain at the same time. Just because the task has a functional, useful output, does not mean that the task is suddenly disqualified from being play.

Games are, or should be, conceptual things that provoke us to play, and perhaps show us how to play in a new way, or an old way we've forgotten.