• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

No-one can read videogame text anyway; it's not actually text, it's like a texture.

Started by droqen, September 20, 2021, 05:12:35 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Regarding a quote from thecatamites:
"No-one can read videogame text anyway; it's not actually text, it's like a texture."

* Fantastic Arcade 2017: 10 BEAUTIFUL POSTCARDS Developer Commentary with thecatamites [timestamp 12:42 - 13:28]
QuoteThis is the main screen. So, you can see I'm just going into speedrun mode: there's no point paying attention to the text because no-one can read videogame text anyway; it's not actually text, it's like a texture. You have to read every sentence in a videogame three times before you're able to parse it as human language.

[A massive block of text appears on-screen.]
Case in point. You see this, and the first thing you say is, "Do I need to read this? Is it just like flavour text or a tooltip or something?"
And then you're like "*sigh* Uh, okay, I guess I gotta read, so I gotta just scan it and see like, Uh, Hotel, Test card, World, Hotels, Hotels, Hotels, Hotels,"

And then, if you can't figure out what it's meant to be saying from that, you have to set your mind down to reconstruct it as actual language.
But that's a worst-case scenario [which] generally, videogame 'best practices' try and avoid.


If I were to analyze the quote "no-one can read videogame text anyway" with the analytic fervour I used to analyze Melos' Deadgames and Alivegames, it would not hold up either; it's not a factual statement, but it communicates something that I find personally to be more valuable, so I give it more slack. How should I approach situations like this? If someone were to argue "This is factually untrue," how could I make thecatamites' quote more factual without making it overlong or less impactful?

Jesse Schell's lenses may provide a way to approach it but "It's just a lens" seems like a weak response. Anything can be a lens, and anyone can fall back on "It's just a lens, therefore my position is unarguable." Is there a way for thecatamites' quote to be a brick in a foundation, rather than just an ephemeral call to arms for those it inspires?


What does it mean for a statement to be 'a brick in a foundation'? This is only a metaphor; what do I mean? There is the idea that we can move towards a whole truth, even if we never arrive at it. A foundation is one truth that supports the next, deeper, truth, and a brick is something that moves us towards arriving at the first truth. Perhaps with creative art, there is no truth, therefore we cannot approach the truth. That's terribly convenient and terribly inconvenient.


Thecatamites' quote describes a dynamic - a particular experiential phenomenon. it's poetry. Reading it, you may relate or you may not. What type of writing is this? Descriptive-empathetic? It's just a statement. I guess the use of the term "no-one" is strictly speaking a falsehood, but it communicates a sense of belonging, and it's casual language anyway.

Even to say "I cannot read videogame text" would be a falsehood. How does rational logic understand poetry? It can't. Poetry has already gone meta. You don't argue with poetry unless you're a great fool.


Ought I look back at deadgames and alivegames through this lens?

If I write something poetic or motivational or otherwise feel-y and someone argues the truth value of what I'm saying, is there a point in engaging beyond to state, "It's not declaring truth"?

Or ... should I only make statements that I believe are true? It seems terribly restrictive. In what contexts may I abuse the truth for effect?