Wednesday, November 12, 2008

VG criticism and reviews at Popular Symbolism

For readers who have an interest in the video game criticisms periodically presented here (see "creations" in the sidebar), I highly recommend the new blog Popular Symbolism.

While the video game industry is quickly leaving the movie industry in the dust, VG criticism is still in its infancy. It is almost entirely comprised of technical and aesthetic commentary tending to read more like the evaluation of an automobile test-drive than a reflection on an epic story rich with historical and mythological allusions. PS shows a lot of promise in prodding VG criticism forward.


mwc said...

I would also very strongly recommend The Brainy Gamer, Versus Clu-Clu Land, Man Bytes Blog, and Hit Self-Destruct, among many others, if you are interested in discussions of video games that take a deep look at meaning and art in games.

sc said...

The VG industry is nowhere near the size of the movie industry, and it never will be. For movies, you have to add theatrical, video sales/rentals, tv broadcasts, licensing/merchandising, etc. Meanwhile, VG income is almost 100% game sales.

Everyone watches movies, while VG is limited a small group of hardcore nerds. And even if VG somehow miraculously becomes as big as movies, it will never have the same prestige, because the movie industry is full of beautiful people while the VG industry is full of ugly nerds.

Audacious Epigone said...


Beautiful people vs ugly nerds: Virtual people are actually becoming more and more beautiful, to the extent that they are able to compete with real movie stars (admittedly I feel a little odd in stating as much, but it's true).

Well, if you're going to be so expansive, do you not also have to include arcades (Chuckie Cheese, D&B, etc), MMOs (WoW alone brings in $165 million a month--that's a successful movie twelve times a year from a single game), rentals/resales (vgames now account for 15% of Blockbuster's revenue, and that share continues to grow), etc?

Video games are already essentially interactive movies that give 20 times the duration of entertainment for the same price.

squarepusher said...

To be brutally frank here, I prefer it the way it is now. Having seen what comes out of 'mainstream'isation of major mediums such as movies and music, I'm not sure things are going to get for the better when videogames get equal exposure and kudos from the MSM as movies.

The only thing that would entail would be: more political correctness (just imagine extremist Christians coming across a videogame like Shin Megami Tensei where Lucifer is portrayed sympathetically - they would have a field day with it), more selling out (more T&A, more DLC).

So exactly what are videogamers striving for when they want their medium to become 'respected'? Respected by who? And why do they do figure they need that 'respect' to enjoy themselves? So they can wax lyrically over their videogames at the water cooler? Another distraction from issues that matter?

I don't buy the argument that there are no Citizen Kanes or suchlike in videogames - that argument is often put forth by ignorant people that cannot connect the dots in a storyline and need everything spelled out to them or need something to wax over pseudo-philosophically.

For instance, there is BioShock, which covers Ayn Rand, Collectivism, the danger of extremist ideologies (whether it be fascism, Nazism, Communism, Capitalism, or Utopianism).

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have videogames like Deus Ex which delve into territory that they wouldn't get away with if they were given the same exposure as a regular mainstream movie.

And GTA4 did a pretty good job expose of the American Dream.

squarepusher said...

spelled out to = spelled out for.

Apologies, English is not my native tongue. :)