Butter Archive #16: Video Games as Art?

Over the weekend I attended a literary conference in New York City (I’m sure you all missed me terribly <3). I had a few hours to¬†myself and decided to spend them at MoMA. Visiting art museums is always a good idea, but there was an exhibition in particular that made me hop up in excitement, that I wanted to share with our crew.

They had an area on video games! Which I think is super important, fascinating, and relevant to our studies. We’ve done a lot of talking about e-lit being gimmicky, and almost un-categorizable, and so the inclusion of video games in MoMA is, at least I think so, a big step forward for e-lit to be taken more seriously.

What was most interesting is that unlike a lot of the art that was extremely DO NOT TOUCH THIS FOR THE LOVE OF THE SUNS AND MOONS STAY AWAY, these games were asking to be played and explored and interacted with!

Here are some photos I took:

IMG_2754 IMG_2760

Butter Archive #13: Are Video Games Literature?

So this week we’ve been looking at video games and other interactive fictions, and it’s a topic that I think is really fascinating and interesting… so much so that I made a video essay about it! I made this last year in response to the Digital Literature course I took in 3rd year, and I thought that because it touches on a lot of the conversations we’ve been having it’d be worth sharing! Hope you enjoy, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Interactive Literature & Games: “I have no idea what visual design is”

Or “I have no idea what makes something visual pleasing or at the very least not seizure inducing”


Flight Paths

Flight Paths took such a long time to load I almost did not read it. I also keep losing the new pop up windows that opened up. I was actually reading These Waves of Girls while I waited for the hideously blue screens to move beyond the giant white 2-3% in the preview hovers.

I read the second installment before the first because of these loading issues making an already confusing story more confusing. That said, I feel Flight Paths successively utilized some features of digital platforms more so than These Waves of Girls. For example, the set delivery of the text implies a particular pace of reading (or thinking) that is not often accurately or strictly maintained in textually writing. In video/theatre the  delivery of lines can be paced (delivered slowly or quickly, in rapid succession etc.). In text writers have to either resort to space (as in poetry) to convey the pauses between thoughts or or else use filler words to stop the reader from reading too fast.

Often when I am writing I experience a process of thought, which I as rapidly as possible so I don’t forget, write down on paper. The development feels poignant to me, but when I re-read what I’ve written there is no longer the same quality of experience: the ideas are presented too rapidly one following the next, and the sense of discovery I felt while writing is not conveyed to the reader. I believe that the delivery of text in Flight Paths mimics the process of writing in this way, as well as imitates video/live theatre in its maintenance of time-sensitive reveal of events to the reader. (Is this confusing?)

Criticisms

  1. Although the audio is not particularly disruptive, I dislike that you cannot pause or adjust it.At the last “chapter” or section I found myself having to mute the audio as the gunshots were disruptive.
  2. At certain times the style of delivery of the story reminded me of jump-scare mechanisms. I did not know what sound effects could suddenly happen.
  3. One section used choppy looping videos–could not pause, but also can’t skip
  4. Some of the transitions/looping videos could possibly induce epileptic seizures
  5. No way to “jump” to a page. Have to proceed through all the slides of a section and wait for the page to process completely: I want to point out that this not the case with books, video, or audio files all of which we are able to access a point rather directly

[More under the cut]

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