Sunday, November 1, 2009

Searching for purpose

I love talking theory. "What kind of theory?" Any theory. Theory of relativity, theories on art, theories on mankind. If the conversation is about theory, I want to be a part of it.

Why I'm so attracted to theory is an interesting enough question, but I want to keep this journal focused. Therefore, at least at first, I'm going to dedicate this space to the discussion of video game theory. Of all the theory in the universe I could be discussing right now, I'm choosing video games. I realize how absurd or juvenile it looks to most people to take up valuable time discussing theories about video games, but I think that sentiment demonstrates the lack of serious discussion about games rather than the lack of significance found in video game theory.

The name "video game" in itself (with its current connotations) suggests a topic of a trivial nature--something only stimuli-deprived overactive intellectuals would find pleasure in dissecting. As I see it, video games are seen by the majority of the general public and the preponderance of serious thinkers to be nothing more than a novelty or merely a branch of entertainment defined solely by the technology that enables it.

This view of video games, while I admit the intuitive "correctness" of it, has been blinding us to what I see as an enormous artistic potential in video games. For the last few years, I've been building up disparate theories to construct a more all-encompassing theory regarding the art of games. The rude framework I've built up so far is something I believe would be something intriguing to the curious, but it's far from complete. The purpose of this blog is to at once describe my previous thoughts while tracking the changes in my thinking on this topic.

I view this area less as a resource to others, but more as an artifact and a meeting place. Here we will gather knowledge, and while we do so, we will shape it in way that will help us in our actions now and improve the way we will think in the future. That's the hope, anyway.

Chesterton says that something worth doing is worth doing wrong, so if this is the wrong way to go about this, might as well get it over with now.


Remy77077 said...

I just wanted to thank you for writing all your thoughts here, and how much I love this blog. I've just luckily stumbled upon it, and ended up reading everything you've written with huge interest. I'm really intrigued to see where you go from here, and you're helping me to develop my own thoughts about games. Thank you.

Ferguson said...

Thanks for the compliment, Remy! I'm glad to have someone with such curiosity with me on this journey, and I'm just as intrigued as you are to see where this all leads.

Remy77077 said...

You're welcome :) I also write about games (Although from a different angle and a much 'lower' perspective than yourself. I mainly focus on details about particular games and the environment within which games take place eg. how a game interacts with XBox Live and how it facilitates competitive play or not). But I've often struggled with the idea of games criticism and the best way to even attempt some holistic approach, so I'm really enjoying your well thought out ideas about that.
Anyway, enough asides/self-promotion, I just wanted to say I have first hand experience with how 'lonely' blog-writing can be, so I like to let good writers know they are appreciated! Also, rather than linking them all here, I suspect a lot of my 'Views' links on my blog would contain some interesting reads for you, although you may well be aware of all of them already.