Lev Manovich: Database as Symbolic Form

I had a read of this extract but I must say it was a bit confusing. I’m not entirely sure what Manovich was getting at apart from his suggestion that Narratives and Databases are at odds with one another. I gather Manovich is discussing these things in terms of storytelling and narrative, and how “New Media” prefers a more non-linear approach to it via databases and user input. Even then it doesn’t seem to coalesce into any particularly strong ideas.

I did like the bit about video games though, and the fact Will Wright was quoted, and a thought that came from that section was how competitive video game players learn the game’s algorithms to try and beat their opponents. Quake in particular is a great example, being a legacy competitive game, where the game’s core mechanics were so familiar to the players they could manipulate them in ways that seemed superhuman to more casual players. Similarly Brood War was infamous for some of it’s poor design aspects – such as maximum selection limits, and micromanagement – that when perfected, were a sign of true mastery.

…but yeah, still confused about that reading there.

What is it to “Play”?

I feel like this is something I need to address for myself since I play video games, well, a lot of the time, but with so many conflicting ideas of what a video game is  and what defines it, I’m a tad bewildered.

I recently read Brendan Keogh’s article in Issue #5 of five out of ten and he describes “play” not only as the physical input into a controller or keyboard but simply being “engaged”, “I am still playing Grand Theft Auto IV, even if I am not pressing any buttons”. For most simple approaches to what video games are as a medium, this is very new; as Keogh also notes the idea that ‘playing’ is simply the user inputting commands via buttons, keys, or analog sticks is an assumption that sticks with us.

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Video Games; ‘Winning’

I can say with certainty that games exist to be won is not true any more. Prani finishes her short response by saying, “…to be a game, a game doesn’t have to have a narrative.” which holds true. Games like the classic arcade cabinet ones – Pac Man, Tetris, Street Fighter etc. – are simply fun and do not use a narrative to engage with their audiences.

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Twisty! A response to a response…

Something of a stream of consciousness post; sitting down on a Saturday night to do a bit of catch up as it were for Uni, and I decided to start off with Networked Media. Here’s what I’m listening to while writing (a 30 minute EDM mix by Knife Party, some ripper tracks in there).

So I started by catching up on the subject blog, and as per mentioning in my blog assessment I stated I wanted to do more of the networking thing, so I endeavoured to engage with somebody else’s blog and right off the bat I found something wonderful! Something I hadn’t thought about before either, as the network is best as revealing.

This post by Alois Wittwer responded to the question put to us last week, “What would it be like to read a story that changed it’s shape every time you read it?” with some observations on the “toxic notions” of a portion of society that like to ‘get something’ out of their lives. I’d agree that this is a rampant desire for pretty much everyone; it can be boiled down to the Meaning of Life thing. No, it isn’t 42 – 42 was the computational error by the Earth of 6 multiplied by 9 and not the answer to the ultimate question – I fancy Douglas Adams was making fun of arbitrary end goals we set ourselves in life when, and as is my main point; the concept of nihilism. Continue reading