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Category Archives: Musings

Destiny – Just musings/monologue of a MMORPG and FPS Newbie

Destiny

Warning: Can contain swearing and is totally and absolutely subjective and more a monologue. 

Somewhere I mentioned that I don’t play FPS and MMORPG. 

And somehow I still bought Destiny. 

Not because I was hyped, not because I was interested, not because I like the genre or to find out what this hype was all about. To be honest, I didn’t care about the game, I didn’t care about the footage, I didn’t even see the trailer or anything else. I knew it was a FPS, I knew there was a hype and for god’s sake…I was tired of the advertising of this being like the new Messiah of new game consoles.(*cough* yeah sure.)

In the end, I just decided to ignore it as far as I could.

Then suddenly, just for one freaking day, I was in a particular good “let’s try new things”-mood and then it just happened to be the release date of destiny. I walked into the game store (of which I am a regular) like usual, saw it and then…my mindset changed from “I shouldn’t buy the game I know nothing about” to “Ah, why the hell not?”

I know that is hard to believe, but it was still priceless to see the shop assistant go: “You are buying Destiny of all people?!” Somewhere along the line I just might have said something that he should just shut up and take the goddamn money to spare the humiliation that I was about to betray my own principles of not playing such games. (Not that I damn people who like those games, god forbid. Everybody should play what they like. Not my business, really.)

Back to topic. I now had the game in my hands and while it started up, I still asked myself what the hell I was doing there. Then cutscene, character creation, tutorial, nothing special, nothing mindblowing. I played a few missions, fooled a little bit around…

Is it revolutionary with things we have never seen? No.

Is it the messiah of the next gen consoles we all were promised? Hahaha…Hell no.

But more importantely, is it fun? Yeah. Surprisingly…somehow…yeah.

Before some of you might start to rage how such a game with a medicore story and nothing new can actually be fun. Just let me explain. What might help a bit is that I didn’t have any expectation and more importantly, I don’t believe in the hype around it.  It’s the first game of that kind which I have touched in a long…long…LONG time. I played CoD in the past and that not very long because I suck at it (really, I do), I tried to somehow get into this whole MMORPG thing a few times without success. (That being…just becoming bored of it and leave it be after two weeks.)

Although I was not amused by the always online feature (my internet connection has suicidial tendencies), I still give it a try. What I can remember from my old days, MMORPG aren’t there to tell a magnificent story full of intrigue and a threat of a magnitude we can’t grasp…Although…a Game of Thrones MMORPG would be quite nice. People can stab and backstab each other there over opinions and ressources all they want. Sounds nice to me.

The game itself isn’t overly complicated. When it moves, shoot it. (the variety comes with “With what do I shoot it?”). The missions are repeating itself. Collect, kill, scan, repeat. The story (as far as I have seen) is nothing out of ordinary. But the gameplay works without trouble.  

At first, I played alone (…yeah…Playing alone. An MMO), trying out the features, found nothing really outstanding besides the graphics and nice design. Then I was about to slap myself for just having donated my money to the video game industry and then I got an E-mail from a friend “Just got Destiny.”. I asked if he wanted to play with me. After I got another earful about what the hell got into me to buy such a game, he agreed.

And this is where it got actually fun. We spoke over team chat, we made a few missions (died a few times); leveld up and then took on the very first “dungeon”. We made it on the first try without teamwipe and after the last boss exploded, it was not an euphoric feeling, but a fun experience. Of course this can change if you have somebody who is acting like a total spoilsport in the party.

That is the strong point and the only reason I would play an MMORPG or anything online. To enjoy and playing a game with other people. Of course I could say the story is…really average, but then again, I wouldn’t really play an MMORPG for story, just like I wouldn’t play Monster Hunter for story. I would play it for the gameplay and mechanics.

It is nothing special, just a FPS, in space with a taste of halo and it happens to be an MMO. Well, the graphics and some designs are pretty, I guess. Everytimes I  hear a “new innovation” or the “next generation”, I just pretend that I didn’t hear it. That way I don’t get expectation and am pretty save from disappointments. (It’s advertising…They wouldn’t sell much, if they would just bluntly tell the truth).

Mayber, just maybe after a long time, maybe I just learn to enjoy and have fun with games again, instead of just buying it, spend time with and say “Yeah…okay…Was nice.” or not having so many things I personally would have liked but which wouldn’t work out in a long run.

Since they would be unrealistic and would highly depend on taste. To say this is so cliche, that was there so, so many times, yeah, well it was. I can still enjoy a story if I get invested in the characters around it, although I know what will happen.

This game is no different. Of course I don’t like repeatable quests or a bland story, but as long as I can enjoy the gameplay, I think its alright.

It’s not broken, it works, it just isn’t the Messiah many people hoped it would be. But maybe it is just my impression. Maybe I will go in depth with those points and make a full blown (some sort) of review of it, or just make some posts about things which I have encountered in Destiny…We will see. For me it is just fun to play with other people and that is what a game should be about.

Or maybe I’m already so desperate that I want to enjoy a game that works and has almost no gameplay flaws.

 

 

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Musings

 

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Art or not art? That is the question… – Musings on Video Games

imagesForgive me for my bad Shakespear impression…but first,…I have to slap myself for writing this. Not only for this unexcusable attempt to write a fitting title, but for the whole idea of actually meddling with the game politics and speak my mind about it. (What outrageous thought…) If you haven’t noticed by now, this is going to be a lot more serious than my other “reviews”….I’m so going to regret this, am I?

So, don’t like, don’t read. I’m not angry when someone disagrees with what I’m writing about. I’m a supporter of open mind and free discussion. So, I’m going to throw the central question in here.

“Are Video Games Art?”

…Don’t mind me if I’m getting a headache right now, because this topic is a glorious absurd vicious circle and of course, I can’t withstand the temptation to write about it. (I’m slowly thinking I’m a masochist at heart…)

What is the clear definition of art, in general? I dare you to not open wiki or google (bing, yahoo or use the classic book dictonary) the word “art”. What comes to mind when we think about art? Well, pictures, sculptures, paintings, music, literature, performing arts and so on.

And why do we consider these things as art? It is human made, is a part/product of our culture, has influenced culture and was/is influcenced by it. We admire it, we debate about the meaning, we consider a deeper meaning behind it, or just simply accept it as “a piece of art” because we were told that this is art. It’s a human product, build out of our knowledge, vision, time, interpretation and talent.

First of all, this is a personal definition and I don’t know if it does cover with other definitions or not. The problem with such topics is, in general, that there a many definitions in different contexts on art. And don’t get me started on culture. In some circles it either provokes a neverending discussion, which may or may not escalate or dead silence, depending on where you bring up this topic.

In my point of view, it is rather subjective, strongly depending on different influcences, the culture we have grown up in and the knowledge we have aquired through years, on the period of time we are living and our own interpretation. What may be on wiki or in a dictonary is the general accepted explanation, but that doesn’t mean, that it covers the essence what different people might see in the topic of art. But let’s explain it with a personal example.

By all means, I’m no art student and I’m not familiar with the history of art in any way…but I was on different exhibitions. I went through classic art like portraits (Mona Lisa and the Kiss by Klimt being famous examples) to sculptures of Michelangelo to Impressionists to “Modern Art”. The first examples being almost beyond price and the last a pile of bananas on a table.

You can guess what my reaction. I was seriously confused. I considered art as something exeptional, as a product not every human can produce, as something unique, a talent not everyone has and now I was confronted with a pile of banana peals which can be considered as art (This is nothing unique since every person could do such a thing). Then it was explained to me that this piece of art is about the message the creator wants to send to the viewers and the discussion around it. Since I’m a writer in the amateur department I’,m familar with this. When telling a story you want to get a point across, but what point it is, can vary from the point of view.

And that is a major thing which is funny and frustrating at the same time.

For example you can take it for what you see: A sculpture, a stone, a simple story of a boy and a girl or a pile of bananas on a table. Or you can try to explain it with symbolism and interpretation thereof. And the last thing can be considered a problem in some cases. Symbols and interpretation of symbols vary, depending on the person and the person’s culture and story. A dagger can be a weapon, a threat, a symbol for war or a soldier, of betrayal or , according to Freud…You know what I mean.

images (1)A coded critic on society? On economy? On enviroment?  Or was Freud right?

And depending on the person you ask you can get a different interpretation. If you don’t ask the creator, that is. They were sheldomly asked what they really meant by it or say it is “to provoke the mind and people”. I feel with the authors who suddenly were accused to embed a hidden message in every thing they describe, even if they didn’t have the intention to do so. (Oh there are red curtains in the book! That has to mean something!)

So, bananas on a table is art, because it stirrs up your train of thoughts? Because it provokes me to question it? Then what about Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey? They did as well stir me thoughts and provoked me to ask how could it be considered literature, but it can hardly considered art (…or I’m I wrong?) Of this, I draw the conclusion that writing is an art form, but it doesn’t produce art automatically, at least, in my opinion. I have nothing against Modern Art but some pieces make me wonder..,Is this really art? The answers I get ranges from yes to no to maybe.

What has that to do with Video games? It is made for enterainment from humans for humans. But so are books,    films, theatre performances and music. I dare to say their first and furthermost goal is to entertain humans in different ways. But when does entertainment become art and when is art not some form of entertainment? You may think, maybe sculptures or portraits are an example to rebut this argument, but aren’t they entertainment in things of aesthetic? Of self picturing? In every work is a hidden meaning, but only the creator or employer knows what kind of meaning. Either he/she wanted just a statue or I don’t know, wanted to show off their money or talent, or something completely different.

Of course there are other important questions as well. In case of film or video games, what defines this point of turning the work into art? Just because someone threw in some symbols, so we can interpret what it should mean? Maybe. Or is it what the story behind it that tries to tackle and question society? Could be as well. There is no clear definition of what differs the one from the other, although some consider that there is a line. There are people who will never consider video games as art form or modern art for that matter.

I can remember that I was called narrow minded because I questioned some exhibits on modern art and asked if that is really art, because everyone can splash some paint on the wall and say “Look here I created art”. People called me out that “I don’t understand art” and “don’t see the meaning and idea behind it.”. I won’t deny it. I don’t have the slightest clue what art is supposed to be. I think art describes something that humans created. Something man-made, but at the same time I don’t consider everything that humans create as a piece of art. I think, I don’t know. And I’m well aware that what I’m taught about art depends on my society and own experiences with it. In the end, human societies decide what can  be regared as art, regardless the individual person. But societies always change.

journey__cloudy_mount_by_gekidami-d4let45

Poetical and entertaining…How can this be not art?

My conclusion is: Programming games and telling stories are an art form, since it creates something, yet at the same time, it doesn’t always create art depending on different views. To say that Video Games will never reach a certain level of art or isn’t art, is, in that perspective at least, a little bit rashly and an argument without good footing. What art is, depends on different factors and let’s be honest, the argument that art can be timeless or at least, survives a certain periode of time, because it is unique and will be remembered…Pieces what we see today were, to put in bluntly, just lucky to survive to this day. What we consider as art can be forgotten by the next generation.

But I will come to an end with this. I called it a vicious circle because there isn’t really an end to this debate. It is a subjective matter and thus everyone can have a different opinion without really being right or wrong.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Musings

 

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