Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Some videos for your consideration

     Today my post is not going to focus on my own arguments, but on some well developed arguments in video form that I have recently watched. The first video is a TEDx presentation in which the speaker uses Bioshock, The Last of Us, and other recent games as examples to introduce the concept of video games as methods through which to convey relevant major ideas and philosophical topics to a broad audience. You may watch the video below:

     The second video is from a regular book vlogger who merely poses the question, "Are video games literature?" In asking this question, however, she makes some very nice points. Also, though I would normally advise against reading YouTube comments at all costs, there is some nice discussion in the comments on this video. If nothing else, the video sparks a lively debate on the controversy surrounding the concept of video games as literature.

     On this second video, I did post a response, which I will share below:
What I don't understand is why people are so intent on separating art and literature as though they are two distinct things. I have a MA in English Literature. That's a Master's of Art. Literature is considered a form of art, often even "fine art." So I think we can probably all agree that literature, video games, paintings, music, etc. all fall under the extremely broad category of "art." And the definition of art itself has been debated for literal millennia, so I don't think we'll find an adequate agreement to its definition here. The question is, are video games literature. And to know that you have to have a strong understanding of what literature actually is (and, unfortunately, one definition provided by google isn't going to give that understanding). Sometimes pamphlets you find in a doctor's office are called literature (Doctor: "I'm going to provide you with some literature on that deadly infectious disease you have. Good day."). Thus the word has several meanings. I personally believe that literature is any type of story being conveyed to an audience. That would include film, video games, comics, etc. Now, whether it's good, or "high" literature is dependent on general popular consensus.
 What are your thoughts regarding the concepts and questions posed by the speakers in these videos?

Also, remember that there is now a Steam Group! We've had some lively discussion on there so far, so feel free to jump into the mix! Expect some original new posts from me soon -- I have about three in the works at this moment, so I will finish at least one of them at any time now (I hope).

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