Category Archives for: Philosophy of Game

Extending the Life of Super Smash Bros. Melee

07 October 2016

Sometime after watching some videos of Super Smash Bros. Melee (SSBM, Melee), I day-dreamed of a better version of Melee. There were more varied stages that fit the magical criteria of it being accepted by the community.

Then I imagined a mew2king combo someone off-stage in jungle japes, ending in a spike into a klaptrap, which was somehow DI’d and tech-jumped, running into yet another spike into a second klaptrap.

[I also imagined settings for turning on certain stage hazards, such as randall [the cloud], shy guys, and whispy, which all gives players a chance to interrupt combos or a chance at a recovery.]

Anyway, it would all be simple if Nintendo made the game open-source. Yet, 16 years later, not even an ounce of support for the competitive scene. In it’s stead, complete disregard and continued raking of capital through outdated proprietary hardware.

Perhaps Japan’s culture doesn’t value competition as much as family fun, but, when it’s as easy to do as pressing a button, the company’s reputation, in my mind, continues to fall over time. If this were a reputable company, say, Blizzard, this opportunity would have been immediately capitalized (taken advantage of). I can’t imagine any of the game programming to be special enough to be secret, so, I see no reason why not.

With some tweaks here and there, perhaps most of the stages, characters, [, items? stage hazards?] could be playable, resulting in more life without adding complexity (more information).

The result of ignoring and avoiding that decision has wasted much human labor through attempts to hack it and even using a sequel to the game to replicate it. So much human effort often is wasted due to simple decisions by the privileged and/or property-owners.

further browsing:
– results from Googling “ssbm wiki philosophy”

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Games, Humanities, Philosophy of Game

Media and Action

15 April 2016

From a thought today:

“…The second essay is about whether ‘personal essays’ ever cause action: has anyone acted upon an Essai by Montaigne[?], as people acted when Blow made Braid, or when Vertov made Man with a Movie Camera? Did the games and films made in response [to them] merely create more communication, as opposed to action? No [and Yes?]. It’s the accessibility of the medium that increases the chance of acting in response. ‘I read the news today’ is a different experience from watching Night and Fog, and that itself different from what I imagine and hope the experience of playing This War of Mine. The closer the experience of a medium is to real experience, the greater the chance of acting in response.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Art, Communication, Critical Theory, Films, Games, Humanities, Linguistics, Media, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game, Social Philosophy

What makes a classic, classic?

22 October 2014

In answering this question, one comes closer to what one should focus on creating.

Though for each medium (or new media) there are steps in aesthetics that accumulate to what makes a modern example of that medium, the steps are often forgotten.

What makes a classic are those things that offer a perspective of life, and allows time to reflect on it.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite films are the slow, contemplative ones by Asians: Still Walking, Like Father Like Son, Yi Yi, Tokyo Story. These films capture families realistically, allowing the viewer to observe human condition.

Those aren’t just my favorites, there are more that I consider classics. My favorites happen to have nuclear families as their subject, but it isn’t limited to such. Other films I’d still consider classics: Tree of Life, Apu trilogy, Chop Shop, 400 Blows, La Haine, Vive L’Amour, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, Nobody Knows, Grave of Fireflies, Bicycle Thieves, Ikiru, Kiki’s Delivery Service, A Separation. All of these films contain people. They too portray life realistically and explore the human condition.

It seems to me that’s it. A classic is an art object that realistically portrays life and deeply explores the human condition. To have good aesthetics (design, pacing, style) are icing.

I have not read classic fiction books, but I imagine the following novels of realism do similar justice: Anne Karrenina, War and Peace, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment.

Video games vary, and I have not experienced one that offers nearly as much insight into human life as the other mediums, but it’s possible. Jason Rohrer’s early games are a start. Jonathan Blow’s Braid had a good character. Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia is the greatest example I can currently think of. All are linear experiences. Still, none compare. But there are many other directions for games. When art is an interaction, it can’t be duplicated, which is kind of a requirement of a classic, that it can be re-experienced.

New media, performance art, public art, interactive art, etc. are different beasts They usually serve as steps by pushing aesthetics forward (Duchamp), from object to experience (Fluxus), from experience to interaction (Fluxus again?), and so on. Once they become interactive, they follow the same fate as interactive games: unable to become a classic. Ai Wei Wei’s work and Banksy just don’t quite fit or compare to those classic films or books. [I may be missing some classic performance arts, such as plays and dance]

I may argue for Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York photograph and text series, and Vincent Moon’s music and performance video series, as they provide insight into humans too. Both are archived on the internet, so it is possible to see it all in one viewing, as one normally does classics.

Of recent note, I found the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury within the Cannes film festival with this stated goal: “honour works of artistic quality which witnesses to the power of film to reveal the mysterious depths of human beings through what concerns them, their hurts and failings as well as their hopes.” Their goal is great, but their films tend to be more philosophical.

Also of recent note, one of Calvino’s definitions of a classic that I like: “A classic is the term given to any book which comes to represent the whole universe, a book on a par with ancient talismans.” This represents the childish ideal all art strives for.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Essays, Films, Games, Literature, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game

A Sequential List of Game Experiences that I Remember

30 May 2014

todo: fix indenting
House games:
– the floor is lava (also played at playgrounds)
Playground games
– tag, tag variants, four square, HORSE
Board games:
– Carom, Monopoly, Mouse Trap
Card games:
– Speed (aka Slam, Spit)
Early games:
– playing video games at Jacob’s house or at my house
– Toejam & Earl, Goof Troop, Earthbound, Track & Field, anything cooperative
– playing video games at Andrew’s house
– anything
– playing video games at Parth’s house
– Herc’s Adventures, single player playstation RPG games played cooperatively, anything multiplayer
Trend games:
– CrossFire, that ball with strings in the center and you had to pull wide once the ball came close
Arcade games
PC Games:
Diablo I and II, Starcraft, Caesar III, Settlers II, Age of Empires II, Team Fortress [Classic], Sim City 2000
Nintendo 64 multiplayer games
– Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Mario Party
– Final Fantasy VII and IX, Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger
Emulator games:
– Harvest Moon, older JRPGs (Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy III)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Mario 64
Pokemon Red and Blue
[first year college]
Halo 3
World of Warcraft
Team Fortress 2
[after first year]
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Shadow of the Colossus (and Ico)
– lectures by Jonathan Blow, Jenova Chen, Chris Crawford, EGP, and everything else
advent of indie games
– Jason Rohrer, Anna Antropy, etc.
IGF games
playground games revisited
New York:
– lectures by indie artists and professors
– Babycastles
– every game exhibition
– that time where Wu-Tang member had a concert at 285 kent with Pole Riders and MEGA-GIRP in the lobby
– Atari game exhibition with lecture by Ian Bogost and that one dude who spilled his heart into making games for Atari
– Space Cruiser
– that time where Keita Takahashi designed a bunch of games and they made it forreal (was not there, only read article)
– many interactive art exhibitions
And then I started traveling and stopped consuming media, especially games.

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Game Philosophy

30 May 2014

note: I’m just starting this! Hold on.

I’ve been admitted to Parson’s The New School for Design’s Design and Technology program.

And I feel it is important to think about the following:

1. What do you want to do at Parson’s? (see my statement of interests and intentions I sent to Parson’s, NYU game design, and NYU ITP)
– write ideas, clearly, with purpose, and prioritize them to find the most meaningful one
– propose (idea or ideas?) to audience at Parson’s once I get there

2. Summarize what experiences imparted some philosophy in games
list games and experiences
– create own manifesto
– see philosophy’s of great game designers
– see old notes and thoughts I wrote

Life related questions:
3. Is attending Parson’s necessary? Is being in New York necessary? Can I do this on my own outside of a city? Should the money go into business instead? Can $18,000 buy a tea shop in Taiwan? Can I live without much social life?

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A Personal Statement for Design And Technology

11 January 2014

Written for a certain program’s application.

Outline reasons for applying to the program
The reason I’m applying is because I want to place myself among diverse people with great potential. I’ve been traveling for the past year or so, and I still haven’t been to a place as publicly accessible for human development as New York. I plan to go back, and I want to start it right.

In my experience, compared to NYU ITP, Parson’s alumni seem a bit better rounded. I probably fit the NYU ITP stereotype: overly excited, inconsistent, ambitious, childish; I think I’d work well with a more straight edged Parson’s person, providing the impulse in the team, as I have with past collaborators. I can do the crazy fun experimentation in my free time (Babycastles!).

I also think the curriculum is better suited to create relationships. Collaboration studio and research labs are really appealing to me. The ITP-like electives are still there too.

In what ways will I contribute to the program
Myself: my crazy street-life perspective, my need for universalism – everyone in the world should be able to play my games, my need to have fun while doing all of this, my reluctance to compromise, pushing myself, the people around me, and hopefully, design.

Thoughtful description of my background
[Replacing with description of self, as my background is covered in resume and portfolio]

I self-diagnosed myself to have schizoid personality disorder (SPD). I often withdraw from social situations, have narrow focus, have trouble maintaining relationships, and am indifferent to social norms, despite all of this, I require interaction with people, especially those that I admire or have similar objectives, even if my objectives often change. I rely on communities and/or games to be social. I’ve been struggling with interaction with people my whole life.

Tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as I envision it
When I travel I often have extreme, schizoid-affected feelings from external stimuli. I become extremely playful and confident, as I was in my childhood. I want to explore everything, do everything, and talk to everyone; Empiricism; Learning through play.

My life’s objective is this: I want to make people always feel that the world is a playground, the way I feel while traveling, that there’s always the option to stay out, to physically explore, play, socialize, collaborate, with friends, family, and strangers of all classes of society alike, maximizing physical social time, therefore maximizing memories.

I think in daily life useful interaction can be maximized, filling in non-interactive gaps — public interaction via big games, played with the people around, something anyone can stumble over in a city: in the park, on the subway, inside, and outside; To decrease academic and art barriers, to prevent the social barrier from forming, talk to people, and maintain playfulness. Playfulness begets confidence.

I want to spend time thinking about how to increase meaningful public interaction, especially different classes of society, via thought experiments, and design several solutions on paper. I want to find more ways for people to extract information from the physical world, including people. I want people to interact more physically.

Professional goals
Create non-digital public games. Create a game that results a positive influence on society. Create a specific, useful application or device. Research public interaction, and perhaps the psychological influences it has on people, especially those with schizoid-like symptoms. Start a professional new media studio.

How graduate program will help realize goals
People, time, equipment, studio-type classes, current workshops, and professors. Isn’t that how art schools work? If I run a physical public game jam, I can expect people to come. I think the studio courses will help me manage a studio.

Address anticipated opportunities and challenges
I anticipate working with companies via collaborative studio, join research labs for specific applications: education, biotechnology, etc; assist professors with their research.

I also think it would be nice to collaborate with other departments for more artsy things.

The challenge won’t be to create art or a product; I can do that. The challenge will be to consistently, positively impact society, and eat while doing it.

Future career expectations
Installation maker at the American Museum of Natural History. Playground designer. Elementary school activity maker. MIT-researcher for biotechnology media. Useful toolmaker for medicine and education.

Contrarily, I’d probably be content living in New York, doing a simple job, collaborating with artist friends, many I hope will come from graduate school.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Conversation, Games, New Media, Personal, Philosophy of Game

Super Smash Bros. Melee (Early Game Criticism)

15 June 2011

explaining Super Smash Bros. to a non-player:

SSBM is a strategy game with a physical requirement. That is, to get to a professional level of play, you do need to reach a certain physical requirement which requires practice. After that point it becomes strategy, and the smartest always win.

American sports are physical games, meaning a physical better player can beat a tactically smarter player. This is why soccer and hockey are regarded higher than American sports. In soccer or hockey, a physically normal person can have great achievements. Wayne Gretzky being the perfect example. He’s physically normal, but he know how to play the game, know when to play safe, know when to take opportunities, use knowledge to exploit the game.

Due to that physical requirement, SSBM is by no means a perfect tactical game such as chess, but it holds its own. I’d argue it is far more complex. In chess you are given strict rules of what you can/cannot do–a king can only move one space in all directions. Similarly in Smash, you have a character with a given move set. But Smash has a lot more other factors–stages, approximation of hitboxes, game anomalies, etc. I imagine if you and your opponent chose the same character, you would essentially be playing a pure tactical game, such as chess (assuming both players are nearly physically equal).

So, SSBM is more comparable to Starcraft and Street Fighter 3, which they too has a physical requirement of hand-eye coordination to reach a pro level but becomes tactical after that, many factors (maps, unit hatboxes, build order/resources). Both games are overly complex to the point that no human can play a perfect game. They are so complex that new exploits are being found 10 years after the game was made.
At the same time are the most entertaining, possibly because of how complex it is.

It’s possible that Super Street Fighter 4 (a little less so with SSBB) maybe a better competitive video game, as it has a low physical requirement, but still remains a strategic game, in which the smartest players still win.

Yet, these are not as entertaining. Hmm.

I guess any fighting game can be considered successful by my definition, as the smarter player will always win. Eh.

Hmm, I can’t verbalize what makes this previous games so entertaining above SSF4 or chess. Maybe I haven’t gotten into chess. But I think it has to do with playing tactically. No, creatively! YES. Creativity. In a strict ruleset such as SSF4, one might feel more restricted. I’m sure there are new tactics evolving in SSF4, but in the previous games, creativity is abundant, due to the large amount of factors/rules that make up the game.

This allows for more creativity, an ever-evolving game. Sure, more radical than the former games, but creativity is exciting! The game of chess is done: generations have played it, there are books that explain tactics–what to do to counter your opponent in a given situation, there maybe be an ounce of creativity that only a prodigy chess player could find, but for the most part, its over. Video games are new. There’s a new set of rules with many tactics waiting to be found out! This, I believe, is what creates so much excitement in those previous games.

Creativity. How fitting.

I think I Facebook messaged this huge thing to a friend. lol. The good old messaging days.

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