Tuesday, April 29, 2008

8 bit

My Xbox 360 returned to me last week and seems to be working again just fine. I resumed my futile attempts at higher ranks at Call of Duty 4 and revived my addiction to Galaga. However, with the release of Grand Theft Auto 4 I think that all other games will be cast asunder for a few weeks. From what I've read, this is the best Rockstar has given us, and that is saying something.

'In der Beschrankung zeigt sich erst der Meister'... limitation reveals the real mastery. Or so www.8bitpeoples.com says, by quoting Goethe, about the music of Stu. The site is incredible. I can't get enough of the music found there. It's what we have the internet for. The music is in part the realization of some of the early 20th century German Bauhaus (got a Klee hanging at my desk) that art should meet the needs of society and that no distinction should be made between fine arts and practical crafts. While we are going German it is worth mentioning that this music is of the Karlheinz Stockhausen school. Some of the tracks I found are so closely related to the thought process behind Stockhausen's it's erie. I think he'd be proud of my video.

Most of this madness was inspired by the documentary "King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters". Watch it. Besides being good; You'll find an extra that features art from the "I am 8 Bit" gallery that is part of the 80's revival junk everywhere. Remember wondering how the 80's would impact our culture now like the 70's did in the 90's? Well. Look around I guess. I figure it is from us folks from that time are getting to be in charge and the rest of the world is just going to have to deal with it for a while.

Lots of German here today. Ii has to do with where I live I'm guessing. Ohio is filled with peoples of German decent. Off the top of my head, here are some last names of people I know here: Zerhusen, Keck, Bernthold, Eicher... Anyway, I hungry. Got me some braunschweiger chillin' and Weissburgunder to wash it down.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Collecting to Play

Another weekend here and this tired, stressed out manufacturing supervisor kicks up his feet once again to calm himself by writing about his video game addiction. Last weekend was a big weekend for collecting. I was able to find the original NES and N64 at a thrift store. Continuing with the Nintendo theme... I purchased a Nintendo GameCube for 30 bucks. Now, being that I'm not much of a Nintendo person, I've got a lot of work to do to catch up. But my initial thoughts are that the GameCube is a great system for collecting and playing games. My guest game reviewer (Amy) has been enjoying Paper Mario a lot. The console itself is impressive looking. In the future I'm planning to get into Zelda: Ocarina of Time and perhaps some other choice Zelda games as Nintendo ported a bunch of them to the system.

On the other side of things (games), I expanded my Genesis library a bit. Picked up Sonic, Sonic 2, Taz: Escape to Mars, Taz-Mania, Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion, Quackshot, and EA's first Hockey game simply called NHL Hockey. Won those on ebay for a bid of $6.50.

There is something undeniably sastisfying about gathering games right now because it is so wide open to me right now. Meaning, I'm not nearly close to having to narrow down my searching. I'm able to pick up loads of stuff for next to nothing is get quite a bit out of it. However, as with anything, there is a frustrating side as well. Guardian Heroes for the Saturn being one. I loved that game when I had my Saturn back in the day, now it is being sold for over 100 dollars... where is mine now? I don't know... lost to time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shadow of the Colossus

"Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control."

[T]he nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship [however elegant or sophisticated] to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic." - Roger Ebert

I find it interesting that the first place I go to seek approval for video games as a viable art form is Roger Ebert. It is also worth noting that I agree with what he has seemingly, thoughtfully commented. Video games are so many things to so many people, it is impossible to pin down exactly what it is the industry wants as a whole. But the same can be said for any art form or medium. "What is art?" Is is more of a modern question in my opinion. The idea that 'something' can be torn apart and be commented on as to if it is 'anything' results in an unending conversation with oneself or others. In fact just asking the question could be considered 'art'. To me the process of creation is art. Simply trying to understand is the result of creation and with out creation you can't have the conversation I am having now.

I'll never forget sitting in a full classroom without any teacher present for over a half hour. Some students left, others just sat there, when finally someone yelled 'why don't i kill myself right now'.

Myself and the remaining students sat stunned for what seemed like minutes. Then the question was repeated 'tell me why i shouldn't shoot myself in the head right now'. It was the teacher. A cheap trick, I thought at the time, but now it has been near on 15 years and I still refer to it when thinking about what art is and the all encompassing power of it.

It's what surrounds us that keeps us going. Our personal ideas we consciously or unconsciously formulate. If we wish to take it farther then that is our own decision. Creation is the foundation for existence. Existence is the adoration of emotion evoked by creation. One can see how this belief can be carried over to the spiritual as well.

Among the many things that energize me in this world are video games. To be honest I do see it as a craft or trade. But does that make it any less 'art' then a singular work in any other widely considered art form. The case in point here may not be Sonic the Hedgehog or Pac-Man (although arguments could be made), but in a game like Shadow of the Colossus.

I don't feel the need to go into the specifics of this game, nor do I feel the need to explain how it relates to the reason I'm posting thoughts on art. If you haven't played a game in a while or need something to invoke enough inspiration to write as I have here then you should find this work of art and play it. You'll need a Playstation 2... that's 100 bucks. Then the game... 20 bucks. 120 dollars. Trust me, it's worth it.

Find yourself a nice warm spring evening, where it is just you, this game, and a good bottle of wine and press the magic button.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Return of the Ring

I goes without saying. I was wrong, but I felt good to have felt right. Nothing can save your Xbox 360. Never fear, however. Microsoft is on the job! Got my coffin today and I'm sending her back. Back to... to... Mesquite, Texas?

Just a side note: I know five people at work that have a 360. Three of those people have gotten a general hardware failure. Perhaps its just a statistical anomaly.