Monday, April 8, 2013

The Game of Rat and Dragon ¹

What is the definitional essence of a 'game'? If you believe Evangeline van Holsterin's vile nephew Throgmorton, a game is "any occupation requiring expensive apparatus that you buy from a traveling kiosk or Magic Toyshop, which is inevitably nowhere to be found when the equipment breaks upon first use and you take it back for a refund". I cannot personally recommend any game that involves the operation of a mechanical rapey swan.

Under the tutelage of his stern and minatory great-aunt, Throgmorton demonstrates the merchandise. Sadly, the townspeople in the square are engaged in their traditional boisterous pastimes and no-one seems disposed to join him for a round of Kick-the-Book. All the components of his operation can be folded up for quick removal overnight, including the podium on which the elder van Holsterin is seated while she unravels a fez -- it is supposed to represent an Early Stage of Dementia.

The whole question arose at last night's "Evolution of holoparasitism and hemiparasitism among the Orobanchaceae and table-top billiards with jaffas" evening at the Old Entomologist. In particular, can computer games be an art-form? And the opinion was bruited about that games by necessity involve an element of victory or loss, which places them outside the province of Art.

Old Jem opined that this was not so, for he had wiled away much of his youth middle age at the space-invader console without ever once winning.

Greenish Hugh pointed out that this definition would exclude bull-fighting as an art-form, to the distress of our Hispanic colleagues. Also the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, whose performances have much in common with the corrida de toros -- a primal clash of wills and endurance... usually the conductor triumphs over the musicians, but sometimes the orchestra are stronger and the concert ends in scenes of bloodshed and maenadic excess. These episodes of sparagmos make it hard to recruit guest conductors but they are what bring us back to each next concert. But I digress.

It was inevitable that Another Kiwi and I would be drawn into the conversation, for it arose in response to the death of noted movie reviewer Roger Ebert, and we are both spoken of as kinephiles.²

I was not convinced that Computer Games could ever be a work of art. AK began to vouchsafe some relevant Wittgenstein aphorisms vis-à-vis necessary features and language games -- which no-one ever wins -- but he was rudely invited to "put a salted pineapple in it" by coarse people who had over-imbibed of the fALEnheit-451.³
Over-imbibing of the fALEnheit-451
"What does it mean, to bruit something about?" I wondered.

"It's a fancy way of saying that you sneezed it out your nose," said tigris.

To settle the question conclusively, the Riddled crew are EVEN NOW working on a computer game which -- to place its status as Work of Art beyond question -- will eschew the concept of 'winning' completely; not to mention concepts like 'finishing' and 'enjoying'.

Note that there is a game within the game. AK castles and two sinister figures loom in front of the botanist character A! I surreptitiously relocate a knight and dogs attack the horseman C! Evangeline E steals lemons! Actions taken in the inner game bring parallel events in the outer shell in the manner of the gwyddbwyll game between Arthur and Ywain in the Dream of Rhonabwy. This always happens; it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something.

Other details of Taxonomy! must remain for now in the Vouch-Safe leaving us little we can freely divulge. Suffice to say that botanic groupings must be constructed on the basis of nuclear ribosomal ITS-region affiliations; the Angiosperm Working Group -- conspiring behind the scenes to orchestrate the downfall of time-honoured families -- will provide dramatic tension.

More can be said once we secure the $75-million state-backed loan to complete and market the software.
¹ Image of the Lady May from here.

² The kin in question being our mothers.

³ The grain is roasted over burning libraries.


M. Bouffant said...

Good thing you footnoted that, I'd've thought you meant admirers of cattle.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I cannot personally recommend any game that involves the operation of a mechanical rapey swan.

What if said swan were the head of a pantheon? AFAF

In particular, can computer games be an art-form? And the opinion was bruited about that games by necessity involve an element of victory or loss, which places them outside the province of Art.

I wonder what Ebert thought of Game of Thrones.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

A.C.D.G., the hanging metal band.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


For A.K.

anne said...

a quic' to smut, ..of a q of may , of married in for awhile , and of when shhh' was in a room in and of 'er only traveling a far ..away , able , in eng. and north of .. staying in a walk up up up , bathing in a tub on a roof top ..of ..a walk walk up ,near earls court , and of being in a room , full of gentle nice young men and bunks , one being a then not well known jeff buckley .. .

anne said...

to come.. of leonard cohen , and of dylan and a small wicker stool cabaret yester day

Substance McGravitas said...

And the opinion was bruited about that games by necessity involve an element of victory or loss, which places them outside the province of Art.

Did Baz Lurid get a bunch of money from Moulin Rouge? Victory!

anne said...

derail is back from making tiny pretties quietly , i have come in here several times over the last few months ,and i always get lost in a remembering with the images and just a few of the more than a few words and .. , of the.. may.. this time , so derail, i really was in a room with a bunch of guys in earls court with a young jeff buckley and his guitar being one of , while the man that i would later marry for a while ,also in .. may , was down stairs somewhere playing a game of rolling some dice of leg landing snoots , i had caught him/jeff looking at me the night before in a tub that was for some reason up on the roof( so i always found it kind of funny when he later did the leonard cohen song , i know that the meaning of.. was different of the song ,.. but kind of funny ) ..of odd plumbing of this bottom of the barrel place to stay while traveling , i was sitting in the tub , my not yet my husband not yet up there , and then the following night while my not yet my husband was down stairs .. jeff and i.. in on our bunks again in the dark .. just staring at each other the blue ..with a speak to me only with your eyes , said just a small song

anne said...

this makes me think of another compare to my saying some where near here , of the difference between your friend z and myself ,of how approaching music , of my never going to larger gatherings , or clubs , only out of doors smaller spontaneous gatherings , and when i have been out walking meeting up with in the most intense odd ways , like with mick j. about eight years ago .. .

Smut Clyde said...

the difference between your friend z and myself

ZRM is clearly VERY SERIOUS about concerts. I will enjoy the Buzzcocks concert next week and then tell him about it at great length.

anne said...

i'm in tears now because i put on lilac wine here on line and i'm remembering the lighting of on the roof ,

anne said...

i mean that the lighting was of a lilac in blue ,

anne said...

oh , i see , you're a talker .. of why the writing here ,as well.. like what i couldn't keep up with of z as well , i'm quiet and moving mostly like the way i write

Smut Clyde said...

Well, when I say "tell", I mean "leave comments on ZRM's blog in an attempt to wind him up".

Another Kiwi said...

Well golly gee, thanks Thudna. Don't mind me , I'll just be weeping for the loss of civilisation inna corner.

Smut Clyde said...

I wonder what Ebert thought of Game of Thrones.

We don't have to worry about "winning" when there is no prospect of the series ever coming to an end.