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A Seat at the Table: Serious Games

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21 Mar 2019 20:27 #294213 by Shellhead

GorillaGrody wrote: In as much as Bay is a former art-school student who has a weird, cerebral approach to surface-level cinematic technique and an obsession with not totally convincing political platforms, I've often called Michael Bay the Jean-Luc Godard that America deserves.


For your enjoyment:

io9.gizmodo.com/michael-bay-finally-made-an-art-movie-5301898
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24 Mar 2019 15:59 #294376 by Scott Rogers
What I learned from all of this: I'm definitely a "movie guy".

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24 Mar 2019 21:48 #294384 by DarthJoJo
To bring this back around to a response to real points you raised in this piece, I find your comparison between best of film and best of game lists interesting in light of a podcast I recently listened to. The hosts have spent the last two weeks at GAMA talking to the owners of board game stores. One partner in Uncle's Games (in existence since 1978 and with four locations across Washington state) suggested that the arrival of Wil Wheaton's TableTop YouTube series was a watershed moment in the industry. Before TableTop he said board game publishers treated their games like investments with print runs and expansions for the next five years.

After TableTop a whole new population opened up that was experiencing and seeking out modern board games for the first time. With no direct reference point, he said they treated them like movies and music, that is to say "disposable entertainment." They didn't come into his stores asking for the best games. They came in asking for the latest and hottest games. He said he created "New Release" displays in his stores for the first time after TableTop debuted. (At least a little ironic as TableTop seemed to generally split its episodes between the new (shooting-adjusted) hotness and games solidly in the modern canon or of particular interest to Wheaton.)

Of course, both media are what you put into them. You can go to the theater a few times a year to catch the event films and award winners just to be a part of the zeitgeist and talk about them with your friends. You can play Acquire every night for a year and continually discover nuances to its strategy or just play your latest $200 Kickstarter pledge twice before the next one arrives. In any case, I think this gives some context from an industry professional into what we're seeing these days.
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25 Mar 2019 08:16 - 25 Mar 2019 08:19 #294395 by JonathanVolk
Interesting. I have friends who reject the consume-and-move-on ethos, and just want to be better at chess. I admire them. I don’t want to be better at chess. And I do want to keep up with the latest novels, movies, etc—though so much of the latest is disposable. That can’t be a new thing. Even if I hated it, I used to stick with a book to the lousy end; but now that I read primarily on my iPad, the “weight” of my bad decisions have no real weight. Giving up doesn’t require me to schlep boxes to the crank used bookseller who sighs at how much I love Thomas Bernhardt. I’ve found that I give up more, and that I have nothing to show for my giving up. Maybe this phantom footprint is better.

Anyway, it seems like so many gamers construct their wobbly identities out of equally wobbly shelves stuffed with games (and I say this as someone with a seriously wobbly identity) (and I also long to one day own bookcases that don’t wobble). I feel as if we’ve already talked about this phenomenon here, where video “reviewers” appear with enormous game libraries in the wooly, out-of-focus background. It’s like that erudite dude from the Mouseterpiece Theater, assuring us we’re about to get seriously moused.

But unlike books, if the gamer decides his life has become oppressively stuffy, and wants to get rid of a game without throwing it to the curb, he has to go to his local game store, if he even has one, and wait as they assess and count up his bad decisions. Imagine having to watch that same crank used bookseller count every page of the Dan Brown novel you swear was a gift from your uncle. We’d probably just decide to be buried with all our shit, like some minor King Tut.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2019 08:19 by JonathanVolk.
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11 Jul 2019 01:20 - 11 Jul 2019 01:21 #299540 by AmstradHero
You're making a few disconnected arguments here and it seems like you're trying to wash it together with a contrarian "I hate Gloomhaven" clickbaity title. I guess you got me to sign up, so I suppose it worked.

1) Is Gloomhaven the "best" boardgame of all time?
For a start, this is a ridiculous premise. There is no one "best film" of all time. Different people have different preferences, and to use your film critic analogy, not all film critics agree on what is the "best" film, and most "average" film goers probably wouldn't agree with what critics think is the "best". In essence, you're arguing a point of ridiculousness. Different games suit different people and different scenarios. You're at home with your partner? Cool, you can play something like Santorini. You're out with a bunch of friends and want something fun and light? Great, codenames is the ticket. You want a co-operative fantasy campaign boardgame? Gloomhaven is an excellent choice. There isn't a single best boardgame of all time.

2) A rant about the validity of criticism by people who haven't experienced a form of entertainment.
You simultaneously seem to complain about other people doing this, but then you're doing it yourself here with criticism of Gloomhaven when you haven't played it. Board game criticism isn't the same as film criticism because it what is "fun" is a highly subjective concept. It's like video game reviewing, in that there are some elements that can be judged objectively (e.g. component quality), but when it comes down to mechanics, individual preferences are going to factor in so strongly that you can't simply take someone's word for whether something is or isn't fun, you have to make a decision while judging their review through the filtered lens of their bias. It's like knowing you disagree with certain film reviewers and so when they rave about a particular film and certain aspects, you know "okay, they love that film, but it's not for me".

3) Complexity doesn't equal fun.
Yes, BGG has a complexity bias. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could determine that. But you use this argument to present an alternative "best games" list, which as we've previously established, is ridiculous. Personally, I don't like some of the insanely complex games that are rated so highly on BGG, but conversely, I also find Pandemic (even the legacy variant) tedious and dull. So no, complexity doesn't necessarily equal fun, but it doesn't necessarily discount it either.

I think the craziest point is that late in the piece you seem to acknowledge that different people love different games (and different games are suited to different scenarios), yet you're still then railing against complexity like some authoritarian who is trying to argue that games can't be fun if they are complex.

Despite all your complaints, Gloomhaven is a good game. It simply wouldn't be so popular with so many people if it wasn't. Is it *your* kind of game? Without playing it you seem to have decided that it isn't. From reading/watching information on how it plays, you might certainly be able to make a reasoned decision on that, but to then seemingly make the jump to imply that it's not a "good" game, again, is ridiculous.
Last edit: 11 Jul 2019 01:21 by AmstradHero.
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11 Jul 2019 09:34 #299546 by ubarose
Welcome AmstradHero.

I'm glad you took the time to log on and comment, as I really enjoyed reading what you had to say. I think I agree with you.

It's interesting that you posted today, as the site has an article about Thurn and Taxis, which was the big hotness in 2006, but is mostly forgotten today.

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