I don’t really read about videogames all that much anymore. I’m just not that interested. But I’m heading up CD’s Blogs of the Round Table… that’s a quandry. Which reminds me, January is over and it’s time to move on to February. I don’t have a topic ready yet.
But what have I been reading? Well, I’ve started reading in pomodoro chunks, and it’s working pretty well. I finally finished the Preface to Jane Bennett’s vibrant matter which looks stunning, and I can’t believe I didn’t finish it earlier. Right up my alley and all that. Second I got out Bernard Stiegler’s “Looking After Youth and The Generations” which blew me away in the first page but which started to get bogged down in Freud and psychoanalysis which is just not really my bag. Perhaps it’s because I don’t understand it/was never taught it, or perhaps my bullshit detector is just right when it tells me much of what passes for psychoanalytic discussion is a bit of a giant wank with little relation to reality. But that’s okay. Wanking never hurt anyone, just don’t expect me to watch and enjoy it.
Apparently Chapter 7 of Steigler’s work is the really good bit, called “What is philosophy?” it (acording to Alex Galloway’s review of the book) plugs into this whole French conversation between Deleuze/Stiegler and someone who Deleuze was kind of riffing off when he wrote his own book “What is philosophy?”. Anyway I really like Stiegler’s giving-a-fuck-about-youth business, and the first three or four pages of the book which talk about responsibility and how youths are made responsible for their actions (esp. criminal actions) we actually remove responsibility from adults and society responsible for making the youths into responsible adults. In essence, we say two things: to kids “Be responsible!” and to adults “You don’t have to be responsible!” which is no doubt the source of some serious fucking conflict.
I’m looking forward to reading more of Bennett and Stiegler soon, but this fucking book chapter needs writing (that’s what I was reading these two for. I think it’s probably a bit late to include any more than a cursory mention of either of them though. Stupid chapter is due in two and a half weeks, and I haven’t quite finished my first expanded draft).
So I’ve played a pretty good 1/1/1 build vs a Terran player – they seem pretty lacklustre. I managed to block their natural expansion and force a planetary just by putting down a supply depot over the spot it wanted to be build, so I reach a point in the game where I think I’m okay. I think I’ve got him on the ropes and he’s just flying his buildings away from me to prolong the game.
Heck, he even sends his last SCVs to suicide against my base, so the illusion is complete.
But then he doesn’t lose, so I go hunting for a secret expand. I find it, think it’ll be easy… then all of a sudden… this.
The dude had been hoarding battlecruisers, and was now pummeling me with 13 of them. Half that was probably enough to wipe me out at that point, my air defense was SO low, and there was no chance I was going to build enough Thors. The game was already 30 minutes in, so I threw up a GG and a WP and quit. But have a look at the minimap. Dude had basically a whole extra secret base-trio that I knew nothing about. Crazy. I felt really, really stupid.
Really good talk (except that it’s only the first 17 minutes, then it goes to a black screen for some reason). I quite liked how he noted that he could either continue on forver criticising games and bemoaning the kinds of games that get made (“Oh man, another shooter/platformer/RPG/etc.”) or he could actually go out and make some games. Well I’m not really all that interested in learning to make games, and I imagine a lot of other critics are too, so I wonder what this does to the game critic/blogging endurance curve? Do we get stuck complaining about the same things over and over again? I could certainly see a case being made for that. And certainly it’s probably a lot safer bet to say that making the kind of game you want to play is going to have a far greater chance of realising a change in that situation than if you were only a critic – even a highly influential critic (which most of us are not).
Well, at any rate I’m glad I’m taking a break from that game – while I’m learning and playing and practising Starcraft 2 all I’m doing is liking and enjoying. There’s no real element of “oh gosh I wish I could improve this aspect” or “I wish I could change that” about the game. I suppose I probably could find those things in the game – medics and ship pilots are the only female units in the game, it’s true – but none of that really helps me in my goal to improve my play. What does that mean for the challenging of the status quo? I don’t really know, you tell me.