Posted by: Emilie | FEB-21-2021
1. Spatial movement
3. Broken Geometry
7. The correct cursor sound
2+5. Surprise | 2+6. Cheat codes | 2+8+5. Gashapon | 6+5. Clumsiness
1. Orchestral music
3. Quest Markers
4. Skill Tree
5. Steam/EGS/App Store
8. 99% CPU
9. Lack of visual interest
10. The incorrect cursor sound
By which I mean, like, these are the things that often feel bad to me, feel excessive, feel contrived, make me feel like I don't want to do it any more. The things where I close out, or if I'm still playing, I check out. It almost feels easier to wrestle with what grates on me aesthetically in other mediums, and then I can articulate exactly what's bad about it in the language of the form. I watch "Netflix Originals," masochistically finish Sally Rooney novels, and look at all sorts of visual art I find stupid or dull, and I have tons to say; the experience is ultimately valuable. But sticking with a videogame that doesn't seem to offer me anything seems overly demanding, and for what? I always feel like aesthetic vocabulary around videogames reduces to the boring discussions of design and mechanics that are precisely what put me off a lot of games, what makes them competent but uninspiring, which is probably my least favorite kind of art.
And this design orientation of how we discuss game aesthetics is soo annoying, too, because it seems like these discussions get mired in a back-and-forth between inflexible, shallow "rules" or buzzwords that don't meet the particular experience of a videogame, or, god, even the technology or context of reception for videogames in the first place. How this manifests in practice are tonally condescending didactic pieces that speak to a hypothetical reader who is assumed to be overly impressionable, that they may be under the mistaken belief that one thing is good when the other thing is what is really good. This sort of implies that the reader's actual experience with or interest in videogames is irrelevant. So what I mean here, to close-read my own joke, is that ridiculously broad, bullshit, authoritative design statements are as close as we get to discussing videogames aesthetically a majority of the time. These statements are not only demonstrably driven by industry trends, not by any actual artistic or conceptual commitments, and therefore, against themselves, always shifting and arbitrary; they also completely fail to address what I find aesthetically interesting about videogames. So yeah, if I wanted to play their game, this is what I'd say, to roars of disgust, even if I don't fully believe it. I also spend a lot of my time playing arguably "information-heavy" games, time that ranges from genuine to slightly dysfunctional enjoyment.
1. Sim Copter
2. LSD Dream Emulator
3. Yume Nikki
4. The 25th Ward
5. Catacombs of Solaris
6. Sluggish Morss
7. Deity Driving
9. Wario Ware: Twisted!
10. hand-editing HTML
There's an expectation here that I'll put forth some objective, explained, hierarchical listing which all the previous details can be systematically applied to... They become, self-evidently, "the most!" But at this point I don't really care about that, nor, do I think, even in a hypothetical scenario where I had experienced every "videogame" such a list would even be "real" "total" "meaningful" in the sense of its title. Instead, these are simply the games that provoke the strongest sense of aesthetic appreciation in me, that inspire me, stick with me, in essence prevent me from definitively "checking out" of videogames, to still believe they have some potential, even if it sometimes seems completely counter to the "potential" associated with the form. I guess my compulsion to write about videogames is to find and refine the language to talk about this in the first place.
I like how a list can alter your relationship to
something. When you have the guide for the RPG that lists
all the enemies and places and items you play it differently
than when you're going in blind. This is kind of obvious.
Anyways, this list is a game for appreciating the linked video
tell me if it's good.
1. Wild-haired Saxophonist
2. Kim Gordon
3. Sunglasses Indoors Guitarist
4. Sunglasses Indoors Guitarist 2
5. Thurston Moore
6. Sunglasses Indoors Keytarist
7. Guy with a Flute and Trench Coat, also Wearing Sunglasses Indoors
8. Woman in Dungarees with a Single Maraca
9. Guy with a Tambourine
10. Just the drummer
11. The bassist, who has been in the background the entire time, actually
Created for List Jam 2021