Tag Archives: Guardian

The Art Game

"Ico" - yep, no art here...

“Ico” – yep, no art here…

Oh, the fuss which ensued when arty types MoMA announced their intent to display new-fangled vidya ga3mz as art.

Critics quailed and hand-wrung sneerily over The Meaning Of It All whilst displaying a delightful ignorance of the medium they were presuming to denounce (what else is new?), whilst gamers rushed in defence to the right of interactive entertainment to be considered on the same terms as fine art, cinema or dance.

Today, in a post on The Guardian’s games blog, Keith Stuart does a damn good job of shutting down critics and framing the debate in terms that even no-nothing, buttoned-up art critics might be able to understand.

My position continues to be thus – art shouldn’t be something which should be the exclusive province of a handful of university-educated, cosseted egotists whose every noxious emission installation is greeted with braying wonder and exaggerated importance by art critics, whose livelihood depends on perpetuating the notion of artist-as-rock star.

Look, Ma - high art!

Look, Ma – high art!

Could it be this odd emphasis on the collective assembling an end product which so vexes art critics and defies their limited abilities to assess games properly?  The likes of Shigeru MiyamotoCliff Bleszinski or David Cage aside, there are comparatively few ‘auteurist’ games designers who give critics a singular presence to hang their analysis upon.  You’re not considering the work of a Damian Hirst or Tracey Emin in isolation and perpetuating what, to me, seems like an increasingly outdated view of the solitary artist labouring over work in a studio – you’re thinking about Media Molecule, Ubisoft Montreal or Team Meat delivering an interactive experience.  How do you sift, quantify and consider the work of hundreds of individuals in a meaningful way in order to accurately assess the quality of a game?

Honestly, I don’t care if games are art.  It’s a meaningless descriptor to employ and one which seems to be employed to keep arts bloggers in page views – we’re talking trolling, here, in its purest form.

I know that when I explore the island in the new “Tomb Raider”, I’m getting an experience which I can’t get from a novel or a film and one which is entirely new and beyond the ability of the critical establishment to describe.  They’re not up to the job, frankly, and we shouldn’t be giving such irrelevancies the oxygen of consideration.

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“Who” 50th Anniversary Special – 3D timey-wimey frenzy!

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“A 50″ LED TV costs HOW much?!”

Hmm…shiny.

The Doctor is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary this very year and the isn’t being shy and retiring about giving the Galloping Gallifreyan his due.

"It also plays 'Words With Friends'..."

“It also plays ‘Words With Friends’…”

Cue an monster-stuffed, action-packed anniversary special blow-out of an episode which is now to be broadcast – to those with suitable televisions from the space year 3000 – in 3D.  So, yay?

Word reaches us via The Guardian – as yet unconfirmed officially by those cards-close-to-the-chest BBC folks – that this special will also be shown in cinemas, though there’s no word yet as to the extent of the release, or whether this is a 2D-to-3D conversion or your actual, native 3D experience.  The prospect of cinematic “Who” goodness is quite enticing, though, isn’t it?

Your obligatory, contractually-stipulated Jenna-Louise pic.

Your obligatory, contractually stipulated Jenna-Louise pic.

Matt Smith‘s be-quiffed visage looming large and in three dimensions?  Souffle Girl winking at you from the stalls?  Classic “Who” Monsters running amok?

I have a love-hate relationship with 3D – on one end, the Cameron/Paul W.S. Anderson/”How To Train Your Dragon” end of the scale, on the other, goofy conversions which bring nothing to the party.  But – this?  This is something that I want to be good, and that I would love to see on the biggest screen possible.  Make it happen, cash-strapped, politically on the ropes, brilliant BBC!

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Putin’s New Noise

Pussy Riot – Russian Art Punk Superheroines.

Clearly, I’ve not kept abreast of world news – if I had, the treatment of Russian art-punk collective Pussy Riot by Darth Putin would have moved me to write this post previously.  Your usually scheduled daily helping of power metal, Christopher Nolan worship and complaints about video game storytelling will be along anon.

Anyone reading the Guardian‘s story on the issue – feminist art punk band play impromptu performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour and things go south rapidly – with a long enough memory may recall the Riot Grrl movement of the early nineties, where similarly politicised indie kids used all kinds of situationist techniques to underscore their musical rage but didn’t face the prospect of seven years in jail, as far as I recall.

How things change.  Or don’t.

I don’t suppose I should feel any surprise that Vladimir Putin‘s zero tolerance response to criticism of his dictatorship presidency is to round-up the geeky art students responsible and sling them in the clink, but the brazenness of his actions is sufficient to raise an eyebrow in the West, where our freedom to yell slogans and strum two chords is mostly protected and unlikely to get us into any serious trouble with the law.

Seriously? A trial with a potential jail sentence of seven years for playing a few songs in a church?  It’s fair to say that those of us who have reasonable freedom of speech, assembly and dissent in our countries don’t realise just how fortunate we are when we see people protesting on TV and being arrested (or worse) as a matter of course.

I’m going to try to follow this case for future reference – now that the celebrated Twitter Trial in the UK has been sensibly settled in favour of the daft bugger whose off-the-cuff tweet mobilised South Yorkshire police and the head of the DPP against him, it behoves us all to keep an eye on those in power who would seek to use the full weight of the law against any and all criticism of their decisions.

Never trust a politician, kids.

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“Prometheus” reviews erupting from critic’s chests. Or something like that.

Yep, that looks a bit familiar…

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw has had his say.  And various French critics – via the shimmering space voodoo of Google Translate – have spoken forth, too.

The initial word on Ridley Scott‘s quasi-return to the “Alien” universe, “Prometheus”,  seems to be distinctly divergent, varying between mixed acceptance, exultant delight and grumpy disillusion.   Which is as it should be, surely?  I find myself never quite trusting films which arrive with uniform critical assent – no film can possibly appeal to all people, so why should we expect to see reviews which follow the same tone and cite identical positive factors and then expect those views to offer us an accurate picture of what we’re going to see?

Can a sci-fi hater treat this film fairly?  Should we listen to the views of paid-up members of the Ridley Scott fan club (I think I’m still entertainments secretary of that happy group)?  Or should we just be happy with the fact that Scott’s back in the SF zone and resolutely doing his own thing?

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Hypocrisy? In the IMF? Surely some mistake…

 

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Christine Lagarde of the IMF – redefining irony for a new generation…

Christine Lagarde, scourge of tax evaders, pays no tax.

Oh, Ms Lagarde, thank you for making this blogging lark so much easier.  It’s always such a delight to get unsolicited advice from spectacularly self-righteous career diplomats making over $500K a year, paying no taxes on it and telling us how we should best weather the current financial storms affecting the planet.

Such absurd pay is all part and parcel of the ‘attracting the best talent from the private sector‘ model which all global governments now have to follow so slavishly (a notion so asinine that it can only have been the work of private sector consultants eager to score ongoing government contracts and talking a blue streak at some hapless mid-level bureaucrat in order to do so).  Because, adopting everything that the private sector does is SUCH a good idea, right?

Do you ever get the feeling that modern life is but the stuff of a spectacularly absurd Onion front page headline, only you can’t quite bring yourself to laugh at it?

 

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Everyone’s Favourite Woolly liberals – Slayer!

Of all the places on the internet that I expected to see Slayer turning up on today, the Guardian’s website wasn’t one of them.

Never knowingly confused with Reckless Love – Los Angeles, California’s finest architects of aural hate, Slayer.

They have – shall we say – opposite views on things.  Kerry King doesn’t strike me as the world’s most liberal and progressive fellow and The Guardian isn’t where I would go to find out Metal news (snarky bobbins from people with several-barrelled names and nice jumpers, yes – metal, no).

That said, you can grab an MP3 mixtape from the Grauniad’s website to promote the Slayer-headlined “I’ll Be Your Mirror” festival and if you’ve never heard Raining Blood before, go nuts.  There’s also the mind-meltingly heavy likes of Wolves in the Throne Room, Melvins, Sleep and Mogwai to enjoy amidst a healthy selection of what can only be described as yawn-inducing indie cruft.  Still, it’s free…

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Me and Peter B.

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I have a love-hate relationship with “Guardian” film critic Peter Bradshaw.  Whilst I respect his opinion on film, I rarely – if ever – find myself agreeing with him.  This is partly because he seems to have a critical blind-spot on the SF/fantasy/horror genre and dramatically gifts anything nominally obscure, in a foreign language or self-consciously arty with more praise than it deserves.  I guess you could say this about any film critic – they should be calling ’em as they see them – but with Peter Bradshaw, I find myself driven to comically absurd flights of apoplexy more often than I would like.

If you had to invent a parody of the kind of film writer who should be working for a newspaper like The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw would be that guy.  Now, if it were Kim Newman talking smack about genre flicks, you know that I’m going to be listening to him…

Hopefully, then, you’ll understand why I’m slightly nonplussed about his just-published review of “The Avengers”. Am I being trolled or did he really like it?  Because I seem to remember him giving a similarly effusive review to the first Fantastic Four movie, which he later recanted, suggesting that his ebullient, pre-holiday mood had significantly sweetened his mood before taking in a superhero movie that even its staunchest defender would admit had some issues (Doctor Doom, Jessica Alba‘s baffling continued employment, a tone best described as sugary and goofy).

In any case, I’ll be able to stop posting these seemingly endless stories about “The Avengers” as Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and yours truly will be seeing the 11:30am screening at our local cineplex on Friday morning.  Yes, I have taken the day off to see this flick (something that I’m not even doing for The Dark Knight Rises) and you already know that I’m a sad excuse for a nerd, so it shouldn’t come as any real surprise.

Some things are – I hope very much – quite worth going the extra mile for.

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