Rahil Patel

| (• ◡•)|/ \(❍ᴥ❍ʋ).

Category Archives for: Games

What makes a classic, classic?

22 October 2014 by Rahil

In answering this question, one comes closer to what one should focus on creating.

Though for each medium (or new media) there are steps in aesthetics that accumulate to what makes a modern example of that medium, the steps are often forgotten.

What makes a classic are those things that offer a perspective of life, and allows time to reflect on it.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite films are the slow, contemplative ones by Asians: Still Walking, Like Father Like Son, Yi Yi, Tokyo Story. These films capture families realistically, allowing the viewer to observe human condition.

Those aren’t just my favorites, there are more that I consider classics. My favorites happen to have nuclear families as their subject, but it isn’t limited to such. Other films I’d still consider classics: Tree of Life, Apu trilogy, Chop Shop, 400 Blows, La Haine, Vive L’Amour, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, Nobody Knows, Grave of Fireflies, Bicycle Thieves, Ikiru, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Certified Copy, A Separation. All of these films contain people. They too portray life realistically and explore the human condition.

It seems to me that’s it. A classic is an art object that realistically portrays life and deeply explores the human condition. To have good aesthetics (design, pacing, style) are icing.

I have not read classic fiction books, but I imagine the following novels of realism do similar justice: Anne Karrenina, War and Peace, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment.

Video games vary, and I have not experienced one that offers nearly as much insight into human life as the other mediums, but it’s possible. Jason Rohrer’s early games are a start. Jonathan Blow’s Braid had a good character. Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia is the greatest example I can currently think of. All are linear experiences. Still, none compare. But there are many other directions for games. When art is an interaction, it can’t be duplicated, which is kind of a requirement of a classic, that it can be re-experienced.

New media, performance art, public art, interactive art, etc. are different beasts They usually serve as steps by pushing aesthetics forward (Duchamp), from object to experience (Fluxus), from experience to interaction (Fluxus again?), and so on. Once they become interactive, they follow the same fate as interactive games: unable to become a classic. Ai Wei Wei’s work and Banksy just don’t quite fit or compare to those classic films or books. [I may be missing some classic performance arts, such as plays and dance]

I may argue for Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York photograph and text series, and Vincent Moon’s music and performance video series, as they provide insight into humans too. Both are archived on the internet, so it is possible to see it all in one viewing, as one normally does classics.

Of recent note, I found the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury within the Cannes film festival with this stated goal: “honour works of artistic quality which witnesses to the power of film to reveal the mysterious depths of human beings through what concerns them, their hurts and failings as well as their hopes.” Their goal is great, but their films tend to be more philosophical.

Also of recent note, one of Calvino’s definitions of a classic that I like: “A classic is the term given to any book which comes to represent the whole universe, a book on a par with ancient talismans.” This represents the childish ideal all art strives for.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Essays, Film Philosophy, Films, Game Philosophy, Games, Literature

A Design Strategy for Data

19 September 2014 by Rahil

This was inspired by the first week’s Creativity and Computation class’s lecture by Sven Travis.

A neat way design new media (which may be in the form of a game) is to think of the input and the output, based on the perceptions of humans.

I used this strategy in the past for games, where I’d think about all of the inputs the medium has, often an iPad, then create games using them. However, it only dawned to me during the lecture that data is not limited to mediums. Everything is data. In and out.

design strategy for data

Personal designs:

  • Track the motion of a falcon, whenever it swoops for an attack, output a “falcon punch” sound through a speaker in the public.
  • When a sentence with the word love or hate is said on a social platform, have a speaker in the public output the sentence.
  • Track rats over time, post the results in the form of a transportation transparency and paste it over a transportation map.
  • Put a camera on a bum, output the video in a public square.
  • Each time someone e-mails a government official a letter to appeal something, trigger a catapult to throw a ball of sand approximately at the official’s office window.
  • Each time a human dies from the fault of government, trigger a mechanism to splash blood on the White House.

Leave a comment | Categories: Design, Design, Games, New Media

Traditional Music Games

18 September 2014 by Rahil

Connect Taiko No Tatsujin to tablas using Makey Makey at a Gurudwara.

traditional games

Thoughts:
Foreigners will have to go to a Gurudwara, take off their shoes, perhaps pray, then play. Perhaps kids who play it will be inspired to learn to play traditional instruments.

Further design:
Perhaps can think of other traditional instrument, game, and place of worship combinations.

notes:
Drawing digitally is a waste of time. I thought it would convey designs better, but perhaps paper is better if I can find a good workflow.

Leave a comment | Categories: Design, Design, New Media

JRPGs emulate travel

03 August 2014 by Rahil

In an ancient post I had a very weak argument for the justification of art in games.

During my last week in Taiwan, I decided to travel the east coast, I was blown by the sublimity of Taiwan’s nature — karst mountains alongside a beach which erodes giant rocks in the most beautiful way — and as I went through different landscapes it triggered the memory that JRPGs evoked: travel. While traveling through these landscapes and civilizations, it occurred to me that I learned and experienced them through JRPGs. It was a weird discovery.

JRPGs are frowned upon because the mechanics are not novel. But simply being able to walk, explore, talk to NPCs, simulates travel. You go through cities, suburbs, countryside, and interact with everything as a human would. The places and people exist. Art imitates nature.

In many ways, they confirms several ideas in life, and often, in a worldly scale. The motorcycle trip harked Final Fantasy, Seiken Densetsu, and Earthbound. Those hippie settlements one travels through exist in more natural parts of Thailand and Taiwan, and the people indeed have similar hippie minds. Those giant ugly cities, those charming small towns filled with happy people, those beaches with surfers, those farms, those islands with funky fruit, it’s all there. Different cultures are portrayed so well in those games, even if they are fantastic, with animals as characters and symbols as language, the ideas are there. In Final Fantasy you can explore the whole world, seeing seeing water, forest, and deserts above; You can land the ship go to towns and cities, talk to people, shop, sleep. JRPGs are a simulation of the world. There is so much content and ideas a child can learn from it: people, places, cultures, anthropology, economics, art. Massive cities to suburbs (Earthbound, lol) to rural areas (Harvest Moon!). Cultures are vast: punk, geek, chivalry, contemporary office work, primitive tribal wars. Economics exist from simple barter to market systems in more modern games. JRPGs are a simulation of life. Best of all: it can all be achieved without the cons of travel.

I can’t think of any film or graphic novel that has as much content as much as one would in a Final Fantasy game. Books don’t provide images. Television series and comic book or manga series may, but I didn’t grow up with those mediums.

During my trip, l learned I couldn’t talk to myself forever and decided to consume some media. I hadn’t listened to music for quite some time. I used 8tracks to find some JRPG music. As I motorcycled through various environments, the music supplemented the experience: travel music, town music, nature music. There was a particular moment where I was walking along a trail that followed a cliff with a beach below, an 8tracks playlist played the music from Miyazaki films, I felt a Totoro could be near.

Leave a comment | Categories: Essays, Game Philosophy, Games

Conciseness in Art

06 July 2014 by Rahil

[Witten while quite drunk after a KTV party. Todo: Needs more work.]

Purpose: Conciseness in art is key to contemplation and creativity.

Some of my favorite art, ones that I feel deserve the time of it’s length, are concise.

Literature:
In single chapter of Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, I feel satisfied. I consumed enough to trigger my brain to begin contemplating, creating, mixing in with my own thoughts. The power of literature is not in detail, but in imagination.

If imagination is not the goal, I still feel conciseness is powerful. In Francis Bacon’s Essays, more about ethics is told in few words. Likewise in Borjes’s Ficciones, the stories are told only to display its mechanics. (Although, there is and I dislike the large amount of references)

Film:
Film is a medium of visuals, not words. Motion is key.

Wong-Kar Wai’s film’s dialogue is condensed to poetry. Visuals and poetry. The characters don’t speak with social realism, yet it maintains the beauty, because the beautiful visuals and body motion provided by Chris.

Tsai-Ming Liang’s films have little to no dialogue, yet, it retains all the power, even enhanced by the lack of language: a distraction.

Games (and interactive art):
If films can be made without language, so can the medium above it: games. Each game is a language. One interacts with the rules of a game; the grammar.

As proved simply and humbly by Passage by Rohrer, or, with the thrill provided by large scale, Shadow of the Colossus, games do away with language. Furthermore, as proved with playground games, games do not need visual. Just rules. The beauty of games lies neither in language or visual, but with rules. Johann Sebastian Joust is exemplary. Visuals and sounds are supplementary, and often, unnecessary.

New Media:
Simply finding ways to interact is often enough. [need to think more]

Public Art:
Quite different, in that it’s not distributable, but still, conciseness still persists.

Banksy figured out with stencils that it isn’t the skill of a painting, that even a stencil will do. Instead it’s the image, place, and statement. A simple stencil of a rat in the right place is enough.

In a life of constant action, efficiency [todo: link to efficiency post] is key. But that’s digressing more toward a philosophy of life as am creator rather than a critique of work.

Performance:
?

Art as Experience:
Humans of New York. Vincent Moon.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Films, Games, Literature

A Sequential List of Game Experiences that I Remember

30 May 2014 by Rahil

todo: fix indenting

Playground games
– tag, tag variants, four square, HORSE
Board games:
– Carom, Monopoly, Mouse Trap
Card games:
– Speed (aka Slam, Spit)
Sports
Early games:
– playing video games at Jacob’s house or at my house
– Toejam & Earl, Goof Troop, Earthbound, Track & Field, anything cooperative
– playing video games at Andrew’s house
– anything
– playing video games at Parth’s house
– Herc’s Adventures, anything multiplayer
Trend games:
– CrossFire, that ball with strings in the center and you had to pull wide once the ball came close
Arcade games
PC Games:
Diablo I and II, Starcraft, Settlers II, Caesar III, Team Fortress [Classic], Sim City 2000
Nintendo 64 multiplayer games
– Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Mario Party
JRPGs
– Final Fantasy VII and IX, Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger
Emulator games:
– Harvest Moon, older JRPGs (Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy III)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Mario 64
Pokemon Red and Blue
Halo
World of Warcraft
Team Fortress 2
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Shadow of the Colossus (and Ico)
Braid
– lectures by Jonathan Blow, Jenova Chen, Chris Crawford, EGP, and everything else
advent of indie games
– Jason Rohrer, Anna Antropy, etc.
IGF games
playground games revisited
New York:
– lectures by indie artists and professors
– Babycastles
– every game exhibition
– that time where Wu-Tang member had a concert at 285 kent with Pole Riders and MEGA-GIRP in the lobby
– Atari game exhibition with lecture by Ian Bogost and that one dude who spilled his heart into making games for Atari
– Space Cruiser
– that time where Keita Takahashi designed a bunch of games and they made it forreal (was not there, only read article)
– many interactive art exhibitions
And then I started traveling and stopped consuming media, especially games.

Leave a comment | Categories: Game Philosophy, Games

Game Philosophy

30 May 2014 by Rahil

note: I’m just starting this! Hold on.

I’ve been admitted to Parson’s The New School for Design’s Design and Technology program.

And I feel it is important to think about the following:

1. What do you want to do at Parson’s? (see my statement of interests and intentions I sent to Parson’s, NYU game design, and NYU ITP)
– write ideas, clearly, with purpose, and prioritize them to find the most meaningful one
– propose (idea or ideas?) to audience at Parson’s once I get there

2. Summarize what experiences imparted some philosophy in games
list games and experiences
– create own manifesto
– see philosophy’s of great game designers
– see old notes and thoughts I wrote

Life related questions:
3. Is attending Parson’s necessary? Is being in New York necessary? Can I do this on my own outside of a city? Should the money go into business instead? Can $18,000 buy a tea shop in Taiwan? Can I live without much social life?

Leave a comment | Categories: Game Philosophy, Games

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