Rahil Patel

Category Archives for: Games

Media and Action

15 April 2016 by Rahil

From a thought today:

“…The second essay is about whether ‘personal essays’ ever cause action: has anyone acted upon an Essai by Montaigne[?], as people acted when Blow made Braid, or when Vertov made Man with a Movie Camera? Did the games and films made in response [to them] merely create more communication, as opposed to action? No [and Yes?]. It’s the accessibility of the medium that increases the chance of acting in response. ‘I read the news today’ is a different experience from watching Night and Fog, and that itself different from what I imagine and hope the experience of playing This War of Mine. The closer the experience of a medium is to real experience, the greater the chance of acting in response.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Art, Communication, Critical Theory, Films, Games, Humanities, Linguistics, Media, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game, Social Philosophy

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, 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, Films, Games, Literature, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game

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: Game Design, Games, New Media, New Media Design

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: Game Design, New Media, New Media Design

Decision Making in Competitive Video Games

17 July 2014 by Rahil

THIS IS JUST A THOUGHT

Purpose:
I feel, that in competitive video games, there is a massive amount of decision-making going at amazing speeds, and somewhere in that time, there are things in psychology, particularly decision-making, where some new knowledge may exist.

What to do:
Detail advanced, real-time decision making through professional-level competitive games. Write how professionals win. Write it empirically, then scientifically.

Why video games over past games?
Chess is turn-based. Sports are real-time, but there’s a strong emphasis on physical. Video games have physical limits too, but it’s less prominent, usually limited to hand-eye coordination.

Is there a reason to examine real-time? What’s the difference between decision making in real-time as opposed to turn-based? Time, duh. More decisions are made during a period of time, and, there’s not enough time to make the rights ones.

resources:
SSBM
StarCraft
Thinking, Fast and Slow?

Leave a comment | Categories: Games, Mind and Matter, Psychology, Thoughts

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, even Borjes wastes space and uses many 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
House games:
– the floor is lava (also played at playgrounds)
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, single player playstation RPG games played cooperatively, 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, Caesar III, Settlers II, Age of Empires II, 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
[first year college]
Halo 3
World of Warcraft
Team Fortress 2
[after first year]
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: Games, Philosophy of Game

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