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04/17/2003

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Walter

Pretty cool. Nice to see another gamer/philosopher on the block, writing for Salon AND living in the Bay Area, to boot!

I'd be interested to know, though, in what sense he considers Thief to be a work of art.

Baron Samhedi

Now the moment of truth. Whether I can make this post coherent or not.

Videogaming has come a long way in a relatively short time. In the beginning, they were primarily a showcase of technilogical ability, but as time has progressed they have started to meld with other entertainment media and produced something altogether "other". Not only does the modern game developer concern itself with technological style and gameplay, but also in creating an intense storyline, well developed characters, an engaging and relevent musical score, and all the other things that we love but can take for granted in this art form.

That's right. Art form. If you consider film an art, now you must also consider a videogame a piece of art, for better or for worse, because the two medias have, in a way, melded. Though I hate the term "interactive movie" I beleive that is (at the most base level) what we have now. An interactive and well developed storyline.

Back to Thief. Thief was a work of art for many reasons. Graphically, it was well done for the time and included a level of detail that was rather absent in most first person games. Musically, the score was wonderful, and the cutscenes and storyline were engaging and increadible. But the real art here is the uniqueness of the game. Correct me if I'm wrong, by all means, but I do beleive that Theif was the first of it's kind. It was a First Person genre game that depended entirely on NOT shooting. The whole point of the game was to be stealthy. To not attract attention, and to get from point A to point B and accomplish tasks along the way without enemies being aware of your presence. The only game that I'm aware of that theif could in any way be compared to is System Shock. (Also a work of art, but having enough differences, I think, to set the two games apart from one another.)

Anyway, that's just my two cents. I think I covered the topic well enough.

Me

Wagner James Au is as much a game journalist as Saddam Hussein is a benevolent dictator. I still can't believe Salon published this piece of garbage -

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/1999/05/12/game_violence/

The man should NOT be allowed to write anything related to videogames.

adm

The first time I had ever heard of Au was in the Old Man Murray forums a few years back. Au was a favorite whipping boy of Erik, who, if you missed the phenomenon, sought out anything pompous, false, or tired in the gaming culture and took a crap on it.
The forums were a combination of the sort of profane juvenile dump you'd get at many a unmoderated gaming forum, parody of profane juvenile dump you'd get at many a unmoderated gaming forum, and had-it-with-the-industry bitchslapping.
Unlike many people Erik called an idiot, Au showed up in the forums and argued with him about it. The clash of Au's liberal California art-college-philo vibe with Erik's deeply satiric call-your-mother-a-cunt style was hilarious.
Of all the targets of Erik's bile, I think Au acquitted himself the best in the forums. That's despite the deplorable opposition to booth girls at conventions (a tradition!) and hand wringing about Quake. Unfortunately, both Old Man Murray and it's forums are now gone.
But still… that erotic poetry. There's got to be something in that bay area water.

Angel

Wagner James Au now spends his time pushing people around with his "power of the press" routine at secondlife.com to the enjoyment of many and the dread of others. I personally feel that his brand of humor i.e. thick sarcasm and journalism style, or lack of, is tired.

BTW, he's scared of Heathers.

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