Recently, Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software wrote a short blog with the ridiculous title “No, Video Games Aren’t Art. We’re BETTER.” The article itself is just about as infantile and pretentious as the title would let on, but I do have sympathy for some of Vogel’s sentiments anyway. The tone of the blog post is exhaustion—Vogel is tired of bickering about whether or not games are art, the apologetic tone many gamers take toward the medium, and the unsightly desperation of pseudo-intellectuals who beg for the medium to be validated by the experts in other artistic media. I sympathize with these points, but Vogel swings too far in the opposite direction and misunderstands art in the process.
Fallout 4 is missing a lot that New Vegas had: skills, ammo types, faction reputation, location reputation, advanced companion commands, full dialogue trees, special dialogue options based on S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats or perks, equipment degradation and repair, killable companions, and prostitutes. Fallout 4 certainly took a step forward in some areas like graphics and the feeling of guns, but there are some features which I think need to return from New Vegas.
When a gaming publication gives a game their highest rating, people sometimes respond by pointing out a flaw in the game, then asking “how can you give the game the highest possible rating?” Part of the answer is practical. A perfect game hasn’t come yet, and it seems unlikely that one ever will. So why not use the full length of the rating scale in the meantime? The other part of the answer is that a perfect game is actually impossible, so the highest rating shouldn’t be reserved for one.
Header image by Joel Robinson
In ordinary conversations, people sometimes say that video gaming as a medium should be treated as a missionary faith—we should “get more people into gaming.” This is a common sentiment across hobbies. Aside from video games, I also spend a lot of time talking about Magic: The Gathering, literature, and philosophy. In each of these hobbies, the urge to recruit is there. Why should gamers want more gamers?
Extra Credits is a popular series on YouTube focused on video games. The series is obnoxious for a variety of reasons including the undeserved professorial tone (the writer’s cartoon avatar even lectures from a podium), the Chipmunk-like effect put on the narrator’s voice, the lack of research, the bad writing, and the poorly thought-out theses. I’ll be responding to their video called “Hatred – Crossing the Line from Violence to Sadism.”