Ian Bogost On Gaming's Goodness: Part II
During the first part of our interview with author and professor Ian Bogost, we talked about how focusing on violence in games does an injustice to the medium, why we haven't managed to break into the mainstream media, and the tricky definition of "art."
And now, here's Part II:
PSXE: Do you think someone who plays video games as a primary hobby is any different than someone who lists movies or music as their primary hobby?
Bogost: "In the book, I try to eviscerate the label of 'gamer.' You can be really into music and somehow, that doesn't consume your whole identity. We've been holding on to this identity of 'gamer' as a way of identifying ourselves. Games are interesting and appealing for various reasons, but there's always other stuff that interests us, too. So by creating this perception that there's this gamer planet where all the gamers are isolated from everyone else hasn't done us any favors.
It doesn't help us advance the cause of games, so the 'gamer' label is worth rejecting and eliminating."
PSXE: As games advance, we get closer and closer to virtual reality. Do you see this as a positive progression or something that could prove dangerous?
Bogost: "I think in one way it's sort of a blind progression. We don't really know why we're doing it. With game technology, we've invested decades in photo-realism; the whole architecture of these machines is built around making pretty pictures. So that's one danger; that we're becoming blind to other ascetics and experiences. This is where things like mobile devices are helping us see different styles of gaming.
In terms of social or culture danger with greater realism, I look at it this way: we've seen this before with painting; the desire to capture reality. Then photography came along and threw a wrench into the works, and painting had to come up with new ways to make it meaningful. With games, we focus a lot on how games look. But the world is getting more complex, and it's important to recognize all those complicated interconnections. It's not just about how they look on the outside.
9/21/2011 Ben Dutka