How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Rhapsodies on games, gaming, and why we play.

Month: January, 2012

The powerful nature of games.

by anbrewk

First, the idea that games have a ‘nature’ requires some kind of explication which I am totally unprepared to do.  However short-sighted my title may be, I’m am excited enough about games as to consider that ‘game’ is some kind of limiting concept that not everything falls into and in this very liberal sense, I think games have a nature that other things don’t have.  Essentially I am saying there are things that are games and there are things that are not games and that the things that are games are of the same kind, despite perhaps appearing different. In this limited sense I’m saying they have a ‘nature’ – something that ties them together as being the same kind. Before I continue with what I know is going to be a feeble attempt to describe what strikes me as the nature of games, allow me to direct you to another post on another blog that does a really nice job talking about games. Now that you have that, I feel less bad about what I am going to write and what you’re going to end up reading.

I don’t really want to set out to define games so I don’t know why I started with such an epic opening paragraph. And I don’t even like the term ‘nature.’ It’s so messy and normative. But I’m going to leave that paragraph up anyway and continue on just like we were talking. All I really want to do is talk about games. I want to express my enthusiasm for play and gaming and maybe organize the thoughts I’m having in my head.  I think I’ll start by saying that play and games are different.  While play may be described as a  joyous expression, games are structured events.  If play was an ephemeral moment of joy, a game would be a mechanism to capture that moment.  Though maybe not all games. War games are not about joy, they are about practice and training. Play amongst predatory animals is closer to war games than hopscotch and hopscotch isn’t much of a game at all.  But let’s not worry ourselves with answering the questions these examples seem to bring up. Let’s worry ourselves with thinking of examples and then maybe try to sort them. I don’t want to solve anything here. I just want to talk about games and then maybe make a couple helpful distinctions here and there.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Dota?

by anbrewk

Alright, I’ll write an article. You twisted my arm with the weight of my burdens of responsibility.

A Game of DOTA in progress (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about Dota (Defense of the Ancients) a fair amount lately. Mostly because I want to escape but also a little bit because of all the dota clones in the works that lead me to recall my past interest in the beast that is DOTA. Among the contenders for the throne are Blizzard and Valve among a bunch of  lamer gamers with their own shitty free versions.

If you are at all interested in why Dota is a big deal, read: Basshunter. O.K. now this is just a total aside but at one point in my life having babes watch me play Dota with a bunch of my dude friends would have been super great.  Or at least I would have perceived that as super great. That sort of ties into how I feel about the game in general. The appeal found within the idea of someone actually wanting to watch me play dota is the same illusory appeal that actually playing dota holds. Neither are actually appealing. They both just represent me and a bunch of other people wasting a lot of time.

As another aside, playing dota with an actual team of 5 players on a dedicated ventrilo (as suggested in the aforementioned basshunter music video) would be pretty awesome. Even if Dota sucks, which I’m vaguely suggesting it does, that again still appeals to me.

Read the rest of this entry »