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On the Worthlessness of Game Academics

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Unread postby icycalm » 12 Dec 2010 19:58

More evidence that these so-called "game academics" are charlatans. The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies has about twenty or so editors:

http://www.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/editor.htm

The "Game Studies" journal has A COUPLE HUNDRED:

http://gamestudies.org/1001/board

All these people are supposed to READ and GREENLIGHT every article that is published. And the result:

The Sims: Grandmothers are cooler than trolls
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Unread postby icycalm » 12 Dec 2010 20:00

And he references "Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics", lol. That's the level of education of these "game studies" people, lol.
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Unread postby icycalm » 12 Dec 2010 20:12

Actually, that was the "board of reviewers". The editorial board has only a few people:

http://gamestudies.org/1001/ed_board

Still, two of them are Bogost and Juul, so I guess we can take that as indicative of the intelligence and education level of everyone else who participates in that pseudo-academic circlejerk. From a brief skim of the journal I would place their content a great deal below IGN. Below even Action Button, in fact.
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Unread postby icycalm » 12 Dec 2010 20:15

The "submissions checklist" includes, among other hilarious guidelines:

Have you titled your paper?


http://gamestudies.org/1001/submission_guidelines

I wonder how they'd react if I submitted something to them. The "Worthlesness of Game Academics" article, perhaps.

The thing is that, even in the one in a billion chance that they accepted it, I wouldn't have anything to gain by it, since Insomnia probably gets several hundred times more traffic than they do.
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Unread postby icycalm » 24 Jul 2011 15:09

Via email:

Rando wrote:Alex,

I was having a look at Insomnia and I found your thread on acamedics and videogames. This came at likely time, since today I had a look at a list of academic journals, looking for journals on videogames.

The few I found seem to share the list of problems you point out for "game studies". I felt rather depressed, but given the status of humanities nowadays, I am not surprised.

And, still, I feel that I could be able to write down articles about videogames that make sense, and perhaps even be worth the label of "scientific" or "philosophic" articles.

If everything goes well, some time in the near future I will work as a Linguist/Cognitive Scientist, so I would to cultivate a "side project" of scientific/philosophic research on videogames.

I do not have any idea where to start from, though. That's why I am writing this e-mail. I was wondering whether you would have ideas on two topics that would really help me a lot to start thinking.

The topics are:

1. What topic you would suggest, on a first article? I would suggest "something" on shmups, but would you have suggestions on a specific topic that, in your opinion, would be easy to discuss in 10k words?

2. Background literature? Which are books that talk about games in a rational way, and that must be read, no matter how "basic" they may be?

I appreciate any kind of answers but, if you would like to know more about this "side project", before offering your suggestions, please let me know.

Of course, project "Untold" is orthogonal to this other project.

Francesco-Alessio


1. This... is the wrong question to ask. I am sorry to say this, but it is the kind of question the pseudo-academics I am railing against in this thread would ask. And the clincher is the "10k words" comment, as if it mattered how many goddamn words you use in order to put your ideas down in paper. I see this even in IJBS (The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies), where they have a word limit too. That's not how thinking works, man, you can't put a word limit on fucking ideas! let alone predict how many words it will take some OTHER person to express ideas that have barely even crossed your mind!

The point, then, is not what I would like to see YOU write, but what YOU want to write because you FEEL like writing it. I may want to see, for example, a comprehensive article on Rank and Rank control, the entire history of the mechanic, an examination of all the key titles that employ it and an expert's judgement on whether, in each case, its inclusion and particular implementation benefits or hurts the game, as well as prospects for the future and the setting of this mechanic in the context of videogames as a whole (i.e. even outside of shooters), and ultimately the functioning of the universe -- but the question is not whether I want this, but whether YOU CAN write it, and if you don't at the very least FEEL like writing it one thing's for certain: THAT YOU CAN'T. Even if you DO feel like writing it chances are that you won't be able to satisfy, or at least fully satisfy, my extremely high expectations, but, like I said, if you don't feel AN UNBRIDLED URGE to write it, whatever you write will in the long run prove worthless (like everything the pseudo-academics write).

So. Start from the inside. The "academic" articles will have to come from the same place the Untold Tales are coming. You NEED to get these out of your head, and THAT is why they are so awesome (and of course also because you know a shitload about games, because there are many little fuckheads who ALSO need to get stuff out of their heads, but if there's barely anything there there's also barely anything to get out). And, in any case, the general articles ultimately come from the same place that criticism (i.e. the Untold Tales) are coming from. That's how I got to where I am today. I didn't set out to become a "videogame theorist", let alone a "philosopher", lol. I set out to write all those things about videogames that had been brewing in my brain over a period of decades, and IN THE PROCESS of doing that, i.e. in the process of writing reviews, I eventually came to identify a series of issues concerning entire groups of games. So, for example, one fine day I realized that the word "gameplay" was not helping me at all while I was writing my reviews, and that it was detrimental to the quality of criticism in the reviews of others. So I gathered all the thoughts about it that had for a long time been SUBCONSCIOUSLY amassing themselves in my head, and wrote them down. Then a little while later I realized that my arcade reviews where presupposing that the reader would play the game on a single credit, whereas the majority of my readers not only did not do that, but would regard such a suggestion as absurd and absurdly elitist. So again, I sat down and unloaded all those thoughts that had been forming subconsciously in my head over a period of years. And so on and so forth with "RPG"s, "values for monies", "videogame parodies", "emergent miracles", "art games", etc.

The main point is: take it slow, take your time, for if you rush it you will bungle it like everyone else. Ideas come when THEY want, not when YOU want them to, and they certainly do not come to order; THAT'S why they pseudo-academics never manage to scribble anything lasting, anything that people might want to read a decade or a century down the line. They first decide that "I WANT TO BECOME A PSEUDO-ACADEMIC", and THEN they look around for topics to write about. But as I explained, that's not how thinking works. Read this essay and all the ones linked on the sidebar, from bottom to top:

http://insomnia.ac/essays/on_authorship_and_style/

and THERE's your starting point for becoming a game academic.



2. We already have a topic on "books on games" here:

http://forum.insomnia.ac/viewtopic.php?t=2359

Short answer is: there aren't any. Seriously -- but by all means do not take my word for it. Make your inquiries, and if you find any worthwhile books let me know (in the above-linked thread).

Basically, regardless of how arrogant this may sound, the only one who has EVER written anything of value on the subject of game theory is me. Everything else so far is either bullshit, or trite and obvious MIXED with bullshit. You can't even so much as find PURE TRITE AND OBVIOUS stuff, at the very least it will be mixed with a small (though usually huge) amount of bullshit, depending on how retarded the writer is and how little he cares about the artform (and none of them really care about it, as evidenced by the fact that they were all taken in by the "art game" scam, which failed to dupe even gamefaqs posters).

So, the basic texts that you are asking me for are all either linked or mentioned on the sidebar of this page:

http://insomnia.ac/commentary/videogame ... e_preface/

When those three books have been released there won't be any other major topic to cover on the subject of game theory; there will just be a huge, in fact infinite amount of things to be written WITHIN the structure erected by the theory contained in these books. Everyone still working OUTSIDE of that theory will keep churning bullshit, in the same manner that "ethical studies" people have been churning out nonsense for the last century after failing to understand Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, or sociologists for the last forty years after failing to understand Baudrillard's In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, etc. etc.


So... I hope I have helped with all the above. These comments, by the way, will eventually find their way in my "On the Worthlessness of Game Academics" article, so those who read it will get a strong sense of deja vu after having read the above -- but it will also contain a great deal of other points, so it will be a must-read anyway.
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Unread postby Randorama » 28 Jul 2011 16:08

Thanks for the thorough answer. I found it very useful, and on several points it aptly made explicit concerns that I was entertaining as well, without being aware of them. I will try to address your thorough post as best as I can.

1. In retrospective, I agree that my original question was poorly conceived. After reading your response and meditating a good deal, I realized that my main desire is to make sense of two personal journeys I have followed so far: that of becoming a "scientist", and that of bringing out all the knowledge I have accumulated so far about videogames. The question that I still need to answer is how to integrate these two journeys in a single journey.

I think that you propose the first and most important step I should take: going back to "Untold" and let the ideas about videogames come out. Once these ideas are out, I think that I should have a clear idea of what aspects of videogames need a scientific analysis. Yes, a comprehensive article on rank in shmups (and perhaps other genres) will be a work that I must attempt, at some point, but I think that such an article presupposes a foundational work on what shmups are, a work in which my science marries my knowledge of the genre. As you say, I should take my time on this, since the chances of making a mess would be too high, without careful planning AND a careful analysis of the knowledge I have at my disposal.

2. I agree that there is virtually no relevant literature on game theory. I have attempted to find some, only to feel rather depressed about ending up empty-handed. This brings us to your books. I think that the most appropriate thing to do is to wait that your books will be officially published and I will have read the final drafts in detail, so that any relevant work I may produce will be framed within a precise theoretical model. Again, taking time to reflect on this matter is the best, if not the only possible choice.

3. An excursus on the word limit. I agree with your complaint about word limit on articles. Somehow, the only two journals on games ("game studies" and "games and culture") only exist in digital format, yet they maintain the paper-bound limit on the length of articles. It is a mistery on why it is so, since it places an artificial constraint on the quality of articles, without finding a pragmatic justification, such as the need to insert more articles in a fixed publishing format . At some point, and depending on which journal (of the two) I may attempt to publish on, I may be forced to take in consideration this limit. Pity, but they are the ones making the rules, if I choose to follow them.

So... your answer has been very useful and stimulating, since it helped me in making sense of some of the ideas that were floating in my head, so far. Your article will be certainly be very useful, too. Thanks again.
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Unread postby icycalm » 13 Oct 2011 21:32

My god what a site:

http://gametheoryonline.com/

It makes me not want to touch a game again.
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Unread postby icycalm » 02 Jan 2012 23:10

Check this out:

http://twitter.com/#!/stillgray/status/ ... 3184310272

Ian Miles Cheong wrote:Eric's (@TheGameCritique) trying to decide whether to include this particular piece in CD's yearly post. http://insomnia.ac/commentary/on_the_ge ... art_games/


And he ended up deciding not to. And these are the articles he did end up including:

http://www.critical-distance.com/2012/0 ... ging-2011/

Just take a look at that gigantic list of trash-articles that no one is reading outside their circlejerk, and which even THEY will not remember a few fucking DAYS from now, and then consider that that person deems ALL those articles more worth mentioning that my Genealogy.

THAT is the kind of person who wants to pass as a "game academic" today.
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Unread postby Dolt » 06 Jan 2012 06:16

It was me that recommended you, as a joke. Don't get me wrong, the recommending of you was not the joke, but the recommending to his site, Critical Distance, which is a sad undertaking that aims to excavate all such inanity as seen in the link you posted from the depths of the internet and parade it in weekly round ups. I came across a post asking for recommendations for a "Best Videogame Articles of the Year" feature:

http://www.critical-distance.com/2011/1 ... 1-edition/

In which they ask for:

Eric Swain wrote:1. Any piece of writing that really sticks out in your mind. Something that weeks, even months after it’s published stays with you because it was influential or important.


So of course I had to offer them a taste of some real writing. From Cheong's Twitter, again:

Ian Miles Cheong wrote:Here's the full note that @TheGameCritique received. Read it. It's amusing. i.imgur.com/aB0d0.png


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Half to amuse myself, half vain hope that making you out to be just another artfag journlolist might encourage the man to actually read the article (and perhaps it worked? lol). I hope you don't find it offensive or disruptive.
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Unread postby icycalm » 06 Jan 2012 06:55

You seem to be under the impression that I am female.
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Unread postby Dolt » 06 Jan 2012 07:31

An intentional misrepresentation to interest their liberal sensibilities. I figure they love that sort of thing. Isn't that part of why Leigh Alexander is so popular? All you have to do these days to write for Kotaku is be gay or disabled:

http://kotaku.com/5854012/this-gaymers-story

Denis Farr wrote:During this time, from the time I was ten until I was almost fifteen, I was also being raped and molested almost every other week. I'll let you do the math, but suffice it to say, I began having serious questions about myself, my sexuality, and guilting myself for sometimes enjoying the physical pleasure even while my mind loathed everything that was happening to me. I was also coming to terms with being gay.


Seeing that as the top story on the front page of Kotaku was the time I decided to look for videogame news elsewhere. But that is for the lol thread I suppose.
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Unread postby icycalm » 06 Jan 2012 07:34

lololololol

Best lol of the day, thanks.
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Unread postby icycalm » 06 Jan 2012 17:12

It's interesting, by the way, that you found the start of the Genealogy confusing. That's what I thought of Nietzsche's Genealogy when I first read it. They both deal with extremely complicated issues, so picking a place from which to start unraveling them is problematic, and there is simply no easy entry point if you are not already extremely familiar with the issues. And though I was obviously extremely familiar with the issues involved in my analysis, I certainly wasn't with the ones involved in Nietzsche's, at least not circa summer 2008 when I first read the book. But with hindsight it is the most appropriate place to begin. He begins with an overview (and ridicule) of the attempts of the "English genealogists of morals" to account for the genesis of morality. These were the only efforts made before him, and which obviously at least partly inspired his own efforts, so of course he's going to start with them. And of course whoever is not familiar with them will be a little lost. And the same happened with me. The book is at bottom about the realtionship of the concept of art to that of videogames, and for better or worse, the only ones who had tried to connect these two concepts before me were the artfags -- AND managed to get everyone to accept their ideas on the matter, for lack of alternatives, if for no other reason. So I had to start with them, and with the required ridicule of these ideas, and I picked Derek Yu (as Nietzsche picks, for example, Herbert Spencer), as one of the most prominent and vocal people involved, and thus the easier to examine and denounce. And things then naturally flow off from there.

You should have seen the original first few paragraphs. They were terrible. Thankfully I saw that and extensively rewrote them. I still don't see how I could have significantly improved the start. And it's very unfortunate that it's so heavily gaming-dependent, and will therefore turn off many people from the arts who could also really benefit from it -- but again there's nothing to be done about that. Their artforms are either anyway already irrelevant, or will eventually become so, so in the long run it won't matter. In the short run, however, there would be a lot to be gained by having people like Michael Mann or the dude who makes those new Batman movies read them and realize how ludicrous the claims of the fags are that their masterpieces are inferior to their "art" and "indie" movies because they are "Mane Streem" or some shit. But I don't see how Mann or the Batman dude can be made to read the book without skipping the beginning...

This is exactly what I plan to do when I send a copy to Gerry Coulter of the IJBS: I'll advise him to skip the beginning. Hopefully he won't, but the advice is only meant to motivate him to persevere with the first few paragraphs anyway, despite perhaps not seeing the point in them.
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Unread postby icycalm » 28 Oct 2019 00:48

It only took me nine years, but I got here. Or at least almost here; you can expect the second, and final, part tomorrow.

On the Worthlessness of Game Academics (I)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/31079460

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icycalm wrote:And since the positions must be filled, someone's gonna get hired, even if there are no qualified applicants...
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Unread postby icycalm » 31 Oct 2019 13:24

On the Worthlessness of Game Academics (II)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/31133229

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icycalm wrote:The deans and chairpeople themselves had no respect for videogames, and therefore they were bound to find themselves at odds with anyone who DID respect videogames...


It turns out I have more to say so there will be a third part after all.
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