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    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    Found this on metafilter. Basically, a bet to see whether video games will become as culturally relevant as novels and film in 50 years. In his own words: "I'll bet you that video games will never become a significant form of cultural discourse the way that novels and film have. I'll bet you that fifty years from now they'll be just as mature and well-respected as comic books are today."

  1.  (1092.2)
    honestly, probably right. i wish that werent true, but it probably is. VG will always be a bastard child of the entertainment media, with one or two a year being considered "relevant" a year, just like comics. that doesnt mean that there wont be amazing stuff coming out, just that the average person is a jackass.
  2.  (1092.3)
    I would hazard wrong in nearly every way possible, including the current relevance of games against films in the culture at large.

    If the man wanted a a 50 year bet, for whats that worth, I would happily go in every dollar I own on this one.
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    some people might consider that they are already as culturally relevant as novels and film. what qualifies it as such? enough talking heads gathered around a table having a circle jerk over the latest release? a whole discussion group based around it? societies and fan clubs sprang up around them? enough of a buying public? you could look at it and say 50 years? it's already here. people are always arguing about the shift away from relevance of the written word and the move towards interactivity being a possibility in films. might be a moot point in 50 years. we should maybe asking whether novels and film are likely to remain relevant?
  3.  (1092.5)
    50 years....

    I'd be 79 or more likely, considering how I've spent the first 29, dead.

    So I think I'll pass on this bet.
  4.  (1092.6)
    One thing though...

    Cultural relevance is easy, it is being as well-respected as novels and movies where the real difficulty lies. Any old shite can be culturally relevant just by being lowest-common-denomenator populist trash.

    If he means seen as artistically equal to movies and novels though, I'd stake everything I own and both testicles against it if I thought I'd be able to collect. That seems impossible in fifty years.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    I'm not so quick to agree.

    This is only a quick response, but examining film history we see the years that film spent as the bastard child of entertainment media, its struggle to establish itself as a legitimate form by mimicking its more legitimate sibling art forms of the day (theater and literary adaptations), and the contribution that film scholarship made to legitimizing film as an art form and legitimizing specific genres (such as French film scholars legitimizing film noir).

    Years ago television was roundly criticized as being a low form of entertainment. Popular, but a low form. In recent years this perception has shifted. In this same space of time film scholars have moved to write about television shows (including frequent coverage of genre shows, which tended to be the red haired step child of "regular" television), and educated and monied people have been found to gravitate to specific shows (the coveted "West Wing" demographic).

    Now... I'm not saying that drawing the attention of the educated or wealthy is a sure sign of a legitimate art form, but these are things that tend to appear together. They tend to correlate, if for no other reason than that the educated and wealthy tend to keep quiet about affection for "illegitimate" art forms, but are happy to admit to or even proclaim their affection for legitimate or high forms.

    I think in the shift of perceptions about television and its becoming a legitimate form of entertainment may serve as an alternate metaphor for what can happen with video games in the next 50 years with the right conditions.
  5.  (1092.8)
    When video games become culturally relevant, people come out of the woodwork to try to get them banned/censored/declawed.

    So I say 'never' as well. Mainly because books and films have a single name to associate when video games 'sort of' do.


    HALO by... BUNGIE... and MICROSOFT for your XBOX
    FIFA 08 by EA SPORTS.

    Games don't tend to make "stars"
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008 edited
    This seems like the wagerer thinks that what is at its inception a fringe publication/medium will forever stay that way. It isn't that he makes bad arguments, but he's starting from that base presumption. And that's a position that doesn't have legs to stand on.

    Woodstock was a fringe thing, and it shaped the direction of popular music. Forever. Now granted, rock and roll was not necessarily a fringe thing at the time that Woodstock began reshaping it. But that's because the people who went, the ones who were most affected by it, were brought up with comparable music. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, the earlier Beatles, the music that Woodstock used as a stepping stone. Using that as an analogy: since video games really became household items right around 1980-85, by the time that the kids born in that era (and those a bit before, probably 1974-ish) are having grand-kids, you won't have the gap wherein the grandparents can't see why the kids enjoy hitting buttons and watching strange shapes move around the screen for hours on end.

    I want to say that comics are becoming more and more accepted as a legitimate medium, but it's a tough line to draw. People who want to read only good comics refer to them as "graphic novels." Those of us who bought the individual issues know that there's no real difference other than the binding. I'll admit that reading 100 Bullets makes a lot more sense in the TPBs, but it isn't any different when read one issue at a time. So while you have things like Maus and Sandman, things like Sin City still need to be made into films before the general population thinks about granting them the cultural relevance that comic book readers already do.
  6.  (1092.10)
    They are all linear forms of entertainment.

    I don't think it is possible to achieve the same things in an interactive medium. It relies too much on the player. Too much control over the experience by the creators is lost.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    "as mature and well-respected as comic books are today"

    I don't know if it's meant to but this seems to be making two separate statements in one sentence. By saying 'as mature' he's bringing to mind the fact that there are many highly accomplished comic books out there of great artistic value, but by saying 'well-respected' he's reminding us that the vast majority still have little time or respect for comic books. I assume the important part of his point is the latter, since he seems to be betting that video games will never be fully accepted by either the mainstream or in high-art circles.

    I already basically have a similar view to him. To my mind there are three things that I am highly doubtful as to their potential to ever really be 'art', and they are advertisements, pornography, and video games. I'm not being disparaging to either one of those, I just think that in each case there is a functional aspect to them that takes precedence over - and often completely negates - any artistic merit. In fact in many cases trying to introduce artistry into either one of those can be detrimental to its primary function.
  7.  (1092.12)
    Hold on....culturally relevant? How are we going to measure that?

    Halo 3 sold 5.2 million copies worldwide
    Harry Potter sold about 11 million

    Actually, I would take that bet, then immediately demand money because he's lost. And I would punch him until he cough up.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    @Pete Martin

    Metal Gear Solid by Hideo Kojima.

    Also, congress has been trying to get video games banned/censored/declawed for years now.
  8.  (1092.14)
    Or how about: Miyamoto, Wright, Sakaguchi, and Molyneux.

    Right now the games industry does look a bit like the studio system of early film I think, which is another issue I have with the article. As Verde pointed out it is profoundly ahsitorical, lacking any understanding or context for how film was seen at its conception.
  9.  (1092.15)
    I think one problem of cultural relevance for video games is their short shelf life.

    You can still watch Casablanca on dvd, video, tv etc. But will platforms 20 years from now be able to support today's games? Will computer operating systems 20 years from now be able to support today's games? Microsoft can't even get most Xbox games to work on Xbox 360. I have several games that can no longer be played on new operating systems.

    In order to have cultural relevance you would still have to be able to play those games 50 years from now, much like you watch 75 year old movies today.
    • CommentAuthorMathias B
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    @Mark Sweeney: I don't know, to me it seems that the (relative) absence of a canon of IMMORTAL CLASSICS in videogames is a sign of the mediums relevance. It's yet to come to the stage of box-sets and retrospectives. There is some of that, of course, but the general focus seems to be on the NEXT thing, which I find healthy and inspiring. Whether this will be the case in 50 years is of course anyone's guess.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    @Mark Sweeney - Games only have a short shelf life if the suck or get completely surpassed in quality. Accessibility isn't an issue either thanks to emulation, people have been doing it for years with the NES and whatnot, to the point that the big three are starting to cash in on it, look at the Wii's Virtual Console, XBox Live Arcade, and the piles of classic game packs. You might not be able to play older games in their original format, but they'll sure as hell get a version out there for you to play if they think there's money in it, not to mention inevitable availibility as digital distribution increases(GameTap). Backwards compatibility on the XBox is mostly an issue of the complete architecture overhaul between generations, whereas the PS2/3, and Wii incorporate the actual hardware of the prior generation into their systems and don't have to deal with piles of software overhead.

    @Mathias - Its about time to get out of work, so I can't bounce off of yours quite so much, and can't be arsed to pull out a deep list, but there most certainly are truly immortal classics in video games- Pong, Tetris, and Sim City to name a few. G4 has certainly run a number retrospective pieces in the past(can't comment on the now as the channel has gone to shit), and even the Discovery Channel just ran a 5-part documentary called Rise of the Video Game looking back at both the history of video games as well as some of the more important movements within it. And now its time to leave.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    the world is different today. I'd rather make a bet on whether novels and films will be as "culturally relevant" in 50 years as they are today. personally, I doubt it. the media are changing too rapidly (note that "films" are often not even produced on film anymore).
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    Retrospective gaming is very common. Remakes, re releases, Virtual Console, Gametap, backwards compatibility; all those things exist in prominance to keep older games in the eye of the modern gamer. I mean, what person that's really interested in the medium hasn't played Super Mario Bros, in some form or another?

    I mean, the point of playing games is to have fun and be entertained, and many old games retain their entertainment value for many years after release, so why not keep making money on them by keeping them available? Let's also not dismiss the emulation factor. Modding the PSP to play emulators has probably sold more units than any of the actual games on it.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    It certainly sold me mine tedcroland :)

    Mathais - Ah fuck, lost my train of thought and nothing's coming close to bringing it back on track :| I do think its time in the mainstream is coming, just not in the way most expect, and I'll leave it at that for now.

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