2017年12月10日 星期日

Videogames - But are they art?

a) Key Quotes
- 'Art must have the capacity to express ideas.' 
(Will Computer Games Ever Be A Legitimate Art FromErnest W. Adams)

- 'The greatest works of art, the ones that are displayed in museums and discussed endlessly, are those that took risks and broke new ground.' 
(Will Computer Games Ever Be A Legitimate Art From, Ernest W. Adams)


-'Artistic developments in art mods have provided rich basis for thought on gaming, and the cultural role of games, reflexively enriching our knowledge of computer games as a social material of entertainment media.'
(Meltdown, Rebecca Cannon)


b) Key Links
- Video Games in the Gallery - An Interview with Mark Allen
an interview related to this game, such as the ideas of this game
Legal document for TTT players
showing the further risk of this game may give to the participants
Eddo Stern's homepage
few description of this artmod, also the detail of other projects


c) Key Articles
Will Computer Games Ever Be A Legitimate Art From, Ernest W. Adams
this article got a precise definition about art and also gameart
Cracking the maze, Anne-Marie Schleiner
this article got a detailed history about artmod, which is related to my case study
- MELT DOWN, Rebecca Cannon
this article got the information about the category of artmod, which allows me to have a better description of this game
-the Ludic Hack, Baumgartel
an article talks about game modification




d) Case Study
Tekken Torture Tournament
video


Description
Tekken Torture Tournament (TTT) is created by Eddo Stern from C-level team in 2001.  TTT is consist in two parts, an ordinary Tekken fighting game, and a modified Playstation that can convert virtual onscreen damage into electric shocks.  Willing participants have to wear an arm straps with electric wires that are attached to the machine that can give them shocks.  According to an interview with the coordinator who held this game as an event, Mark Allen, he said that the more damage that a player received, the more electric shocks he also received.  The shock is also strong enough to pull your hand from the controller, makes it more close to the real-life situation, if your body are damaged by your opponent, you will not that able to keep fighting.


Art Mod Catagory
This art mod is a real-time performance instrument, according to Rebecca Cannon from her article "MELTDOWN", this game has take an different approach of real-time performance, instead of syncing live audio-visual with the game, the creator of this game tried to increase the degree of physical activity in the game, and make the participation in a game function as real-time performance instrument.


Is it art?
By the definition from Ernest W. Adams' article, "Will Computer Games Ever be a Legitimate Art Form"?, he has mentioned several characteristics that an art have.  First of all, I will talk about how Tekken Torture Tournament has shared these characteristics too.  After this, I will talk about how this game became an artwork.


First one is "Art Contains Ideas".  According to Mark Allen, the idea of using electric shock is to bring you and the avatar closer, that because you and the avatar share the hurt feeling and the damage.  That is completely different in some ordinary fighting games, in ordinary one, players can only see the damage, they can ignore their feelings of their representations (avatar) in the games.  However, in TTT, because of the electric shocks, the players are more connected to their avatars, and this art mod has made the boundary between virtue and realistic became more blur.  Also, this art mod also related to one of the major attractions of in-game-violence, the violence is not real.  This art mod has reminded us the sociological effects of game-violence by telling us that the real pain actually hurts, it is not harmless as we can see in the monitor.


Second one is "Art has Content"
As I have mentioned before, there are some ideas in TTT.  It is completely different from some of the commercial games, for example, Unreal Tournament, it is just a game related to shooting skills, and there is nothing left except this.


Third one is "Art is Not Formulaic"
TTT is the first art project for Eddo Stern that involve such intense players participation.  Unlike some commercial video games such as Grand Theft Auto series, for all Eddo's projects, he didn't use the same old idea or presentation all the time, TTT is just another idea in another form of presentation.


Fourth one is "Utility and Saleability"
For the creator of this game, the function of this art mod can be expressing his idea, trying to make the players feel things and so on, but is not about utility and saleability.  Unlike some commercial games such as Counter Strike, TTT does not involve to selling or profit making, this game only served as an artwork that allow people to participant, and to know the idea from the creator.


After examining the characteristics that this game has, I will talk about how this game became a work of art.  As mentioned by Adams in the conclusion of his article, he has mentioned some additional steps that a game developer should done to make his game became a work of art.


First one is games must seek to do more than provide "fun".  Games should not be only for entertainment, for TTT, this game is entertaining, and also provide some ideas that allow participants to think about, such as the ideas related to virtue and reality, and other ideas that I have mentioned before in "Art has content".


Second one is game developer must experiment with the medium.  They must take artistic risks and break new ground.  For Eddo, it is his first time to make a game that bring players and their avatars closer by using electric shocks.  Unlike some commercial game producers, Eddo and his team cannot have a market research before the project, because this game is not used to appeal customers.  Eddo and his team are trying something new with artistic risks.


Third one is games must challenge their players as other art forms challenge their viewers.  They must force the player to experience new ideas and to see things in new ways.  This is definitely achieved in TTT, the relationship between virtue and reality is an important topic in digital art, and the forced electric shocks has pushed the participants to experience the new ideas.