[MUD-Dev] "The gaming situation" by Markku Eskelinen

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Sat Aug 4 01:59:07 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Jussi 'Sulka' Haro wrote:

> Below follows a quote from article "The gaming situation" by
> Markku Eskelinen, from the the aforementioned Game Studies mag.
> I'm dumbfounded by Mr Eskelinen's statements, to the point I don't
> know what to think really. Good thing he's saying MUD's are
> possibly different, although I'm not at all sure he includes
> anything with graphics in his definition of a MUD.
> Bad part is I'm apparently supposed to talk about "virtual world"
> projects with him in television in a week. <shudder> I guess he'd
> accept our (Sulake Labs) current projects as possibly having
> storytelling aspects as they're not really games.

To me it seems like he and some of the other authors are just
restating the old and obvious, games are not linear. He seemed to
carefully avoid games that actually are oriented towards linear

I personally find this mishmash of literature, hypertext and games
rather frustrating.  It's a small field and thus it is a little bit
too easy to get away with weird thinking, opinions, self-serving
assumptions and lack of good argumentation.

To pick an example, Bringsjord opened his paper by stating:

( http://cmc.uib.no/gamestudies/0101/bringsjord/index.html )


The Issue 

We have dramatically compelling non-interactive digital (=
electronic) entertainment: sit down and watch The Matrix (see Figure
1) or T2 (see Figure 2). We have compelling interactive digital
entertainment; my favorites include console-based sports games.2 We
have dramatically compelling interactive entertainment; for example,
improvizational theatre. What we don't have is dramatically
compelling interactive digital entertainment. People sometimes tell
me that there is a counter-example to my negative view to be found
in online multi-player games, but though such games are digital,
interactive, and entertaining -- they have zero literary power
(which explains why, though T2 engages young kids through at least
middle-aged professors, such games are demographically
one-dimensional). The same can be said, by my lights, for all other
electronic genres.


What he basically is saying is something like "although synthesizers
make cute sounds --- they have no musical power, which explains why,
though Bach engages all age groups only younger people play Bach on
synthesizers". Argh!

Even though there is a lot of trash around, it seems to be pretty
harsh to define all adventure games as not being dramatically
compelling.  Oh wait!  We are talking about taste here, he enjoys
sport games!

(I don't really understand why he believes that drama requires
virtual characters either)

Ola  -  http://www.notam.uio.no/~olagr/
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