Hello. I'm OurGLORIOUSLeader, otherwise known as "that guy who begins stuff but never finishes it." Sp don't be surprised if this turns out to be the only entry into this liveblog.
Now. Let us begin this liveblog by asking: just who is this "Icycalm"? Why is he hated so across the Internet? And why am I doing this in the first place?
Icycalm is an Internet blogger; nothing more, nothing less. He owns this website: imsonia.ac. Here, he writes about videogames, the videogame industry, videogames tropes and stereotypes, etc. Icycalm also fancies himself a Nietzsche follower, an "ubermensch," if you will. And like Tyler Durden, everybody wants to punch him in the face. Why?
Because he's a total fucking asshole, that's why. According to just a few snippets of information here:
- He bans and flames all who disagree with him.
- He is a Grammar Nazi.
- He believes himself to be the one true follower of Nietzsche's philosophy.
So it's understandable why he's hated so. And thus, inspired by Codename_M308 over at IJBM, I am here to liveblog selected entries from his website. And once I get around to signing up for his forum, that too.
We'll start here. An essay entitled "ON THE GENEALOGY OF "ART GAMES": A POLEMIC". And what a polemic it is; I've seen Animal Collective music videos less assaulting than this drudge (not helped by the godawful white-on-black text). He begins with a quote:
To which he responds:
Wow. Ad hominem against both the subject and object of the quote? I wonder if this man has an agenda.
Yes, Icycalm dislikes art games. All of them. Yep, even the good ones. Of course, in his warped mindset, it's impossible for an art game to be good, but I'm getting sidetracked already.
Please show me the exact place where he dissed "the labor of entire generations of master game designers", please. All he said was "I think art games are good, which is why I keep them on the front page of my website." Much like the rest of his website, Icycalm's pulling shit out of his ass.
Bobby Kotick has nothing to do with this discussion.
Let me guess: they created games you don't even have to acknowledge the existence of and yet still treat them all as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Well thank God I'm not a big abortion of a fagot. Then I'd be in some deep shit.
And here we have the main problem. Yes, some people exist in this world who consider certain types of games "art." You know what we call these people? MORONS! The populace, in general, has antipathy for anybody who claims to be the beholders of the only "true" form of media in existence. It's why the Internet hates hipsters. We, as a society, dislike people who do this! So stop strawmanning and accusing the entire indie game scene of thinking this, because it's not. True.
First: "art game" is not a qualifier that automatically dismisses games like this as art. After all, there are doubtless countless indie game developers who cite classic videogames as a prime source of influence. Just take a look at the shout-outs to Super Mario Bros. present in Braid, for example.
Second: is there anybody who really thinks Tetris or Super Mario Kart, as good games as they may be, as "art"?
I like both Super Metroid and 'Ico.'' Therefore, I do not exist.
And you thought I was kidding with my Hitler comparisons.
One would think he'd strive away from cut-and-paste after that "incident..."
Methinks those in the videogame industry who have never touched a comic book, anime video, or science fiction novel in their life would politely disagree, sir.
Kael: "Who at some point hasn't set out dutifully for that fine foreign film and then ducked into the nearest piece of American trash? We're not only educated people of taste, we're also common people with common feelings. And our common feelings are not all bad. You hoped for some aliveness in that trash that you were pretty sure you wouldn't get from the respected "art film". You had long since discovered that you wouldn't get it from certain kinds of American movies, either. The industry now is taking a neo-Victorian tone, priding itself on its (few) "good, clean" movies which are always its worst movies because almost nothing can break through the smug surfaces, and even performers' talents become cute and cloying. The lowest action trash is preferable to wholesome family entertainment. When you clean them up, when you make movies respectable, you kill them. The wellspring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable."
This last part for us becomes:
Kierkegaard: "The lowest action trash is preferable to wholesome family entertainment. When you clean them up, when you make videogames respectable, you kill them. The wellspring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable."
Are you fucking kidding me. Are you saying that neither games nor movies can be fun and art at the same time? I'd get back to you, but right now I'm playing Bioshock and downloading The Social Network.
Kael: "The Thomas Crown Affair is pretty good trash, but we shouldn't convert what we enjoy it for into false terms derived from our study of the other arts. That's being false to what we enjoy. If it was priggish for an older generation of reviewers to be ashamed of what they enjoyed and to feel they had to be contemptuous of popular entertainment, it's even more priggish for a new movie generation to be so proud of what they enjoy that they use their education to try to place trash within the acceptable academic tradition. What the Cambridge boy is doing is a more devious form of that elevating and falsifying of people who talk about Loren as a great actress instead of as a gorgeous, funny woman. Trash doesn't belong to the academic tradition, and that's part of the fun of trash that you know (or should know) that you don't have to take it seriously, that it was never meant to be anymore than frivolous and trifling and entertaining." Simply replace The Thomas Crown Affair with any popular pseudo-artistic game (Rez, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, etc.), and all mention of "movies" with "games", and you have something that is perfectly current and perfectly valid.
You know why gamers hate this man? It's because he does things like belittle us for liking good games.
Kael: "If there's a little art in good trash and sometimes even in poor trash, there may be more trash than is generally recognized in some of the most acclaimed "art" movies. Such movies as "Petulia" and "2001" may be no more than trash in the latest, up-to-the-minute guises, using "artistic techniques" to give trash the look of art. The serious art look may be the latest fashion in expensive trash. All that "art" may be what prevents pictures like these from being enjoyable trash; they're not honestly crummy, they're very fancy and they take their crummy ideas seriously."
Yay, now I get to disagree with the other critic! You see, I like 2001 because it's art. Not in spite of it. It's a good movie, in my opinion. And here's why Icycalm's entire argument falls apart:
He assumes that his opinion is fact.
Let's skip far, far, far ahead, because at the rate I'm going I'll get a hernia. By the way, total word count for the article? 42,845. Just in case you thought Icycalm's blatant Author Tract could be remedied by brevity.
So blah blah Nietzsche blah blah art can't be enjoyable blah blah bow to my superior intellect. Here's some more meat:
Just in case you thought he had any more class or dignity to spare.
This will be fun.
Fair enough. Totally original art is only created by the truly insane, for only the insane could think of something truly original.
The entire crux of his argument here is It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. Still, Sturgeon's Law applies, so it still has some merit.
And what if that does not happen? Would you consider dadaists a part of this category? Plus, rich =/= cannot make art. See: Michelangelo.
You're acting as if this is a bad thing. Does art not intrinsically breed art?
If he's not being sarcastic here, I want to punch this man in the throat. Is photography simply not a legitimate artform anymore? Does this asshole realize that it took a hell of a long time for it to get there? And how the fuck could logic dicate a transition from videogames to cave drawings? Although I could easily imagine Icycalm living in a cave.
My soul itself retches at the thought of reading yet another Ulysses-length Internet article from you.
All elements of successful pseudo-criticism can be discerned here: a piss-poor abortion of a work (Canabalt) is passed off as the synthesis of masterpieces (Super Mario Bros. and Tetris); keeping "your finger on a control pad" (i.e. interacting with the game), has become a "hassle"; excellence ("art") is defined, not as the result of superior, immersive interaction, but in purely aesthetic terms, regressing back to the lower artform from which videogames evolved et cetera, et cetera. Every traditional value of the artform is systematically negated, and the whole merciless and vicious demolition is clothed in reams of throwaway, garbage prose to hide, as much as possible, what's really going on. And finally, the coup de grâce: the wretched little work is placed on a lofty pedestal (as 31st best game of all time, in a preposterous list that doesn't even include GTA III, Civilization, Deus Ex, Devil May Cry, or any other genuinely great game), from which to look down derisively on the works of every master without whose ingenuity and passion the artform would have never even begun.
Ignore for a fact that Tim Rogers is comparing Canabalt to Super Mario Tetris, an actual flash game, and not an amalgamation of Super Mario Bros. and Tetris in a hypothetical, figurative format. Forget that many people do not think games like Grand Theft Auto III, Civilization, Deus Ex, or Devil May Cry are good (although I do). Disregard the fact that Canabalt isn't even an art game. What we have here is a man presenting himself as a worthy opponent to the masses of sheeple crowding around the art game gods we masturbate to in our fantasies. A man who thinks it is duty to save the "true gamer" from the hoards of irrepressible evil. A man who actually thinks 31 is a lofty position on any list. And forgets that lists, as with any other collection of opinions, are subjective.
You know what? Fuck this guy. Fuck this liveblog. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it. What you read was merely a sample of the complete and total mound of crap Icycalm has passed off as an "essay." It is little more than a mouthpiece from which he can bitch and moan from whereabout he hates anybody with more artistic integrity than he (which is to say, everybody). His arguments could be debunked by a comatose banana slug. And he passes off baseless accusations and retarded opinions as complete and unwavering fact. As you can probably tell, I only skimmed the article, partly for time constraints, but also because I'd puke if I were to even get a single, solitary glimpse at this man's website again. So maybe my argument is wrong, and in reality he makes keen jabs and epiphinical insight to the psychie of the gamer and critic and philosopher. But from a distance all I can see is random Nietzsche quotes. And when you talk about how art games have turned people into pretentious snobs and not see the irony, well, I can pull Nietzsche on you as well:
Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Good fucking night.
See you next week. Maybe.