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Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Snippets

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I have a bunch of essays I need to work on (yes, I know school hasn't started yet. You don't have to rub it in) I'm going to be dropping in here a number of small snippets and notes that wouldn't make a whole article, but together almost resemble one if you squint. And are drunk. Very drunk.

The first order of business is that Storming the Ivory Tower is now licensed under Creative Commons. This means that you can share the ideas, spread them around, fiddle with them, and so on, as long as you aren't trying to make any money off of it. That seems reasonable to me. Individual guest posters here will probably operate under the same system; if not, I'll make sure to note any differences.

If one of my ideas strikes you as somehow marketable (HAH!) you may buy the rights by getting lunch for me sometime. I like lunch. Yes, I'm serious about this.

As for why I'm paying so much attention to this, when I'm just some fool with a Blogspot account, well, I've watched recently as various creative types duked it out with publishers over things like this, and duked it out with each other, and with the general public, and so on and so forth, and I figured why wait--might as well start up with my wishes already solidly spelled out. Besides, I want to make it easy for people to share these ideas. That's what they're for, after all.

Heavens, that was dull.


This does lead handily into the next segment of this not-really-an-article: my current list of People You Really Ought To Be Paying Attention To.

First up is Extra Credits. Er, uh, Extra Credits. Hm. Extra Credits? The show doesn't really have a home at this point, what with the Escapist not paying them for several months (see my above comments about legal snafus). The program itself is a video series that does what we do here--looks critically at things that haven't been critically analyzed much yet. In their case, it's video games. It's an incredible show, and might do for games what Scott McCloud did for comics.

Of particular note to readers here is their video Art Is Not The Opposite Of Fun.

Speaking of Scott McCloud--and if you haven't read Understanding Comics yet, you really should--it's always worth checking his blog, just because of the interesting comics he plugs.

Are you interested in gender, sexuality, and feminism? Ha ha ha, of course you are, don't be silly. Check out The Pervocracy, a wonderful blog about all the strange wonderfulness of human sexuality.

Interested at all in horror and movies? I highly recommend looking up Son of Danse Macabre, a sequel to the Stephen King book of essays Danse Macabre. Even for people like me that aren't particular fans of horror, there is plenty of critical analysis and interesting theorizing to sink your teeth into.

Have any other items along these lines that people should be reading or watching? Share them in the comments.


As a general rule, I tend to prefer a dangerous failure to a safe success. There's something really marvelous about watching a failed experiment. Even as the flaming windmill collapses on you, the author, and the concept of the piece, I feel like there's still a moment of exhilaration as it all crashes down. It's a thrill that something competent but ultimately generic can't really ever pull off. And it's the reason why you'll often see me praising things that perhaps don't deserve as much attention as I'm giving them.

There are some variants on this rule of thumb. I'm not impressed by people that manage to pull off half a success if they clearly have no bloody idea what they're doing. It's just disappointing to know that the artist in question is making things up as they go along, so they'll have no way of repeating what successful images they create.

And, there's always plenty of room in my heart for a truly masterful work that doesn't push any boundaries beyond the simple boundaries of craft. (I'm thinking of Anya's Ghost, in particular.)

But still, I love looking at an absolute trainwreck of a film or a book or a comic and finding those little glimpses of brilliance. I really do think that there is some kernel of glorious, bright vision in nearly everything. Part of the work of the critic should be to hack away at the dreck--not to completely decimate a work, but to cut the dead flesh away from those hidden gems.

Of course, sometimes people just make shit art.

Like this article.

For example.

1 comment:

  1. Upon further investigation (clicking of the link), it seems that Extra Credit is no longer a thing. At least, it's no longer a thing on The Escapist. Quite saddening, as it sounded interesting.


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