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Texture and reality

Nowadays video games have become a major part of popular culture. Ian Bogost’s manual / book on the history and cultural significance of video games shed light on how gaming has become a major part in culture, especially western culture. One interesting chapter in the book grabbed my attention. Chapter 11, Texture, by the very title of it, made me think it interesting. Texture is something that I never really associated with gaming or games, but after reading the chapter, I acknowledged its existence and importance in gaming. He starts the chapter by mentioning the importance of texture in board game, as he states, that “they offer tactile sensation.” This is something that every board player can agree upon. When rolling a dice, for example, I would rub and move it in my palms, which i believe is a unconscious step in the process of making a decision whilst playing to win in a board game. Bogost continues on to compare Van Gogh and Jackson Pollocks impressionist paintings to the layering and texture of video game modelling, making the process art itself. He goes on to state that video games take Texture to a whole new level, by adding music and physical attributes simulating real behaviour.

Thousands of video games come out each year and new consoles promising better graphics, more realistic settings and character which look more and more human. Video games have reached such a point where reality and gaming sometimes (most times) becomes the same. My gamer friends who buy the newest game out there are a proven example of how good graphics, made possible by artists, can contribute to a successful game. I never thought of it, but something as classic and rustic as texture can be applied and expanded to gaming, making the whole concept of gaming an art form.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Texture and reality

  1. Do you really agree that ‘reality and gaming sometimes (most times) becomes the same’? It seems that gaming in a real life scenario is reality but the computer version of any game is a virtual representation. I do understand what you are saying in relation to Bogost’s analysis of how realistic games have become better through ‘rumble’, sound effects, and visual stimulation. I agree with you that computer games are like works of art and I think that comparing them to paintings of Van Gogh and Pollock is dead on. The art of video design is not a comprehendible process to me though I respect it immensely in its layering of many different forms of texture such as sound and physical recreations. Today’s video designers are the Van Gough’s of the Twenty First Century.

    Posted by wjcasey | May 31, 2013, 10:01 am
    • There is, of course, a great difference between video games and real life. What I wanted to say in my post, was the fact that video games are trying very hard to emulate and sometime imitate real life. For a video game player , these two worlds sometimes become one (not literally) but for a short amount of time. I want to give an example, the virtual game second life emulates real life, and players sometimes prefer the virtual game rather than reality. Ian Bogost’s chapter texture, seems to play a role in making this possible. Layering and making games seem more realistic by incorporating music, sound and feel, makes these kinds of games seem real.

      I hope I answered the question!

      Posted by aditipre | May 31, 2013, 12:17 pm
  2. I can see how one would say that video games and reality are becoming one in the same with the use of amazing graphics. Games are becoming more and more real as the years go on and this can be made obvious to anybody simply by showing them a game from the 80s and then one from the modern day. Not to mention, the Wii first attempted to make huge progress towards making video games realistic. The idea was that a person would make the movements of his in game character and to make things happen in the game. However, this seems to fall extremely short. It still does not feel like the real thing. It feels as though you are making the motion, but with the wrong tool. A light Wii remote is nothing compared to a heavy gun, shovel, or whatever you may be using in the game. Not to mention, the idea of rolling the dice. Things do not feel the same, and part of a real life experience is how an item feels in your hands, something that video games have yet to duplicate. Whether or not this is possible, I am not sure, but it is safe to say that video game developers are always trying to make things more and more realistic so who knows what ideas they will come up with in the future to solve this problem.

    Posted by jamesste | May 31, 2013, 11:07 am
    • I agree, even for me games fail to live up to reality sometimes. Your wii example is perfect, holding a remote does not feel real. But I feel Bogost is stating that the power of video games is increasing as modern technology evolves. I mean, we start to realise that games have evolve a lot during the years and new games are trying to come closer to reality, trying to make us experience gaming in more real ways.

      Posted by aditipre | May 31, 2013, 12:20 pm
  3. Aesthetically as media designers we have to investigate the degree to which reality is necessary.To play soccer like Messi in FIFA Soccer should we need to be as physically fit and skilled as a soccer player? Probably not. Should you need to be able to heft a battle axe in Skyrim or leap from building in Assassin’s Creed? Of course not; these games are fantasies. We face the same questions in literary works, where we have to decide on the role of description, or film, where we employ editing and special effects to make things seem real.

    So what does it take to experience immersion? No doubt this question is balanced by economic and technological limits. It’s expensive to create these visually rich games and then, as you point out, devices from the Kinect to the Wii controller point to the current limits. We have a Kinect and we use it primarily for giving voice commands. But even if those limitations did not exist, how far do we need to go to create immersion? Do we need the Star Trek holodeck?

    Posted by Alex Reid | May 31, 2013, 12:55 pm

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