Storytime With Jonathan Blow

Very good culmination and summation of the important points Blow has brought up over the years regarding games.

Some conceptual thoughts:

One major human behavior is having a question, being driven to find an answer, looking for an answer, finding one, and using this new information to understand a system. Often times we idolize the grand journey that an individual may take to answer one question over the course of a life. In reality this pattern occurs thousands of times a day and is super important for our survival; it’s called curiosity, and it should be celebrated.

Our brains exist to create patterns out of reality. When we are able to accurately predict and act upon those patterns, that represents mastery of a particular system, which we find incredibly rewarding. Games do exactly that; they set up fully functioning, logically rigorous, pleasingly constrained systems, that tantalize us with the possibility of knowing all that there is to know (most games even present clear steps how to reach that point); something we never get from reality. This is one reason I believe in time the majority of people will find games more satisfying than the original. Bonus points when we can look back and see our progression from ignorance to mastery.

In life it is normal to not fully understand systems, to stumble. In current times entertainment is generally expected to be a respite from normal life, and from stumbling. One could define “entertainment” as content that purposefully presents familiar and limited systems.

A joke is an intellectual surprise.

All art is a means of communication from the creator to a receiver. Games certainly are interesting in that they  have to build fully functioning and literally inhabitable worlds from nothing, though I wouldn’t call them unique in that regard. All creators may think they start with a blank slate, but none exist in a vacuum.

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- videogame


Comment by Linda on 2016-07-24 10:42:45 +0000

It was a fantastic talk and I’m glad we went. I just need to hear him talk about things that aren’t about himself or his games and I won’t hate hearing it.