8 votes

What do you think of channels that theorize on video game lore?

Easy example: Game Theory/The Game Theorists.

15 comments

  1. [6]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I usually don't care much for symbolism or analysis that tries to get the "deep meaning" of fictional objects. They rarely exercise the intellectual caution required to achieve powerful...

    I usually don't care much for symbolism or analysis that tries to get the "deep meaning" of fictional objects. They rarely exercise the intellectual caution required to achieve powerful conclusions that are actually consistent with the source material. What I commonly see is what we call in Portuguese "viagem na maionese[1]": freeform speculation that says more about the creativity of the analyst than it says about the thing they’re analyzing.

    "YouTube theoreticians" are biased toward depth because otherwise they just spent a lot of time on a video project they cannot publish.

    Good analyses with comprehensive conclusions require effort, restraint, method, and a large sample. This is most frequent in academics, or from people with an academic background. For a good example, see Anita Sarkeesian.

    EDIT: notice that I’m only addressing videos that theorize about game lore, as you say in the title. “Game theory” is another thing.

    [1] free translation: surfing on mayonnaise

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      FYI, I think "game theory" was the name of "the game theorists" channel, hence the slash on "Game Theory/The Game Theorists", because it's the same channel. I didn't ask about game theory, the...

      EDIT: notice that I’m only addressing videos that theorize about game lore, like you say in the title. “Game theory” is another thing.

      FYI, I think "game theory" was the name of "the game theorists" channel, hence the slash on "Game Theory/The Game Theorists", because it's the same channel. I didn't ask about game theory, the mathematical/philosophical... concept (I think) either.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        I once got in a fight with a friend where he came to me saying that game theory is becoming "less statistic-based and more theoretical" and I had no fucking clue what he was talking about. We...

        I didn't ask about game theory, the mathematical/philosophical... concept (I think) either.

        I once got in a fight with a friend where he came to me saying that game theory is becoming "less statistic-based and more theoretical" and I had no fucking clue what he was talking about. We yelled at each other for a while and I could not wrap my head around what he was trying to say until I realized he meant the youtube channel...

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          How do you call the theory about actual games? Ludic theory?

          How do you call the theory about actual games? Ludic theory?

          1 vote
          1. Fal
            Link Parent
            I think what you might be looking for is ludology?

            I think what you might be looking for is ludology?

            3 votes
  2. [6]
    Whom
    Link
    I am a little frustrated at the kind of culture around these things that lead to the thermian argument and such being normalized. I meet so many people who confuse this stuff with criticism or...

    I am a little frustrated at the kind of culture around these things that lead to the thermian argument and such being normalized. I meet so many people who confuse this stuff with criticism or theory, to the point where it leaks into the classroom when talking about literature or film or whatever.

    That said, in and of itself it's harmless fun. I selfishly hope we all move past it and "Are all Disney films in the same universe???"-type stuff, but people can have their fun.

    7 votes
    1. [5]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That's an interesting video. I can see how "this is consistent with the universe" can be used as a lazy dismissal of criticism. I also believe the author is incorrect in saying that the only thing...

      That's an interesting video. I can see how "this is consistent with the universe" can be used as a lazy dismissal of criticism.

      I also believe the author is incorrect in saying that the only thing that matters in fiction is the actual "text", media object, etc. Narration stipulates fictional worlds that obey laws that are distinct from actual worlds. Those laws can be studied and extrapolated. It is valid to bring forth this distinction so readers understand that, while fictional worlds definitely are in constant communication with actual worlds, they are not actual and therefore should not be treated as such.

      The author even states that "nothing exists to enforce the rules of a fictional space", which is entirely wrong from a logical standpoint. Fictional laws are enforced by logic itself. Any possible world that does not respect the law of excluded middle, even a fictional one, is doomed to dissolution (you can avoid that by refraining from stipulation and not creating a possible world at all -- see some works by David Lynch as examples). Things can be transformed, that is true, but there must be some kind of isomorphism (if you will -- hope I'm using the correct term) between the two states. Therefore, while I certainly can write a story in which Superman is not able to fly anymore, I must explain what sequence of events led to that change. I cannot simply state that the Superman of this possible world both can and cannot fly at the same time.

      Possible world semantics is a powerful tool to understand how fictional worlds function. It is not meant to shut down discussion, and the author of that video, in my view, presents a misinformed and ultimately incorrect argument.

      Even though I agree that no one should be using lazy arguments to dismiss valid discussions of politics, representation, etc.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        I believe the two of us had this same conversation at some point. Maybe even with the same video?

        I believe the two of us had this same conversation at some point. Maybe even with the same video?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          I’m not exactly sure what you mean... but maybe yes? Hahahaha Edit: but yeah that is not a new argument from me.

          I’m not exactly sure what you mean... but maybe yes? Hahahaha

          Edit: but yeah that is not a new argument from me.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Whom
            Link Parent
            Ah yes, here it is. I should probably get around to that reading you suggested...

            Ah yes, here it is. I should probably get around to that reading you suggested...

            4 votes
            1. mrbig
              Link Parent
              And I should probably read something new hahahaha

              And I should probably read something new hahahaha

              3 votes
  3. twisterghost
    Link
    A lot of it falls into the category of harmless fun or even just clickbait, but there's been a few genuinely fun ones out there. My favorite (decidedly not gaming though) is that Snowpiercer is a...

    A lot of it falls into the category of harmless fun or even just clickbait, but there's been a few genuinely fun ones out there. My favorite (decidedly not gaming though) is that Snowpiercer is a direct sequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

    That said I've been on and off watching Game Theroy (and their newer Film Theory channel) for years. It's cringe as hell but they lean into that as a thing. I like it enough but they go on benders of games that I do not at all care about having twelve videos for, but it gets them the clicks and ad revenue they need to survive so I get it.

    7 votes
  4. Akir
    Link
    Honestly, I kind of hate extended universes in general. They tend to explain things that intentionally have no explanation. The most obvious example of why this can be harmful is how the Star Wars...

    Honestly, I kind of hate extended universes in general. They tend to explain things that intentionally have no explanation. The most obvious example of why this can be harmful is how the Star Wars prequels explained that a person's ability to use The Force is determined by midichlorians.

    I feel that since extended universes have become so popular, side stories have completely lost their value. The entire point of a side story is to further explore the characters and world of any given work and to enrich the story by adding extra details about it.

    Harry Potter has excellent examples that go both ways; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the book is a fantastic addition that makes the world that HP lives in feel like it's alive. It takes away the impression that the author is just describing things to further a narrative by introducing additional elements.

    On the other hand, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the film series does not do a good job of enhancing the original. By transfering the action to a different continent with a different government (and in a plot where said government is important), it's effectively in a new universe. You don't know anyone in this universe, and the things happening in the original are barely mentioned. And while the new beasts could be considered to be an asset to the original, since they are all in this new universe, it doesn't really feel connected. Perhaps worse is that the only reason that this exists is to create a new film franchise; it feels much more like it was created as a way to make money than it was made because there was more to explore.

    I'll admit I have not seen the second film, but I was intentionally avoiding it because it threatened to fill in more 'intentionally blank' details.

    6 votes
  5. streblo
    Link
    I don’t usually find this stuff interesting because I think “lore” in most video games is quite superficial and not worthy of too much deep analysis. One game that at least used to buck this trend...

    I don’t usually find this stuff interesting because I think “lore” in most video games is quite superficial and not worthy of too much deep analysis. One game that at least used to buck this trend is TES, mostly when it was still a labour of love by Kirkbride and others. There is a pretty good podcast series, “Written in Uncertainty” if you really want to jump into the deep end of TES lore.

    4 votes