Would Hegel Have Played Pac-Man?

from the does-it-really-matter? dept

Salon is running a review and an excerpt from a book called Lucky Wander Boy, about a guy who writes ridiculously “deep” reviews of video games, bringing up how the games relate to various well-known philosophers. In the excerpt is a review of the ever-popular game Frogger that includes the following: “It draws its power from our shared memories of powerlessness. Wherever we are now, at one time or another we have all felt the poor frog’s anxiety in the face of the world’s intransigence, its blind and callous disregard for our happiness or well-being.” I have no idea how good the actual book is, but it sounds like it was fun to write.

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Comments on “Would Hegel Have Played Pac-Man?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

What about old school condemnation

I seem to recall an era in the 70s/80s when video games were denounced by intellectuals and fundamentalists as “morally corrosive,” “depraved,” “false culture,” “pied piper”. Your humourless old school intellectuals will quite likely have found some way to come down hard on video games for their plebian nature. Video arcardes were viewed as breeding grounds for drug addicts and super-predators who would not be able to tell the difference between killing monsters and killing people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If movies are an art form...

Why not video games?

The truth is, all it takes to raise the level of something to “intellectual” is some deeper thinking on the matter.

Without the critics, scads of authors would have remained forever unknown… didn’t people consider Shakespeare as over-the-top dreck for the masses at the time?

Not saying that Frogger = Shakespeare! We’re likely too early in the age of gaming for that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If movies are an art form...

In all seriousness, intellectuals (and religious authorities) of Hegel’s time viewed physical entertainment as a vulgar pursuit of the baser classes. Respectable men were supposed to stay cloistered indoors and hunched over books all day to get closer to God.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the notion of “Muscular Christianity” came in, the notion that all classes should aspire for good physical fitness in order to improve the nation’s military strength. Even then, engineers or other non-athlete college students were discouraged from physical fitness until the mid-20th century. In the 1970s, Princess Diana got a tan and worked out, much to the chagrin of Britain’s aristocracy at the time.

At the moment, the ideal person is supposed to have a tan and 4% body fat, which is in fact unhealthy also. Millions of Westerners will undergo a skin cancer holocaust in coming decades, all because people wanted to be perceived as belonging to the luxury classes. We could have a reversion to a healthier ideal of staying cloistered indoors to avoid harmful UV rays from the depleted ozone layer. We seem to be at the peak of the anorexic look; even actors from the 1980s seem chubby by today’s standards. We could also have the pendulum swing back towards heavier ideals.

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