Video games – widening a cultural gap

July 16th, 2010 by Jim

This NY Times piece – Video Games: Tragedy and Comedy, Starring Pac-Man – cemented for me that video games are providing new narratives that are well understood by an enormous audience which uses them as reference points and the materials for new creations. It’s a medium that is contributing to the cultural creation cycle. It is also one about which I know nothing. I increasingly feel like this is a gap but don’t imagine I can remedy it. Chrysler Building This kind of contribution to the creation of new art was first brought home to me when Matthew Barney observed about his Cremaster 3 film set in the Chrysler building that he consciously thought about video game levels as the framework for the narrative (such as it is). In fact, a Barney fanatic created a level within the PS3 game Little Planet that reproduces a portion of this section of the Cremaster cycle.

In this New York Times article they show that the flow goes both directions with classical Greek myths being dramatized via set pieces from various popular games.

“For “Grand Theft Ovid” on Saturday, Mr. Kim and five students sat at a table covered in laptops and game consoles (a sixth student was up in the projector booth); the projector displayed images from various games onto a large screen in front of the audience.

Suddenly, Daedalus and Icarus were standing by the water (in the game World of Warcraft) before Icarus flew too high and fell to his death (in Grand Theft Auto IV)…”

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