Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Computer Games as Art

I was recently shown a TED Talk By Kellee Santiago, which was then refuted by Roger Ebert.

Roger Ebert's blog is here:

There's a link to Kellee's talk at the bottom, and I suggest watching that first for the blog post to make more sense. There's also some rather lively discussion in the comments in the blog.

I find it hard to really argue either way on this situation because I obviously have a love of gaming and I consider that to be a bias under which I shouldn't be part of the discussion. Having said that, both Santiago and Ebert have large biases in their viewpoints also, and it doesn't appear to be stopping them.

I had a few thoughts about the argument though. Since computer games are largely structured simulations of real or imaginary environments, what happens if the entirety of a game consists of walking your character into a theatre and sitting down to watch a play by Shakespeare?

Is a piece of music considered art from the viewpoint of someone performing it? When I'm performing music, I'm following a structured framework set about by the composer, but at the same time, I'm interacting with that structure. I change it by my own interpretation of the artistry and my own unpredictable actions. How is that fundamentally different from the choices made in the following of a narrative in a computer game?

It's a really interesting debate, although I really find it ignorant for someone to witness a new form of media and communication and unilaterally can it by saying "Video Games can never be art".

Friday, 9 April 2010

Asi - Just started writing our 2nd Album

Our band, Asi has been around for quite some time now . . . maybe 2 years? (I forget exactly).

We started off as a bunch of musicians who recorded Shakthi's album for him. He was the driving force and the songwriter and we added our little pieces to his songs to create the first album, The Waiting.

After that, we decided it might be fun to play our work live. This is really quite hard to do when the album had been recorded by a large number of individual musicians who actually hadn't been in the same room together during recording. We had to decide which songs would work with a small group and how we would rearrange things so that they'd be playable live. Through 2008 and 2009, we did a series of gigs with our "live" group.

These were a lot of fun . . . although stressful at times :) We mixed live sounds and electronic sounds, while Aimee was illustrating live.

As we went along, we wrote new songs, added things to old songs and starting moving from live instruments and a sometimes rock feel over to a very electronically driven band. We liked this sound . . . although it became a logistical nightmare to play live.

Now that it's 2010 and we've all had a little break, we've decided to go back to writing. The band has evolved a lot since the first album. This time we're writing an album as a group and we're bringing in all the experiences we've shared playing music together over the last few years. Instead of rushing to get everything together for a gig, we're sitting down and really thinking about what we want something to sound like . . . we're taking our time to write the music and record it . . . and in a few month's (no promises on how many months :P) we hope to have something we're really proud of.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

iPhone SMS tones

I've noticed over time that everyone has the same SMS tone for their iPhone. It's not like the iPhone doesn't give you a lot of choices . . . but it is very obvious that there's only one choice that actually sounds nice and sounds like an SMS. Out and about, I've never heard an iPhone SMS beep that wasn't that iconic one that everyone uses.

I just realised what this is . . . and knowing Apple, I'm quite certain of this. It's branding. Everyone will get to know the sound of the iPhone, because everyone's iPhones beep in the same way. It's not just the iconic look of the iPhone that's become so recognisable . . . now you don't even have to see it . . . you just have to hear one receive a message nearby. On top of that, every time someone gets an SMS on an iPhone, all the iPhone users nearby pull their phones out to check if it's their's.

It's another one of those subtle things that Apple does to make sure that its products are the most visible and the most recognisable on the market.