Nerd Bacon is now on Flickr! Here's our chance to share awesome pictures with you guys: rare consoles, huge collections, and maybe a few other things you've never seen are in store. Visit Nerd Bacon @ Flickr now! And check back often as we continue to add new pics from our members!


Nerd Bacon is endeavoring to bring you more news than ever before! Visit our NEWS SECTION to stay up-to-date with the gaming world!


Bacon Bits

No updates in past 7 days!


Ever wanted to know what our senior members are up to in their spare time? Want to get to know our writers a little better? Then take a look at our brand new Bacon Bits: The Baconeer Blogs and see what they have to say!


MEMBERS AREA Updated August 1st.

 
Navigation by WebRing.
 
 

Random Articles

 
 

Twitch Schedule

The Watchman's Retro Weekend
Saturdays @ Noon EST

Join The Watchman every Saturday for the best retro arcade and console games.


Special Events

None at this time

Be sure to subscribe and keep watch for emails about special streams.


 

What's Shakin' at the Bacon

elder grapeVariand Owner
CIO

Framework and several plugins updated. Several issues fixed. Let me or other admins know if you find goofy stuff
 

nerdberryNerdberry Owner
CEO

Everyone check out the awesome EVO footage coming through this week from theWatchman! He has put together some great stuff for yall
 

The WatchmanThe Watchman Owner
COO

Getting ready to leave for EVO! #timetogotoworkonlocation
 

InfiniteKnifeInfiniteKnife Twitch
Director

Thinking of doing a stream series soon. The theme: Retro games I never beat as a kid and want to try again. Thoughts?
 

Sign in to update your status
 

Recent Comments

  • Nerdberry
    Nerdberry: Thanks for showing us the awesome footage! Those polling stations are nuts man, especially all those old CRT TVs…
     
  • Nerdberry
    Nerdberry: Woot woot have fun Baconeers!…
     
  • Nerdberry
    Nerdberry: Not to brag, guys, but I totally wrote this in early 2016 and Sega seems to be doing a lot……
     
  • Nerdberry
    Nerdberry: @ZB: it's a helluva game! And did you notice I threw in a little Dynamite Headdy for ya?!…
     
  • Nerdberry
    Nerdberry: Hi Beverly. No I have not tried that! This article was really focused at bacon brands that go to larger……
     
  • Beverly: I forgot to mention Wal Mart in Tega Cay, SC had few packages out and none in the back and……
     
  • Beverly: Well you haven't tried the bacon in Virginia, Essential Everyday found in Bedford at Vista Market, a small family grocery……
     
  • ZB
    ZB: So glad to see Gunstar Heroes on this list. I almost beat that game a month and a half……
     
 
Why Inside Is The First Game That Can Be Truly Defined As Art

Why Inside Is The First Game That Can Be Truly Defined As Art

Before his death in 2013, renowned film critic, Roger Ebert, penned a diatribe on his position as to why he didn’t think video games qualified as art.

In his 2010 piece, written mostly as a rebuttal to an unconvincingly constructed defense of the medium by Kellee Santiago at one of those pseudo-intellectual TED Talks events, Ebert contended that the very nature of games, with their definitive sets of rules and end-goals, disqualifies them from being considered as works of art. After all, he argues, one wouldn’t consider chess or baseball to be works of art.

SISKEL  EBERT (aka SISKEL  EBERT AT THE MOVIES), Roger Ebert, 1986-2010. (c)Buena Vista Television/courtesy Everett Collection

SISKEL EBERT (aka SISKEL EBERT AT THE MOVIES), Roger Ebert, 1986-2010. (c)Buena Vista Television/courtesy Everett Collection

Ebert makes the bold assertion that “no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

Of course, to completely disqualify video gaming as art, one must be able to provide an absolute definition of what art is; and therein lies the problem – there really can’t be a definitive explanation of what constitutes art, because the very nature of art is based off of the perspective of both the creator and the consumer.

no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

While the creator of something may have their own viewpoint that they are trying to get across, or emotion that they are trying to illicit from the user, there is no guarantee that whomever views that particular work will have the intended experience. And that’s because the consumer can’t help but approach a piece with their own perspectives based off the wealth of experiences had in their lives.

It’s this universal truth that led to the saying: “One man’s art is another man’s trash.”

My lovely girlfriend Lauren has given me probably the best, most definitive explanation of what art is:

Art can be described as something that is not necessary for human survival, but a creative work that enriches that journey through a sharing of emotion and experiences via the artists medium.”

That work can be done either singularly, or collaboratively, and it doesn’t always have to be a thing of beauty. Art can be shocking and provocative; designed to provoke a conversation about the current condition of the world.

The description of something being “artistic” can also apply to fine workmanship.

The craftsmanship of a rocking chair may be considered artistic, however, does that same definition make the actual chair itself a work of art?

The craftsmanship of a rocking chair may be considered artistic, however, does that same definition make the actual chair itself a work of art?

The Sistine Chapel and the Taj Mahal are just two examples of collaborative, yet functional works, which stand out as shining examples of their craft.

And it’s this description that has most aptly applied to electronic entertainment.

Art can be described as something that is not necessary for human survival, but a creative work that enriches that journey through a sharing of emotion and experiences via the artists medium.”

Although there is a near-infinite intangibility factor in describing what makes a game good, we can still tell the artistic, finely-crafted standouts like Super Mario 64, from the pedestrian efforts of something like Bubsy 3D.

Likewise, the emergence of the independent developer has broken down many of the development barriers that previously existed, allowing more voices and more games, many of which have had true artistic merit.

Journey is one example often cited as a game that could be considered to be a work of art. While Journey certainly succeeded at invoking an emotional response from the player through a demonstrative narrative, (that is, the story wasn’t acted out as plot points, ala a film. Rather, it was demonstrated to you and organically unfolded as you progressed.) its story was still definitive. Parts of the players’ journey were open to interpretation, however, the designers still had a clear-cut arch that they wanted you to experience.

While I consider a game like Journey to be an artistic work, it’s not quite as definitive an example of a work of art, and someone like the late Roger Ebert could still refute its merits as such.

Artistic qualities in the craft of creating a game, or “artistic merits” are not the points that Ebert was arguing against in his article. His point was that although there are fine games that are out there, none had yet reached his criteria of what could be considered art.

Journey.Game_.full_.1293648

Journey is a game that is often cited as a game that could be considered as a work of art.

Had Ebert lived another six years, he may have had to re-examine his argument had he seen the indie title, Inside.

At its heart, Inside is a platform/puzzle game, and one could cynically argue that like all games, the point is to get through the damn thing and see the end; however, it’s in how Inside approaches its’ narrative and player progression that distinguishes it as something greater than simply being a piece of entertainment.

Inside doesn’t feed you anything in terms of plot, or any other set-up that we normally see in video games.

You begin as a young boy, tumbling into a clearing in the woods. The atmosphere is dark and foreboding, with hints of light that pierce through the walls of the trees. You see two shadowy figures with flashlights, obviously searching the foliage for something, and you know: You just know that they are searching for you. Instinct takes over and you do your best to hide and avoid the gaze of their light. Failure to pass undetected results in swift and shocking death. Shocking, not because of excessive gore, but because of the speed and precision at which the brutality is served, along with the shock-value of watching a digital adult rushing over to choke a ten-year-old child to death.

Why would they do this?

Has the boy done something to deserve this swift punishment?

Inside offers you nothing in the way of exposition or justification for its events.

Inside offers you nothing in the way of exposition or justification for its events.

Instead of trying to offer any sort of explanation as to what is going on, Inside says and does absolutely nothing at all to justify itself. It just lets the player keep going – keep discovering, as this lonely boy makes his way through the game’s dystopian world.

Progression through that world is seamless. There are no traditional video game “levels” to speak of – no breaks in your journey. Inside takes you from that initial wooded area, to industrial centers and submerged relics of the history created for the game.

It just lets the player keep going – keep discovering, as this lonely boy makes his way through the game’s dystopian world.”

And as you progress through that journey, more questions about your surroundings arise: not because of heavy-handed exposition, but rather, a natural curiosity within the player to figure things out and make sense of what they are seeing.

Inside’s inhabitants raise even more questions in desperate need of answers.

Some of them, as in the initial encounters of the game, are hell-bent on eliminating you on-site, while others are

Some inhabitants of Inside carry on as mindless drones. But what does it signify?

Some inhabitants of Inside carry on as mindless drones. But what does it signify?

passive – merely spectators watching events unfold. Some of these people are obviously adults, holding the hands of their children as they take in the off-putting spectacle. It’s an unspoken, unsettling commentary to see a family watching as other humans are marched mindlessly in front of them – made to stop and perform simple commands, such as a single hop, or turning in place, under penalty of instant death if they fall out of step with the rest of the herd.

The brilliance of Inside is that it relies on your own natural curiosity to ask those questions and to provide your own rationalization for the environment that you’re in.

And those questions only grow more intense as the game reaches its crescendo.

I don’t want to spoil the endgame for you, but rest assured, you will continue to ask questions, because it never seeks to actually provide you with an answer.

And it’s that lack of resolution that raises Inside into the realm of high art.

Inside’s provocative, at times, shocking nature forces players to interpret everything for themselves, which leads to very personal experiences.

I played Inside with a friend over the course of two evenings, and when we finished, both of us had very different interpretations as to the meaning of the game – even though we both experienced the exact same play through in the exact same room.  I could also see arguments as to other meanings derived from the game’s conclusion, however, the beauty of Inside is that all of these viewpoints are valid.

SPOILER WARNING


*To me, the child represents the independent person. The perilous journey on which he embarks is representative of our having to navigate through the rigorous conformity of corporate life. The zombie-like drones that he encounters; those people who have no will of their own, are those who have succumbed to that conformity. Their lack of free-will, which allows you the opportunity to guide them and use them to your advantage, is emblematic of their desire to just “make it through the day”.

The relentless adversaries, who stop at nothing to immediately kill you, are those guardians of the corporate regime. They have sold themselves to the point that they now buy into the corporate line, and will do everything to defend it. Your existence as an independent person – a thinker who is not willing to have their mind tamed, is a threat to the power structure to whom they have sold their soul.

As for the amorphous blob that you encounter, and eventually merge with at the end – To me this represents an idea, or a passion. Something radical, dangerous even. However, its nebulous nature means that the idea has yet to fully take shape or solidify into something tangible. Its residence in a holding tank is symbolic of the idea being held in committee. Left there to endlessly be tweaked and debated by the corporate structure until the impact that it could have out in the wild is diminished. This creates the purpose for the independent thinker. His role is to break that idea out of its eternal holding tank, and let it lose into the world to either live or die on its own.

And to me, that is what Inside’s ending ultimately represents. This idea – this free spirit, finally broken out of its incubation prison, can either thrive on the beach, or it can rot in the sun.*


End of Spoilers

But, those are just my thoughts on what Inside meant to me, based on my struggles and disenfranchisement with my own journey through corporate, 9-to-5 hell. Someone else playing, with life experiences vastly different from my own, could, and rightfully should infer an entirely different experience and meaning from the game.

Inside’s provocative, at times, shocking nature forces players to interpret everything for themselves, which leads to very personal experiences.”

The designers who created Inside no doubt, have a completely different interpretation of the meaning of their work. More intriguing, however, is the prospect that the designers actually did not have any deeper parable in mind when developing the game; opting instead to create a work that is completely open to debate.

The fact that Inside can provide different meanings to those playing, without forcing its answers is a remarkable achievement for a piece of interactive entertainment. An achievement that approaches, and in many ways supersedes the esteemed art of the cinema, to which Roger Ebert devoted his life’s work.

inside robots

The interactive nature of video games gives the medium an amazing potential for artistic expression that movies can’t duplicate. While humans, as emphatic creatures, grow attached to characters in both games and movies, the ability to project ourselves onto a game character is somewhat greater because we are in direct control of that character, instead of just witnessing the actions of a character in a movie. The greater the ability to project ourselves in that manner, the greater the potential for a connection between the ideas of the artist, and the consumer, becomes.

Inside’s greatest achievements lie in its ambiguity, the curiosity it draws from the player towards its surroundings, and the trust that the designer has in us the player, to draw meaning from our own experiences to create our own story, and connect with that character.

“While humans, as emphatic creatures, grow attached to characters in both games and movies, the ability to project ourselves onto a game character is somewhat greater because we are in direct control of that character, instead of just witnessing the actions of a character in a movie.”

And isn’t that, at its heart, what art is supposed to do? Provide an impetus for debate and discussion, not only with our fellow man that is also experiencing a particular piece, but also a debate with one’s own preconceived notions and ways of thinking as well?

To someone like me, who is not fulfilled by his 9-5 corporate gig, aspects of Inside's settings create a very personal connection.

To someone like me, who is not fulfilled by his 9-5 corporate gig, aspects of Inside’s settings create a very personal connection.

If those are the criteria by which we judge something as art, then how can one not include Inside within the ranks of that definition? By denying Inside’s rightful place in the pantheon of “art”, one would have to reconsider an uncomfortable number of works that currently enjoy that distinction.

I have no doubt that this is why the team at Playdead decided to title their work: Inside. Because ultimately, the answer to all of the game’s polysemy resides inside each and every one of us.

I noted previously the saying: “One man’s art is another man’s trash”. There is another old saying that more eloquently espouses that philosophy: “art is in the eye of the beholder”.

So too is the meaning and story that could be derived from Inside. It is an exceptional masterpiece of thoughtful design that raises the bar of what can be experienced within the realm of interactive entertainment. A work that can’t help but be colored by our own experiences and lives, and whose meaning could eternally be debated, or even change as the player’s own journey through life takes twists and turns.

If that isn’t the very definition of what art is, then I’m not sure what is.

I think Ebert would have to agree.

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman


The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at thewatchman@nerdbacon.com
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
You can also game with me!
Look me up on Xbox Live @ DJKhadoken
Or on PlayStation Network @ Eaglevision_dl

 
 

Share This Post

2 Comments

  1. Awesome read.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the de-emphasis on story and exposition; when the player is told nothing, but instead shown and forced to experience events, they come up with their own conclusions, each as different as the people that experience it.

     
  2. Wow, DK. This is awesome. I’ve not played or even heard of Inside until now. But now I have to play it. I remember the first game I felt was art was Shadow of the Colossus. I labeled it art at the time because I could see and feel the hours of work put into the environment, animations, creatures, characters and story. I could tell that the game was meant to be experienced and not just played. That’s what this reminds me of: A game to be experienced, not simply played. Excellent read; I’m definitely going to look into Inside.

     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *