Highbrow High Score

The Art of Gaming Intellectually

Archive for September 2010

My Favorite Pieces

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Hello, thank you for joining me again!

As I mentioned last post, I’ll be discussing some of my favorite pieces of literature and gaming and hopefully, relay to you how these are choice pieces of art. As a forewarning, this post (and others in the future) may contain spoilers.

I would like to start with my favorite book. Though it may not be an epic piece by any means, the English translation of  Antoine De  Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince was the first book I fell in love with when I was in 6th grade.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a “children’s” book that follows a pilot whose plane has crashed in the Sahara desert. He meets a little boy who both frustrates him and helps him uncover a better understanding of himself.

This book is one that I have read time and time again and never cease to gain something new from it. We see, through the Prince’s eyes, what it’s like to be a child. Through the pilot’s, we see what of that is lost with age. It is a timeless story of fantasy with a deeper understanding of human nature than its target age group would suggest.

Without a doubt, The Little Prince is one of the most beloved pieces of children’s literature from the past 100 years because its messages are universal and its appeal does not fade with childhood.

While childhood innocence lost is a major theme of this book, my favorite video game’s message could be more difficult to pin down.

Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 is considered by many gamers to be one of the premiere examples of the “survival horror” genre for a myriad of reasons. Number one being it’s actually scary. The game manages to create an atmosphere of dense fog, darkness, and psychological horror quite unlike any other game of its time.

Throughout Silent Hill 2, James is confronted with very serious issues of guilt, taboo, and death and must face their physical manifestations in Silent Hill. We play as James, a widower who receives a letter from his long-since deceased wife Mary, claiming she is “waiting” for him in Silent Hill. Early in the game, James is introduced to Maria – a hyper-sexualized version of his Mary.

The atmosphere, story, and music of this game combine to make one of the most immersive gaming experiences I have yet to come across. I’ve played this game through several times and find myself noticing new aspects each time.

These two pieces have had quite an impact on my life and how I view art and literature in general. Both The Little Prince and Silent Hill 2 deal with startlingly core issues of human nature, albeit in very different ways. One might say that is one of the goals of art – to reflect our humanity back to us through fantasy.

Is this true? If so, would Silent Hill 2 or other video games be a part of that definition?

Please share your ideas, experiences, and thoughts on pieces of literature or video games that have challenged you in this way.

Also, thank you so much for all of your comments on my last post. It’s such a pleasure to see the ideas of my friends and peers! Keep ’em comin’!

-Rachel

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Written by highbrowhighscore

September 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Well, how do you do?

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Hello! Welcome to the first post!

My name is Rachel and I’ll be writing this blog.

I’m what some might call a “nerd.” While I recently graduated from a small liberal arts college with a degree in Writing, I’ve always been a gamer. I can recall my dad booting up “Doom II” on our old PC when I was about 7 and stealing my brother’s giant, gray GameBoy brick to play “Tetris” for hours… I guess it’s in my blood.

But, because my mom read an obscene amount of books (seriously – obscene), I was forced to spend a lot of my childhood in libraries and bookstores… What was I to do but read?! Two totally different nerds combined and I’m obviously my parent’s daughter. On a side note: Thanks for the glasses, Mom and Dad!

I suppose that’s why I want to start a blog. It’s obvious that the video game industry has taken a stronghold in recent generations and is a medium that is often vilified, rarely considered and mostly misunderstood by the “traditionalist” standards of arts or literature. Though this is not true for each and every video game ever made, the storytelling techniques, attention to detail, and audience engagement that some games deliver can be closely related to our current understanding of “the arts.”

What do you think? Are our games on the same cultural and intellectual level as our literature? Please leave comments and share your ideas and stories.

Next post, I’ll be discussing some of my favorite pieces, if you will, from both mediums and hopefully, some of yours as well!

-Rachel

Written by highbrowhighscore

September 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm