I was recently doing a mystery games bout for a spot of fun, danger, and excitement, and after playing five different games whose solutions were no more complex than “shoot weapon of gun”, being forced to spend fifty minutes of serious mental strain completing puzzles that the creator described as “very easy” is an easy way to take the piss out of anybody who thinks they’re hot shit at video games.
Having spent twenty minutes on a single puzzle, at which point I had to bring out pen and paper, I decided that if this was the type of thing smart people spent their time on, I’d rather be as dumb as a brick shooting demons in Hell. The whole time I was solving that I was replaying the @dril Racist Mensa tweet in my head. I didn’t even want to join regular Mensa!
I checked the race results and found four different results which amounted to a lynch mob of puzzle games in general. One of the comments said “I’m dumb”, followed by a forfeit. Buddy, I’m with you. There’s no shame in being bested by a superior foe.
How humbling it must be for the puzzle to just be a collection of bytes, while I’m over here in my flesh and blood making positive changes in the world. Stop laughing.
I got a real hard–on for Shane Frost, in the most sexually neutral way I can describe. Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation described Killer7 as a technicolour dreamcoat with swooped by and enriched the lives of everybody who but caught a glimpse of it. While this furthers my theory that Yahtzee has shit taste due to not immediately seeing the problem of a precision shooter on the GameCube, Shane Frost is a bit like that description, only his stories actually make sense and don’t have cutscenes that take two minutes to describe game mechanics that would have fit into a single–line text box. Every two minutes.
The older you get and the more you expose yourself to unique experiences, the more you realise that everyone’s tastes are really fucking weird. Sometimes you’ll find someone who’s entirely into glam metal and disco, and catch them sneaking a peek at an Eminem single. You’ll typically find online art consumers who enjoy beefy, detailed, traditionalist artwork, yet still find their hearts melting when it comes to a cartoon of a rabbit. Trying to discern somebody’s entire palette based on a trend they enjoy is only scratching the surface; it takes effort to truly understand what they value and what they actively decide to express as worthy of their admiration.
I believe that, at their core, everybody falls into four different categories of criticism, for even though not everybody has the depth of experience to discern what’s “quality”, using the artistic rules and principles built up over decades to give a fair recommendation, they may still create opinions. The readability of those opinions depend on the skill of the writer and how much of their knowledge they give to the audience, because art isn’t set in stone, but instead set in some very good suggestions that may only be broken carefully.
There are four types of people in this world, and though I can’t claim this is a perfect system, it is a decent one. There’s the pragmatist, who has hard and fast rules on what’s worthy of their attention and are quick to bring down judgement on art that violates those rules. The hippie is always looking out for fresh and unique experience, no matter what flaws that experience has, a bit of an “arthouse” type. The producer makes judgement based on how effective the art uses the medium, appreciating anything that makes them think “I really wish I had made that!” And there’s the everyman, who is just looking for a good time. You don’t want to be him; he’s a bit of a dump class, the default for when you haven’t developed any specialisations.
Yahtzee there above would be a four–star pragmatist, with but a dash of hippie thrown in there, considering his undying admiration for certain games which should have, not going to name any names, Undertale, who said that? Despite his notorious reputation for being a harsh critic, he really is just pointing out basic flaws in games, which is a sad sign for the rest of society when stuff like “don’t pad out the good bits with mindless filler” isn’t a sin worthy of the stocks.
I consider myself a five–star pragmatist, with whatever stars Yahtzee scooped up recommending Earthbound instead of something decent like LISA going towards my “producer” stat, because this is now the wish fulfillment fantasy of an RPG–playing nerd as opposed to being an art curator, and therefore only slightly less of a nerd. There’s something to be said about making games that are specifically designed for a particular demographic, so a nerd like Yahtzee can play Dark Souls all he wants despite being like Hotline Miami but a hundred times slower. Welcome to the 10kB Gallery, where the pictures don’t matter and we’re comparing apples to bananas, because apples have that disgusting peel on them, and bananas give you assault rifles.
While the analogy above primarily applies to mediums with a great deal of audience involvement, like books, games, and movies, it also applies to a lesser extent for static artwork, which is what we had in the Scary Days before everyone was literate and could get television in their head before television was a thing, offloading the hard work of thinking onto the talking heads (no, not those ones). I’d feel bad for being so stereotypically pretentious, but if you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already got a good brain on you. You know how I know that? Because you’re reading from me!
I’m an pragmatist and an artist and I expect to be until I die. I am young in body but old in spirit and I am grateful for having a very long life ahead of me, grateful for having lived it, and grateful for having many decades to continue living it. I have developed a good deal of taste, and I expect to develop it further. I can see at an instant whether or not something is worth spending your time looking at, and especially if it’s worth talking about. And the work of this kind artist is especially worth doing both.
For while I am a pragmatist, with my rules unwritten as of now which dictate how to make truly good work, they fade in comparison to what the world continues to show me. Everybody has a plan until they set it in action, and then it disappears. Whatever plans I have to talk about the composition of the artist’s work pales when it comes to actually seeing their work. It is describable only in the most rudimentary forms, and this is one of their most rudimentary works. It’s a work that needs no introduction; rabbits are always lovely like that.
You know, I always feel bad for somebody who says “sorry if I’m not making any sense”, because the instant they say a thing like that, it means they are either too lazy to make sure that what they write does make sense, or it shows that they have no confidence whatsoever in what they’ve written. Apologising for your work gives your enemies permission to hurt you. Your work may not be the best, but it is up to you to self–reflect and to improve, and to never place the burden on your fans to decide whether or not it makes sense to them.
Well, I’ll be blunt here when I say I have no idea what Shane is on about most of the time. His work creates worlds that are never fleshed out nor do I have any real desire to have them created. Everything that he does is like capturing a snapshot of a dream filled with brief moments of brilliant lucidity, with whatever moments of sober self–reflection that comes from waking up sticking with you in some part of your body that you never visit, only to remember that they exist some time down the line. To comprehend a dream is to ignore what a dream is: one of the very few things in the world we have yet to explain, and there is beauty in this experience, though totally secular, feeling divine.
Though I am not a hippie by any means, I understand that one must, on occasion, cast aside tradition and understand that there is art that has no business applying our proud pantheon of standards to, because to be able to defy these standards is a sign of brilliance. It matters not to me if the work is incomprehensible, for it is accessible enough — and more importantly, fascinating — for me to care about what happens with it. It’s a bit like music. I have no idea why a series of tones cause my brain to go haywire, but then I don’t know why any of my senses work at all.
And then when the artist tries their hand at something a bit more coherent, such as their comics, it’s like being interrupted by a very rude alarm and hastily gathering whatever dreams you had before they slip away and you’re stuck lying there with your silly colours of the real world. The silliness of Shane is obvious in their work, and though the character types are familiar from comic to comic, they aren’t entirely unwelcome. It’s surprising to see how effective some of their stories can be when they put their mind to it. Stories with morals, and not stories for the sake of telling a story, are a bit of a foreign embassy to me.
I’m proud that they don’t apologise for what they do, because there is nothing to apologise for, and if a person does not wish to reap the benefits of what they sow, then they are a lost cause. I have dealt many times with ignorant people, for sleep, death, and ignorance are the two certainties in this world, and I will never get rid of them the same as you may never. I understand full well that what I or this artist does is not for everyone, and indeed I understand my attitude towards them will turn off some people from looking at their work for fear of the spiritualist woo, though let’s use our common sense. If you like me, and I know you do because you’re reading me, then you’ll like some of what I like. Simple, simple, stuff.
Well, it is late, and though I will not apologise for what I have written, I will state that I could stand to be a bit more practical and expand my thoughts in–depth as opposed to this cursory shotgun blast of ideas and forms and other confusing what–have–yous, like they were eggs that needed to be bred before they hatch into something useful. And then the metaphors are always a warning sign that I’m off my rocker. At the very least, bent people are more interesting than straight people, which is why Berlin is a notoriously lively place (CUE LAUGH TRACK, WOMEN FALLING OUT OF THE RAFTERS).
Date: 2017–03–04. Size: 4,492 bytes. Colours: 4.
Upscaled Dimensions: 399×712. Original Dimensions: 399×712.