CP470 VGT SU14 Week3M2

Do you agree with Patrick Grogan’s analysis of Combat Flight Simulator 2? Why or why not? How might this approach be useful to talking about other games?

10 thoughts on “CP470 VGT SU14 Week3M2

  1. Austin Bennett

    Flight Simulators are plenty enough to be a genre? lol
    From my understanding, Grogan was attempting to say that combat games such as CFS2 abstract reality and do not provide a pure understanding of history, negative connotations and all. I’d also loop CFS2 into the genre of combat games rather than flight simulators, but that may just be a generalization of me.
    I agree with Patrick Grogan for the most part, and was very intrigued at the notion of the “victory agenda” ( i couldn’t find the exact phrase used) that American developers push onto their games. He talks about Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor, both of which I’ve seen, and I don’t really agree with his statement about SPR because of it’s mostly realistic representation of WWII combat, but I do agree that Pearl Harbor is an example that “narrative has become secondary to technology.” Truthful narrative, at that.
    I rescind my statement. I neither agree nor disagree with Mr. Grogan, because I think that some films haven’t made this sacrifice but some games do quite often. But I’d group in games the same way as I would with life. With so many choices, do you really pay attention to the narrative structure of games as you do with life? I think the keystones of the experience are in the visuals, with great cutscenes or non-play oriented events in the distance that provide both narrative and spectacle. I know some will argue with me that games have narrative structure that they adhere to and pay close attention too, and I’m not saying you can’t recount the story, but with games like MGSV coming, GTAV, and FPS games, can you really recall all of the different paths you have chosen through each play though? Games have a loose linear structure, while movies are unchangeable (here’s looking to you, Lucas, Stone, and Scott). This is a sloppy theory, so please feel free to comment on it and help refine it.
    I do however, agree that CFS2, though I’ve never played it, has the potential to distort history and tell the wrong side of things. This approach can be useful in talking about other games in the Combat genre that adhere closely to historical events, but as the primary sum of games are fictional, I’m not sure that it is entirely feasible to have this discussion with every game. I realize this was just a part of Grogan’s discussion, and this is my opinion, and i’m always open to constructive discussion!

    1. Ashley Cradeur

      I disagree with your statement about flight simulators not being considered a game genre because Microsoft Flight Simulators, Jane’s Advanced Warfare and Ace Combat all have releases in the double digits. Beyond visual and narrative, a game must have good game play to be successful. A game can be gorgeous looking and tell a great story but if it is not fun to play a gamer may not endure through all 20+ hours of the game, hypothetically speaking. Mine craft for example, has no narrative structure and “terrible” graphics yet it has been one of the most popular games over the past few years according to my research.

  2. Videogamerz

    Crogan’s analysis begins by identifying the “transformative potential in contemporary audiovisual culture”component of computer interactivity as the theoretical subject-matter of his paper (275). What he means by “transformative potential” involvers understanding the relationship between technological developments and consequences/influences on society. Because Crogan wishes to analyze CFS2, not only a flight simulator but the closely related genre-sibling of the wartime-flight simulator, Crogan references the research of Kittler (in the context of internet memes this does sound like Kitty-Hitler, a very real thing) and De Landa who demonstrate how war produces “major organizational and technological innovations that have flowed into civilian society” (277). It is mainly this relationship between advances in technology advance both war and civilian life, most notably by convoluting and mixing the two. Because technology is intimately related to war, and because technology is intimately related to civilian culture, civilian culture and war have increasingly intermingled.

    For me, the section of Crogan’s paper that most strongly advances his thesis is the section that examines the research exploring connections between war and cinema. Virilio, Crogan says, “examines the close relationship between the development of cinematic and military technology,” most obviously in the form of the camera. It is the invention of the camera that increasingly integrated intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. For Kittler, Crogan argues, “since the Napoleonic campaigns telecommunications and information systems have become themselves more than an adjunct to the conduct of warfare” (276). This “militarization of communication” (276) in conjunction with the development of cinema and the “cross-fertilization between military and private enterprise” (278) genealogically accounts for the fusion of video-games and war in contemporary “postindustrial” culture (292).

    Crogan weaves into this discussion a second analysis concerning the subjugation of narrative in video games and cinema to the spectacle of special effects driven by technological (again mostly in terms of audio-visual/camera development) innovations. In his introduction he characterizes this subjugation as “the process of superseding narrative form by rendering it secondary to the prerogatives of interactive interface design, computer-mediated interactivity tends toward a construction of temporal experience…” (275). He further writes, “CFS2 re-deploys narrative but does not therefore abandon it, something that is made most apparent by the structuring role the ‘cut-scenes’ fulfill in providing a progressing through the extended Campaign mode of gameplay” (282). This is similar to a problem I ran into when playing Injustice: Gods Among US, a DC universe game that interjects cutscenes in-between arcade style fights. This form is a poor way of injecting narrative into a video game, but one may profitably reconceptualize the task as injecting an engaging interactive element into an otherwise mundane and ordinary animated cartoon.

    Further, Crogan supports his claim that contemporary audio-visual culture has subjugated the role of narrative to the spectacle of technological and special effects innovations by pointing to the film Pearl Harbor. Like CFS2, Pearl Harbor plays both with historical representation and temporal experience through manipulative and overly-gratuitous use of special effects in lieu of narrative achievement.

    1. Ryan Freels

      The fact that war has been one of the main reasons for our technology is a very troubling prospect for me. It is like saying people have to die so that civilian life can progress in convenience and entertainment, and that is revealing of a horrifying addiction to war. And it spread like a genetic infection. It is in the technology, and then the films and video games it produces. Our audiovisual culture in the end is full of the images and sounds of war.

  3. Parrish Colbert

    I agree with his analysis and the idea of pure war has always been there but until now I don’t think I’ve heard of someone embody it in a word. It makes sense for it to be increasing in western culture and our cinema and gaming culture is somewhat product of that. I think he differenciated artificial life simulators and first persons well because I can see contextually where that confusion would lie. Manovich said that “For better or for worse, information has become key a key activity in the computer age” and I agree. However with this information that we do have of simulators and as it continues to grow i think we should push for better rather than for worse obsessing over war and catastrophe like we have been.

    1. Ryan Freels

      I agree, I like how it was embodied in that word. I Think alone the problem in gaming would be obvious and worthy of intellectually discourse, but that fact that it is so rampant in cinema shows how at large it is. I feel that theme transcends form, and it being so present shows a cultural issue that olds impact on everything. I also agree that it is time to push for better.

  4. Garretkay Willis Bonner

    It can be a complex position because it was a mix of different people’s opinions but I would agree that it is a good example of the pure war concept in that war games in general seem to be useful in preparing people. The way it was described is somewhat reminiscent of Ender’s Game where children were given a series of “games” to play and it turned out to be strategies that could be used for real time war. I also do agree with him for his comments on how in those simulation type of games that narration can come in second place compared to the actual game play. How this approach may be useful to describe other games in the broad category of computer games is that certain other types of computer games do the same thing of putting the narrative of the game below the interactivity.

  5. Ryan Freels

    I was very intrigued by this article. I feel I overall agreed that in a lot of video games, the narrative is second fiddle to the game play. I like that it is pointed out that in doing this we have helped placed the notions of war and peace time at post-modernist questioning, and it is hard to pin down an identity on peace time. With so much obsession over war is it really peace time? This is support shows up all over media, both in theory and technology, what with technology existing because of war and some many films (ranging from John Wayne films to Th Expendables), television, and literature focused on it. Even when it a brilliant film on the subject, the fact that it exists and(or) needs to exists gives weight to the issue. As to whether or not ergodic time or narrative are better terms, I think ergodic time covers many games better overall (there are tons of narrative in some games, like JRPGs) , but even in games without a strict or intended narrative, one can formulate in the players minds as they play. Some times when I played Super Smash Bros. as a child, before there was a narrative like in Brawl, I would invent my own as to why characters were facing off.

    A game that can be critically viewed by tis argument is Wolfenstein 3D. I know already discussed this in my Video Gaming Diary, but it reflects the problems like a Hardees commercial reflects sexual objectification. The game is about fighting the Nazi’s, but in it lack of interest in story over game play, it constructed a very contradictory message, that being one that celebrates power fantasies through an Aryan avatar, relishing in notions of white, blonde haired, blue eyed, masculine power despite being a game about fighting Nazis. It maintained war and totally disregarded morality, a bad combination. Again, I get that in this day and age Nazis are pretty self-explantory villains. People know what they did. But the fact that we take time with such a power fantasy and not historical context sends a completely contradicting message.

    Another example of this work is the first Super Smash Bros. Any sense of given narrative is in the opening and the finale, and that narrative can be summed up as Toy Story meets Fight Club minus the food for thought (or intended food for thought). This game is pretty rapped up in, to paraphrase Manovich, occupying the illusion of mise-en-scene, and fulfilling and algorithem based on the data, and that is to beat the competing players based on the objective of victory. While there is no war, its broadens the issue further into violence. Though I suppose the issue of violence could be argued as a more abstract war, without a particular identity to defeat and win the war.

  6. Stefan Grimsley

    I can agree with Crogan’s analysis up to a point. Yes I can see the correlation between today’s top first person shooters and war. Though I do not see them as simulations to prepare the mind to react during a combat situation. I feel like Crogan is right about the use of historically accurate models during game play. I feel like this is because a historically accurate prop is easier for a player to remove himself from reality and into the game. Though I do not see the accurateness of the props to be a correlation with the maintaining of a military mindset. Today’s first person shooters, which USED to use the general algorithm to test the player until the level is mastered has become rather obsolete in today’s first person shooter. Todays games though they use the same historically accurate military simulation, the games have now turned to a multiplayer strong play style. No longer is the player tested against algorithms until level completion but is now tested against human thought. Strategy is now ever evolving far from military capacity. Military simulation used in preparation for war stays inside the realms of reality where as the games played today in that style stay far outside of said realm. I can see this theory being applied to other games in a mass blanket of violence being necessary to complete an objective, but I still feel like we should look into why the violence is necessary to complete the objective and also entertain the gamer and instead of turning to the military and war as the answer, we should explore a different approach.

  7. Clark Faust

    Grogan examines how the gameplay of Combat Flight Simulator 2 was temporally episodic. He compares CFS2 to films like Pearl Harbor and Saving Private Ryan to demonstrate how the gameplay is cinematic in its nature. I agree with this comparison of cinema to gameplay, in particular to war games. Missions in war games are extremely episodic with exposition, rising action and a definite conclusion (mission accomplished or death).

    In regards to the notion of games preparing us for war situations I can agree to a point. Yes there games that are sponsored by the military to evaluate and recruit potential soldiers. Flight-simulation games could prepare modern soldiers for piloting drone strikes. War simulations help remove the person from the soldier and make war feel more like a game than reality for soldiers.

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