Sort of reverse-engineering the discussion around Firewatch has led me to believe that the current brand of video game anti-intellectualism (gameplay good, difficulty good, accessibility bad, games must have value) is spurred on by modern conservative anti-intellectualism on art (conservative art good, leftist art bad, analysis bad, art must have value)
Ironically, "video games are art" has created an entire subculture of gamers who view games how conservatives view traditional art, especially in the realm of analysis.
There is a common thread here that Art is "supposed to" get its meaning from strong values and underlying principles. That's why art of jesus is "good," but Piss Christ (1987) is "bad." Sure, this art is "bad" because it's harmful to the state of conservatism, but there's more than that...
...because something like Piss Christ demands to be analyzed, and so then spurs on the further analysis of tangentially related work. Piss Christ asks, WHY is this not acceptable when traditional depictions of Jesus are? WHAT does that mean for the things that you deem acceptable? HOW are you willing to defend your status quo? And so on and so forth.
There's just one problem;
Conservatives hate art analysis.
The principle here is clear. Analysis, from the conservative view, is a tool to elevate "bad" art to mediocrity and disenfranchise "good" art by exposing it to unneeded criticism.
So, Firewatch is a "Bad Game" with a "Bad Ending." Analyzing that ending elevates it, acknowledges it, accepts it as it is instead of considering it a failure. So "Bad Ending" is taken as presumed fact, and the discussion of the game shifts to be about VALUES. (Conservatives love values.)
Firewatch is "bad" because it's underwhelming. (Weak values.) Dark Souls is "good" because inaccessibility is a value in and of itself. (Lowering difficulty therefore reduces value.)
And when everything is about moral/monetary/social/intellectual values, and analysis is scoffed at, conservatives have the leg up over leftists.
A lot of radical and/or anti-conservative art gets thrown in the gutter without analysis in an attempt to devalue it. That's not a coincidence.
@outie Kinda. Gamergate's hypothetical purpose was to crack down on what the Nazis called "degenerate art," so... basically anti-state or anti-conservative art; the kind created by anarchists, rebels, social minorities, you get the idea.
For Gamergate this meant games that were low-intensity, high-concept. Especially games made by women, and ESPECIALLY games made by women of color. Gone Home and Depression Quest are the quintessential examples.
So, harrass the creators, devalue their work...
@outie ...and effectively nip "degenerate game development" in the bud.
However, like most modern fascist movements, Gamergate operated as a collective with no real assigned leader. And because nobody was actually keeping it held to its intended purpose, it picked up tons and tons of auxiliary nonsense with it and eventually became a big pseudofascist melting pot of conservatives and liberals "just asking questions" while the actual fascists doxxed and abused a lot of women...
@outie ...which of course, led to a very strange and unorthodox success story for the fascists. Gamergate was then co-opted by many, many more serious fascist movements for use as actual "war tactics," which influences their methods to this day.
If you're interested in deeper analysis of Gamergate and its ideology, Dan Olson did an old but good video about it (https://youtu.be/5VtjZHC5Qyk) and Innuendo Studios did an entire series on fascist tactics in the internet age. (https://youtu.be/4xGawJIseNY)
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