Conventions and difficulty

Just reading a bunch of reviews and essays I come across this in a London Review of Books essay on computer games by John Lanchester:

“Northrop Frye once observed that all conventions, as conventions, are more or less insane; Stanley Cavell once pointed out that the conventions of cinema are just as arbitrary as those of opera. Both those observations are brought to mind by video games, which are full, overfull, of exactly that kind of arbitrary convention. Many of these conventions make the game more difficult. Gaming is a much more resistant, frustrating medium than its cultural competitors. Older media have largely abandoned the idea that difficulty is a virtue; if I had to name one high-cultural notion that had died in my adult lifetime, it would be the idea that difficulty is artistically desirable. It’s a bit of an irony that difficulty thrives in the newest medium of all – and it’s not by accident, either. One of the most common complaints regular gamers make in reviewing new offerings is that they are too easy. (It would be nice if a little bit of that leaked over into the book world.)”

I’m not sure if I totally agree with this (but I’m not a gamer), but as a quote I like it.

art,en,quotations,reading matter | January 30, 2009 | 0:30 | Comments Off on Conventions and difficulty |


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