Sin, Apocalypse, Cash: The Beginner’s Guide - part 3

Bridging Worlds is artist Eron Rauch’s ongoing series of in-depth articles on the curious places of connection between video games, contemporary art, and culture. This is the third part of a four-part essay on The Beginner's Guide - part one and two can be found here

“One of the greatest things about being an artist is, as you get older, if you keep working hard in relationship to what you want the world to be and how you want it to become, there is a history of interesting growth that resonates with different moments in your life.“ -Catherine Opie

In last week’s installment of “Sin, Apocalypse, Cash” I discussed ways that replaying The Beginner’s Guide provides expanded choices for audiences to interact with the game, and how those supposed choices are still mired in a simplistic and antisocial framework for art. Yet, let’s approach The Beginner’s Guide again from another angle to see if there is perhaps another, less obvious, social interface that is happening.

First let’s take stock of what the game has going for it: Well, this video game-cum-art project certainly manages to come across on the surface as too clever for the “norms”, and frightens them because they think it is (probably) a trap. What underground fan doesn’t like a little bit of projected danger? By almost all critical accounts the game has a few striking visual images worth scrutinizing. The Beginner’s Guide also seems to have a nice air of rebellion about it, since it seems to be designed to sow doubt on the critical establishment. On top of that, like any good horror film, it possibly has one big conceptual flip if we're willing to say that that first screen about audio is worth considering. It also foregrounds the avantgarde ideas of unreliable narrator and updates them a bit for the digital era.

I, at 35, shrug and go “Whatever, man. I know all this shit already. Get your head out of your ass.” But maybe I’m not its audience. Maybe after play-through number three The Beginner’s Guide should make me feel bored and annoyed. Maybe it is so defensive because it needs the freedom to discover these ideas for itself, for its generation.

And maybe, more than a trap, more than conceptual art, more than a cheap trick, more than a failure, maybe, just maybe, The Beginner’s Guide’s is just a really naive and flawed attempt to build room for generations below mine; a true Guidebook for Beginners, a Beginner’s Bible, in the sense that it is trying to Begin Again with a new generation of gamers. This mindset is on clear display when you start to tally the incredible frequency with which the narrator asserts large parts of the game are not made for you-the-audience.

To frame this new perspective on The Beginner’s Guide more specifically, maybe I’m just too old. After all, the creator is about 10 years younger than me, and I certainly went through a world of problems in my mid 20s. Maybe his angst is real. Mine was (even if it seems misguided now). Maybe his fans, younger again than the creator, give him conciliatory blow jobs in convention hotel rooms hoping to cheer him up. Maybe they think he’s smart and serious and deep-as-fuck. I mean, that’s certainly a narrative that is par for the course with most of the other arts from music to theater to painting to poetry.

Maybe, everything else aside, this game is aimed at people who think Sephiroth is a really relatable #edgelord. Specifically, the narratively reimagined hand-writing of the Wreden-narrator aside, Wreden’s real-life company is no Tale of Tales, who infamously quit the video game world to enter the broader art world. In fact, despite framing itself as a misunderstood outsider, The Beginner’s Guide won great critical acclaim, and made a number of best-of-the-year lists. It is a very successful game by most criteria. This is a game that can be seen as speaking to, or at least at, the video gaming community.

All bullshit hyperbole aside, if I played The Beginner’s Guide when I was 16 I probably would have thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was always wobbling along, being depressed, making art about being depressed, wrapped in deriving meaning from what I saw to be a masochistic emotional landscape existing simply to pile on pain and misunderstanding. I had all those same fatalistic Romantic notions of art and life and suffering and sex and mental illness that young male artists of the avantgarde tend to get told combine to form a properly serious artistic worldview.

The Beginner’s Guide might seem so defensive because it was designed to challenge and then annihilate all comers spectacularly.

If we were to step back a bit and disabuse ourselves of the assumption that The Beginner’s Guide’s audience is a mature art audience, despite its constant engagement with quaintly naive avantgarde tropes. But what audience would be so egotistical as to be able to completely ignore all of the unending protests and tirades about being “not for you” and still internalize that, yes, it is all about them? Which is to say, any precociously artsy nerd teenager.

Even more, maybe we can see something much grander from the simple observation that this video game, made by a 24 year old, seems so defensive because it was designed to challenge and then annihilate all comers spectacularly. What if The Beginner’s Guide is explicitly a giant “fuck you” to your (my) Marios, to your Lego Star Wars, to your Sonics, to your Final Fantasies, to your Dooms, and to the whole of the festering, constipated bowels that has become the game “industry” and “fandom”?

The Beginner’s Guide might just be a move straight out of Phillip K. Dick at his worst: an apocalypse happens and everyone’s body and spirit are destroyed but are reformed in some virtual space and has to go on living with new rules. With a whole new group of gamers who start, begin, a new lineage of games rediscovering these (to me rudimentary and juvenile) meta-art understandings. The whole game is the trigger for an honest but painful mushroom cloud-swirling-formation, the remnants of suns forming into new suns.

I’m not saying that it is a particularly new or even a particularly useful thing to do, but what generation doesn’t have a dream of inserting itself as the new zero A.D. of the cultural calendar? God knows, if I was that age or younger I would be seriously disappointed in what my and the generation older than me has handed them in video games. I would see all the bullshit hyperbole-cum-advertising that passes as game journalism, the viciously entitled core fandom, the cliche pandering of the industry, and want to burn it to the ground too. I certainly felt that way about most mainstream music and comics in the 90s.

But before we bask in the glow of the new-video-game-earth, no matter your age, imagining that any indie-game apocalypse would solve the problems of video games is ahistorical thinking at its most dogged. Perhaps the plan goes off without a hitch, laying the video game landscape as a sheet of blasted glass. Perhaps the feral children will survive and build their Voxel tree forts. But like The Onion headline “Man Thinking About Just Packing Up And Making Exact Same Mistakes Someplace Far Away,” thinking that knocking apart the community around an art would fix all of the [perceived] problems does nothing to prevent those outside of the blast zone from rushing in to implement their ideologies.

The old neo-con dogma of "crisis capitalism" outline by the Rand Corporation - which led to the endless American Middle East wars after 9/11 - specifically states that any apocalyptic moment can be leveraged for profit by the people with the most power.

Wreden's utopia is one without games critics, without fans, without communities of thinkers, without intentioned makers.

If The Beginner’s Guide is a trap-cum-trigger that starts the apocalypse for game history, starting with a specially tailored neurotoxin for critics, then creeping to fans who want to talk about the game, then people who play the game, then people who have only heard of the game, and onward like the oh-so-cliche-but-fan-beloved-zombie-apocalypse, then its vision for the next world is a utopia without games critics, without fans, without communities of thinkers, without intentioned makers. What is left in this new world are but the vast shibboleths of Nintendo, Sony, Apple, and Walmart as the only game in town. They will assuredly survive any small art apocalypse.

The other parts of this essay can be found here



Interesting post i love it keep posting more! remodeling contractors tyler tx

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. closet designer

I love the dear data you be offering to your articles. I can bookmark your weblog and feature my youngsters test up here generally. I’m slightly sure they’ll be told a whole lot of new stuff here than any one else! facebook

The begginers guide is so useful to me. I am now very far in progress through the walkthrough. Kitchen Equipment Cleaning Chicago

Hello fellow web master! I really enjoy your site! I liked the color of your sidebar. roro4d link alternatif

Howdy, May I download this post snapshot and use that on my personal blog site? 파워볼전용사이트

It is really a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing. Agen Judi Bola

I am grateful for your post. Id really like to comment that the expense of car insurance varies greatly from one coverage to another, since there are so many different issues which give rise to the overall cost. As an example, the model and make of the motor vehicle will have a large bearing on the fee. A reliable old family car will have a more affordable premium when compared to a flashy expensive car. buy development land

I am curious to find out what blog system you’re utilizing? I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any recommendations? Webdesign Agentur Karlsruhe

thank you for this! really appreciate you doing this custom closets tallahassee

You seem to be very professional in the way you write.~`~’` Friday Night Funkin Online Free Game

Hey dude, what kind of wordpress theme are you using? i want it to use on my blog too “    파워볼사이트 추천

After study a few of the blog posts on your own website now, we really like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site list and are checking back soon. Pls consider my web-site likewise and make me aware if you agree. 꽁머니 사이트

Spot up with this write-up, I truly think this website requirements a lot more consideration. I’ll oftimes be again to read additional, thank you that info. Commercial Door Team

I was really glad to find this web site on bing, just what I was looking for : D likewise saved to favorites . Data Hk

I was real thankful to find this internet site on bing, just what I was looking for : D as well saved to my bookmarks . Recipes

Oh my goodness! a fantastic write-up dude. Thank you Nevertheless My business is experiencing problem with ur rss . Don’t know why Can not subscribe to it. Will there be any person acquiring identical rss issue? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx best stock trading platform

This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks! kocok123 link alternatif

I think your blog is getting more and more visitors.’-”;. sbobet88

Keep ‘em coming… you all do such a great job at such Concepts… can’t tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do! —- Mobilier outdoor SMS pažintys

You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I believe I would never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very broad for me. I’m having a look ahead on your subsequent submit, I’ll try to get the cling of it! 먹튀사이트

All Hair Design is Brisbane Southside's favourite Salon for Blondes, Balayage, Highlight Foils and Hair Extensions blonde specialists brisbane

This can be a remarkably amazing powerful resource that you’re offering and you simply provide it away cost-free!! I comparable to discovering websites ones comprehend the particular importance of supplying you with a excellent learning resource for zero cost. We truly dearly loved examining these pages. Appreciate it! Buspro

This site can be a walk-through rather than the details you wished relating to this and didn’t know who must. Glimpse here, and you’ll absolutely discover it. reserve residences showflat

some energy bars are just too sweet for my own taste. is there a sugar free energy bar?., 22 250 for sale

Well done! I thank you your contribution to this matter. It has been useful. my blog: how to get taller 우리카지노

I undoubtedly did not know that. Learnt some thing new today! Thanks for that.

I undoubtedly did not know that. Learnt some thing new today! Thanks for that. zeru

Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort. buy handguns online europe

There are a couple of interesting points over time here but I don’t know if I see every one of them center to heart. There’s some validity but Let me take hold opinion until I take a look at it further. Excellent post , thanks and now we want much more! Added onto FeedBurner also buy firearms online europe

Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I would like to look extra posts like this. Dextools Trending

Dale, played by Charlie Day, probably has the least horrible boss in Jennifer Aniston, playing a completely different character than people are used to seeing her in. Slot5000

Hello blogger. I like your blog about Tales from abroad » Blog Archive » Rafting. I was wondering, i am planning to make a blog for myself. I want to use wordpress like you. Where did you get your template? If you post your answer here below, i will read this in the next few day’s. Thanks 메이저놀이터

Well, this Thursday I read through a couple of your posts. I must say this is one of your better ones. Have a nice day! UK Fake Driving License

There is noticeably big money to comprehend this. I suppose you have made particular nice points in functions also. off road electric scooter

Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task.

Thank you sharing such informative blog to us. I never see or heard about this insects. I love to watch national geographic, discovery channel because it shows the most amazing and beautiful animals and insects which we never saw in our entire life. Here, in this as well you share these insects which I never saw anywhere and its life cycle. I love this blog. Thank you once again for sharing this blog with us. Please keep on sharing such informative things in coming days as well. Cheers order cocaine online

In short you have acquired an improved possiblity to match breast augmentation aventura his or her associate due to the greater lots of daters. It is additionally less complicated to satisfy folks on the web thanks to on the internet date web-sites as well as boards. 안전한 슬롯사이트

wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already! jili slot ทดลองเล่น

Well said. I never thought I would agree with this opinion, but I’m starting to view things from a different view. I have to research more on this as it seems very interesting. One thing I don’t understand though is how everything is related together. dark web links

I read your Article and I really enjoyed it

I like what you guys at kitchen remodeling lansing are up to. Such smart professional design and craftsmanship! Keep up the superb works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my contacts. I think by my passing along kitchen lansing remodeling info it will improve the value of my credibility. grammar班

Let me start by saying nice post. Im not sure if it has been talked about, but when using Chrome I can never get the entire site to load without refreshing many times. Could just be my computer. Thanks.

The way you write, you are really a professional blogger.’”,`’ free shipping on ammo

What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid different customers like its aided me. Good job. buy driving license online

Can I simply say what a reduction to search out someone who really is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know easy methods to carry a problem to mild and make it important. More people must read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre no more popular because you definitely have the gift. pentobarbital mail order

When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new surveys are added- checkbox now each time a comment is added I buy four emails sticking with the same comment. Will there be by any means you’ll be able to eliminate me from that service? Thanks! jellybox xs

Fantastic write-up, many thanks. I just agreed to your rss feed! dabwoods carts

I came across your blog internet site on google and check a few of your earlier posts. Continue to keep up the extremely good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my Windows live messenger News Reader. Seeking toward reading much more from you afterwards!?- chatib

Neuen Kommentar schreiben

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)