Clint Hocking: "Dynamics: The State of the Art"

Clint Hocking: Design: The state of the art (first slide)

Clint Hocking's talks are always interesting, but this is a particularly fascinating one from the GDC 2011.

Clint presents some of his nuanced ideas about how games create meaning.  Gameplay is, unlike most of the film or theatre to which it is frequently compared, is a necessarily dialogical process.  Even in a single-player game, there is a dialogue between the player and the designer, or between the player and the game's rules at runtime.  Despite this, Clint shows that games can still be said to contain authored meaning, and explores examples of how this can happen.  He uses in particular the metaphor of the Kuleshov Effect for film, and a mind-blowing example of a historic game of Go, to great effect as he touches at the edges of something fundamental to a vocabulary of games criticism which doesn't yet exist.

Unfortunately, the GDC Vault website (where the video and slides are located) doesn't allow embedding, but I strongly suggest you go watch the video it in its entirety if you want to hear a super-smart guy who's thought a lot about these things lead you on an intellectual journey.  The slides and notes for a similar talk he gave on the same subject at the EMP Museum, Seattle are available in this blog post.

Incidentally, the specific game of Go to which he referred was so fascinating to me that I've instantly ordered the book which originally describes it, Yasunari Kawabata's "The Master of Go".  The scenario reminded me of a motif involving chess in an (excellent) book I recently read, Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union", except it's real.  I wouldn't be able to do it justice here, but Clint describes it well in his talk.

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