Keywords: Dialectic

1. Definition

As a group, we define dialectic to be the outcome or truth resulting from an argument or dispute between two opposing ideas.

2. The way it relates to other terms

In our discussions of art in video games, we isolated the discussion of art vs interactional design in the MoMA TED talk. In this talk, the speaker identifies that while the discussion is circulating around whether videogames are art or not, she identifies games as examples of interactional design, not taxonomized under art entirely. In the dialectic of “video games: art or no art,” the speaker creates a third option: interactional design. This result is hoisted above the debate and is seen as a solution to the question posed, therefore an example of dialectic thinking.
3. How it relates to course concepts:

In gaming, the general consumer audience has no trouble dealing with the debate between retro style graphics and modern, detailed texturing. However, it is still left to a matter of taste. This is a problem because in the dialectic between modern, advanced graphics and retro, nostalgic style, consumerism hoists modern, advanced graphics as the clear and obvious choice. This dichotomy is hegemonic because it validates a specific quality of visual and ludic art, disqualifying retro from the dialectic contest.

4. Dialectic within games thus far

In Super Meat Boy, the dialectic between fun and challenge spar for the title of truth. Mechanically, the game is very difficult, yet for some, difficulty is a key element of a fun gaming experience. This dialectic is solved subjectively, as the player mediates his or her player ability with the difficulty of any given stage. Therefore, for some, challenge will be overcome and fun will be found, for others, difficulty will lead to boredom, as proposed by Koster. This presents a challenge to the rigor of the dialectic, given that an objective question leads to an ambiguous, subjective answer: a personal truth.


Nathaniel Schwass

Jose Juarez

Mason Cain


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