Interactive Interaction - A New Scientific Term or Manifesto for the Love of Games

(manifesto and popular science article)

Topic : Interactive art is a new scientific term for the art of electronic digital games.


Short introduction

What is “Interactive”, why is it called, and where does this name come from?

- I, the author of this term, being a theoretical scientist and game designer, I am also a big fan of games and even try to personally create something in this area.

When I first got acquainted with the term “Interactive Art”, representing the art of games, I realized that with such a not-so-specific name, it would be too little and unfair to such a grandiose form of modern art and a vast field of culture. Therefore, I set myself the goal of finding a more adequate and logical name, from the point of view of science. Being well acquainted with this area, I analyzed various variations, until finally I came to a specific term that would more correctly designate this art, starting from its foundation (-so to say, from the sources ) and capable of revealing this phenomenon from the inside - interactive art .


Interactive graphics(Latin: inter- between, activitas- activities, graphica- graphics) is a form of synthetic art based on a computer program made up of graphic images, either moving or motionless, in 2D or 3D measurement, in which the user, using a specific interface and manipulators, can interact with virtual objects, thereby participating personally in the actions taking place in games.

As you know, the product of interactive art is the "Game" ( Game, Juego, Jeu etc. ), and its user is called the "Player" ( Gamer, Jucător, Joueur etc. ).


More detailed

“Interactive painting”, also called “interactive art”, is known as art in which the player usually participates in certain simulations or in virtual interactive events, in which he has the opportunity, as a virtual actor, to take part in the development of the artistic or documentary plot of the game. In some games, the user can open their plot with their actions, even develop the plot in their interests, while having the opportunity to repeat the same action several times. Well, in some modern games, the user can come to that final, which will depend on his personal actions throughout the game.
Simply put, in a modern game, each player can take part in different simulations of actions inspired from real life or take part in invented actions that can be “dressed up” in one story (artistic or not) and where you can feel yourself in the skin of a virtual character participating in the events of the game as an eyewitness or even as a real actor in the title role. It’s like playing in a theater on some stage without knowing the text and plot, but we gradually learn everything personally, intervene whenever we want and even can change the ending in our favor.
Accordingly, being a synthetic art ( composite), interactive art resembles a theater, where we ourselves play as actors, and even act on virtual cinema platforms. In addition, in games we can also dance, sing, listen to music, build like architects, draw, etc., admire beautiful and high art, or just fool around and wander around.

Nevertheless, interactive art offers us much more opportunities than theater or cinema, is constantly evolving and I even allow myself to say that this relatively new art is now more important for humanity than another form of art!


Brief history, relationships

Since interactive art is a synthetic art ( composite ), it also has many common tangential connections ( relationships ) with certain forms of art, mainly with cinematography.

For example, in the first decades of the existence of cinematography, some critics and artists claimed that this "new" form of art was just a weak imitation of theater and would not be able to do more. But with the development of technology, films and sounds, music, colors, even the impression of depth ( stereo vision or the so-called 3D vision ) appeared. Perhaps, over time, other touch, new opportunities and other technical eccentricities will appear.

Now, if we look at the short history of games, from the first half-digital game consoles ( such as Pong, Magnavox Odissey, etc. ) to the latest generations of consoles and modern personal computers, we can observe the full-scale evolution of interactography , which is still ongoing. We saw the appearance of not only sounds and colors in games, but also the amazing development of graphics, as well as various manipulators for interactivity. But most importantly, we saw the amazing development of interactive marketing products- games - from simple black and white sports simulations, to entire art or documentary works with millions of budgets, with separate plots like in films and photorealistic graphics. Of course, a whole wave of negative criticism looms over interactive art from those who did not understand and did not like it, but we understand that not such critics will remain in history, but only those who understand this art and adore it.

Thus, the development of interactography depends a lot on scientific and technological progress, mainly on digital computerized technology, which offers us not only powerful and more advanced devices, but also new opportunities for interaction in virtual worlds.
Moreover, certain cinematographic techniques are widely used in games, such as video scene captured live ( documentaries or actors ) or using virtual filming cameras inside the games themselves - so-called "cut scenes» ( cut-scene, cinematic sequences ).

Interactive graphic genres are also identical to film and theater genres, even if some people think that games have more genres. In fact, the “large” number of these genres is dictated by the methods of interactions ( that is, by interactive methods ) in virtual worlds. I would not list all these interactive genres, just highlight some of them:

- For example, if a player can take a weapon in his hands and shoot, then this genre will be called "shooter" ("Shooter" ). If you can drive a car, then the genre - "race" or "driving simulator" ( "racing" ), but if we take a sword and her Let's go the whole game, this interactive genre will be called "slasher" ( "slasher" ). Many more such interactive genres and subgenres can be cited as an example, but nothing in the world can replace art genres, although small in number, such as comedy, tragedy, drama, melodrama - they are still the basis of any artwork of cinema, theater or interactography .


Now, if you ask, “why is the term interactive graphics- scientifically correct? ”, I will say that the answer is simple. For example, look at what is the most important thing in the art of cinema, what stands at its core - this is the movement of short fragments of an image from ( or from ) a video medium, forming an illusion of the general movement of the image on the screen to contemplate the action of the film.

In games, we primarily interact with objects from a virtual image on the screen ( acting almost like actors ), this interactivity ( interaction) is based on computer graphics. Even if this graphic is programmed and the ability to interact is also dictated by program codes, you still need to consider that games are not just some kind of multimedia programs or entertainment for office work, but primarily represent a modern art form in which the author ( game designer, scriptwriter, developer ) expresses his artistic vision and philosophy, opens his soul to the spectator-player, tells him the plot and shows the fate of some characters. Is this a regular program?


Probably someone may ask: “Okay, what about sports, transport simulations and other things less artistic? Or with “games” like RPGs held in real life with real people or paintball competitions with shootouts, or casino games? What about them? ”

To this I will answer you, again turning to the analogy: look at the movie production. What do we notice?
There are documentaries about the life of certain people. We see the history of entire nations, we see sports with people on the move or in different vehicles, and finally, we see a wide range of various events, elements of life and the history of mankind, filmed on camera - and all this was “collected” first on paper by some filmmaker reporter and then woven into the logical sequence of images, which we then contemplate on the screen.
So cinematography is a complex art composed of feature films, documentaries ( which are divided into simple video reports, to serious “documentaries” ), shot according to pre-written scripts and with real people in the frame ( and recently, even with virtual people)

What do we notice in interactography ? About the same situation - there are fiction and documentary works. These works may be available on different electronic-digital devices, by one or more players. These works have graphical interfaces, everything is based on 2D or 3D graphics and software languages.

- Do all these digital elements have something in common with what happens in real life, in sports, in the casino, and can those games played in real life be added to the ranks of interactive art? I have only one answer: no!

- Sports, auto competitions, paintball, casino games, even RPG games held in reality ( composed separately or inspired from interactive games) are separate cultural phenomena. They can inspire game developers, respectively, can only be a source of inspiration.

Well, as for virtual sports, car simulations, or another type, these phenomena from the world of digital electronic games can easily be added to interactive art as a documentary part of this art. On the other hand, some elements of virtual sports can be of artistic interest and value, for example, graphical interfaces, game design, and even methods of interactivity ( interaction ).

Well, if it seemed to someone that I was too unfair to certain phenomena that are very close to digital games, such as RPGs mentioned above, or to card games based on stories (by the way, who doesn’t know, I confirm that there are some! ), in the end, these games can be systematized as “analog games” and they can represent artistic and cultural branches that have arisen or inspired from the general field and form of art - interactography . It is possible that some of these "analog" branches will eventually be able to transform into separate forms of art, as was the case with cinematography that arose from the theater.


It may seem strange, but for some people, games can provide not only the opportunity to try something that they are not capable of in real life, but also a unique sense of wonder and beauty of the real world. In real life, we often do not notice or admire the world that surrounds us, and only when you plunge headlong into the virtual world of the game, we open our eyes to such phenomena as movements of our arms, legs, the ability to take something or quit, turn on, turn off, chase, walk, ride a car, fly, etc ... Light that penetrates through leaves, morning fog or dust particles that roar in the sun, etc. etc ... In a sense, rediscovering for everyone those opportunities and elements of real life that we sometimes do not pay attention to, only in games do we notice how important and special they are.

On a note

In science, there are such generally accepted terms ( and scientific, of course ) as a phenomenon and an object ( it’s the same thing ). So, from a scientific point of view, something in this world can be called a phenomenon , and something is an object .
For example, football is a phenomenon ( sports and cultural ), and the ball is an object ( with which you play, of course ).
So, what you play is rightly called not a toy, but a game. That's because scientifically ( and rightly so! ), The gameIs a phenomenon , and a toy is an object .
For example, such well-known devices as “PlayStation Portable” or “Nintendo DS” are toys ( that is , objects ), but what you play using them are already games ( that is , phenomena ).
So please do not confuse one with the other!
And yet - there are two types of worldviews - objective and subjective . In the simplest words, they can be described as follows: some see the world as it really is (mainly scientists, businessmen, etc. ) Is an objective worldview; others see the world as they themselves want it ( religious believers, most philosophers, etc. ) - this is a subjective worldview.
I, the author of this article, define myself as a person from the first group.
I advise other people to first determine their worldview, then you can start to seriously analyze something and draw conclusions.


Time to play

We all noticed that many players spend too much time on their favorite games - from 10 hours or more. Some generally hang around the game all day without resting at all.
I recall a fatal case in which one avid player died after several days of uninterrupted play without rest. What he played no longer matters. The problem is that this player did not have a normal upbringing, regarding the time for the game, for rest, regarding the physical and psychological health, not to mention his personal life.
Regarding this topic, an elementary question arises: how much time should be devoted to the game?
I paraphrase a little: how much time is considered normal to play?
I myself ( author of this article), being an avid player, has long come to the conclusion regarding this topic and has already answered himself to this question, painful for many. My recommendations are as follows:

Play 2 hours a day ( and more! ): On weekdays ( usually Monday through Friday );

Play 5 hours a day ( and only! ): On weekends or on free days ( whether on Saturday or Sunday, for example );

Play 8 hours a day: only for specialists who analyze games ( creating reviews, videos or text, etc.), respectively, for game developers, journalists or scientists who study games. Well, for cybersportsmen, if they are. Eight hours is just the normal time for a working day. If someone works more than 10 or 12 hours a day, this can already lead to serious health problems.
In general, this is the normal time for the game - from 2 to 8 hours a day, depending on the circumstances. I even recommend playing more often, but spending only a certain, appropriate amount of time on this lesson! And it will always charge you with positive and constructive energy, reduce stress, tear it off a little from the routine, helping to even see your problems in a different light, ways to solve them, and help you prepare for serious projects or hard work.
And this is not a joke at all, but quite seriously. Please remember:

- Yes, games can help you solve problems easier!
- Yes, games can charge you with positive and constructive energy!
- Yes, games can help you collect your thoughts for hard work!

But only if you spend on games only a certain, appropriate amount of time.
Be careful, please, because health is very valuable, besides, nature gives us life only once. It goes without saying that if you lose your health and life, then you lose the chance to play the myriad of games that appear over time.
Remember how many hours are considered normal for the game and then this time will play in your favor.

Addition to notes

By the way. Some outside observers criticize the game for the fact that many zealous players forget about their health and give themselves completely to the game, as well as commit malicious acts that are noticeable in some games.

My answer is: where does the game !? As if there were few lovers of all kinds of TV shows and creepy filmmakers, any ( dumb and not so ) television shows ?! And these lovers are ready to watch the “box” all night long and eat popcorn with sandwiches, filling their body and soul with all sorts of muck. Lovers of wasting time and to the detriment of their health will always and everywhere - and this does not depend on the type of art whose products they “consume”.
It is all about the man himself, in his family and in society, the product of which he himself is. If a person has not been instilled with a sense of proportion, knowledge and a sense of concern for their health, tolerance and respect for people, then this is a problem for both this person and the society in which he lives. And let them not be involved in their problems also the forms of art, but let them explain it humanly, normally and logically, let them learn how to live with a measure for everything, taking care of themselves and loved ones.
- Play, rejoice, live in full and do not forget about the measure.

Author - Dmitry Gervas


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