The Aesthetics of the Video Game

Space Invaders: the early origins of video games.

Tonight is the night of the 7th British Academy Video Games Awards, a ceremony which since 2003 has rewarded the creators of virtual environments that have had men, women and children alike frantically throwing their thumbs around all year. The host of the event, comedian Dara O’Briain, defended the right of the video game genre to be considered a form of art in an interview this morning for the BBC’s breakfast show, against the initial (and perhaps persisting) incredulity of his hosts.

The problem facing O’Briain is not one that has eluded treatment in the field of contemporary aesthetics and the philosophy of art. As surveyed by Grant Tavinor for Philosophy Compass, some interesting questions begin to emerge when the conceptual analyses of traditional philosophical aesthetics are applied to the increasingly sophisticated worlds of computer games. Continue reading “The Aesthetics of the Video Game”

Does Humour have a Sense of Philosophy?

Ricky Gervais

At the star-studded Golden Globe ceremony this year, host Ricky Gervais treated the cream of Hollywood to his unique brand of lighthearted ribbing. The transatlantic comic, known for his acerbic and anarchic wit, peppered his opening monologue with such jibes as “It was a big year for 3D movies…It seems like everything this year was three-dimensional, except the characters in The Tourist”, and introduced actor Robert Downey Jr. with the words “Many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail.” The media coverage of Gervais’s performance focused in the main on whether he “went too far”, but, when it comes to comedy, perhaps philosophers ought to have more fundamental questions on their lips.

Continue reading “Does Humour have a Sense of Philosophy?”

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