Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hephaestus Shrugged... and said, "eh."

I finally buckled down and really made a concerted effort to figure out Ron's 'brain damage' position. Realizing that Ron is a biologist helps. I don't know that I disagree with him, but I think he put it in, perhaps, as unhelpful a way as he possibly could have. This is something I find sad.

Here is my quick reinterpretation of the position:

There are some games that puport to be all about telling stories. Just picking a name at... umm... random... yeah.... random, let's call them Storyteller Games. Given structural notions of what constitutes a story, these games do not actually support the telling of stories (for a variety of detailed reasons). By playing these games and actually associating the activity of playing these games with the telling of stories (note that the latter is not necessary to play the game), you can develop habits that become ingrained. If you do, these habits might get in your way of telling and/or understanding stories. That is, you may well habitually resort to the techniques implicit in the game (which do not actually support storytelling) when faced with the prospect of telling a story.

Sure. That I can buy.

Is this brain damage? In a technical sense, perhaps. You have altered neural pathways so that certain methods of acting and reacting come more natural to you than others. That is, more or less, what is entailed by developing habits. This could be construed as "damage" if those habits are considered to be bad habits. Colloquially speaking, however, brain damage has another meaning entirely, and it is one that doesn't fit here at all. I think that if Ron wants people to actually carefully consider his words, he should do so first.

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