You are going to read an article about computer games. Choose the answer (ņ ¬. — or D) which you think fits best according to the text.
1 What is the aim of the Friday afternoon sessions described in the first paragraph?
Ato find out if a new game is working properly
¬to allow non-specialists to try out new games
— to give the game designers a chance to interact
Dto give employees a break from intense concentration
2 What does the word 'ifí in the second paragraph refer to?
A a theory put forward by Nic Kelman
¬the total effect a computer game can have
— the video game as a form of entertainment.
Dthe artistic value of certain parts of computer games
3 In the third paragraph, the writer suggests that the computer games industry
Ahas a lot to learn from the film industry.
¬is fast becoming a part of the film industry.
— is more commercially driven than the film industry.
Dhas yet to achieve the high status of the film industry.
4 According to the writer, why is Miyamoto compared to the filmmaker D. W. Griffith?
AHe has employed a similar style in his work.
BHe has gained the respect of film enthusiasts.
—He has introduced ways of working that have influenced others.
DHe has pioneered the use of a shifting perspective in computer games.
5 Robert Ebert thinks that computer games should not be considered as art because
Athey are essentially interactive in nature.
¬they do not present sophisticated ideas to the end user.
— they are created by teams of people rather than by individuals.
Dthey are created by people with technical rather than artistic skills.
6 For John De Margheriti, the artistic value of a computer game can be measured by
Athe complexity of the goals the player is set.
¬the degree to which a player gets invoked in it
— the nature of the world that is created by the designer.
Dthe extent to which the designer's original vision is realised.
7 At the end of the final paragraph, the writer reveals that he agrees with
AStarnatiadisís doubts about the content of most computer games.
¬Ebertís reservations about considering computer games as art.
— Kelman's analysis of the state of the computer games industry.
DDe Margheritiís point about the functions of artforms.
In the Micro Forte studio in Glebe, Australia, thirty blokes sit at their computers drinking Coke and twiddling with the glorious, computer-generated landscapes splashed across their screens. Wearing enormous headphones, the computer-game designers look like scruffy koalas intent on their work. The only sounds that emanate from this strange colony are mouse clicks and keyboard taps and the low, steady hum of machines. On certain Fridays at 3.30 p.m., however, when the company is creating a game, the scene changes. That's when the floor becomes animated by the sound of thirty brainiacs playing computer games while they drink beer and suck lollies, searching for the flaws within each other's work.
If American author Nic Kelman is to be believed, the men manipulating monsters onscreen are not just entertainment providers, they're artists engaged in a new artform that surpasses visual and technical abracadabra. 'Individual components of computer games have always had artistic value,' he says. 'But in the last few years, the synthesis of all those parts is producing something that has some kind of deeper experience. It transcends the form.' That's the thesis Kelman presents in his latest book Video Game Art.
It may sound innocuous, but Kelman's assertion that the storylines, complex characters, sound, music and breathtaking visuals in games make them valid works of art is controversial, even among gamers. The Film and computer games industries feed off each other, with Hollywood pilfering titles such as Tomb Raider, yet the games industry that took off in the 1980s remains the brattier cousin of the movie business. Predictions that the value of the games industry will surpass the film and music industries combined within a few years Ė increasing in revenue from $US25.4 billion in 2004 to $US55 billion in 2009 - have barely altered the public perception that computer games are the domain of adolescents.
Not only do games have their own grammar and cliches, but a handful of designers have recognisable styles. Among gamers, the names Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright induce the same respect that Stanley Kubrick and Robert Altman provoke in movie buffs. The New Yorker described the Japanese designer Miyamoto, who created classic games such as Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, as the D. W. Griffith of game design. Just as Griffith pioneered narrative filmmaking in the early 20th century with cinematic devices such as the flashback and cross-cutting, Miyamoto developed many of the techniques now central to games, such as immersive, coherent worlds and shifting point of view. His work is recognisable for its childlike, joyous style.
Even so, late last year, the influential film critic Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, banished computer games from his canon of artforms. 'I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful,' Ebert wrote on his website in response to a reader. 'But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no-one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers.' Gamers everywhere posted feverish blog replies condemning Ebert and asking him to explain himself.
Admitting that he rarely plays the games, he says: ĎThere's a structural reason for that: computer games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.'
The founder of Micro Forte, John De Margheriti, doesn't agree: 'The author of the game has written some grand plotline, has created the races, the pretext of the stories,' he says. 'He's constrained you in a series of quests you must do, missions you must complete, objects you have to collect.' In De Margheriti's mind, the designer plays god just like the director of a film, but in a slippery, multi-faceted universe instead of a static one. In support of his argument, De Margheriti draws parallels between artforms: great games are as engrossing as great novels or films, and players finishing a game can feel as sad as a reader when they put down such a novel. A great artwork, be it sculpture, film or game, is immersive. 'The artform of games is simply a different artform,' De Margheriti says. 'Artforms have different functions. Some architecture may not be considered art Ö a three-bedroom red-brick house in the suburbs isn't art, but the Sydney Opera House is. Most computer games are the three-bedroom house, but others are the Opera House.í
Some who work within the games industry, however, agree with Ebert. Steve Stamatiadis, creative director and co-founder of Brisbane studio Krome, which made the Tasmanian Tiger game for children says: 'Games can potentially deliver the same stuff as art, changing the way you think about something, but I don't think games are at that stage when about 90 per cent are about people running around shooting at something.' But, let's face it, what are the majority of films about? Whatever the realities of the marketplace, maybe Miyamoto and others have already left the suburbs.
3 Find words or phrases in the article that mean the same as: