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Old 12-17-2004, 03:30 PM   #1
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Default An English Teacher's Question

Welcome, Alex, Phill, and Vinny!

I am sorry to enter the dungeon a bit on the late side, but I am glad to have you here. Thanks for being a part of Adventure Gamers' developer chat.

As an English teacher, I always enjoy linking concepts and topics found in games to the literary world. So if it is not too much to ask:

Since the game has an apparent allusion to Kafka's work, how influenced are you and your team by existential writings and the existential philosophy? Do you feel that your game expresses such a philosophical message? If not, what kind of message does it wish to send in light of the existential works of Kafka?

In the words of Albert Camus, "The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth." Do you and your team believe Bad Mojo--which brings to life an absurd situation--also brings life to the existential philosophy?

Lastly, absurdism has never been a mainstream form of theatrical entertainment--with its roots in the Existential. Thus, do you feel your association with or separation from this philosophy has affected the game's overall popularity and appeal to gamers? In what ways?

Thanks for anything you spit back. Much appreciated.

Best,
Kirk Latimer

Last edited by Kirk; 12-17-2004 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:34 PM   #2
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Kirk, I wish you'd been my English teacher.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:41 PM   #3
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Kirk, I wish you'd been my English teacher.
You're not the only one.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:41 PM   #4
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Oh god, English. not my best subject.

Camus. Oh no. I got lost in the Stranger.

This is a question for Vin.
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk
Welcome, Alex, Phill, and Vinny!

I am sorry to enter the dungeon a bit on the late side, but I am glad to have you here. Thanks for being a part of Adventure Gamers' developer chat.

As an English teacher, I always enjoy linking concepts and topics found in games to the literary world. So if it is not too much to ask:

Since the game has an apparent allusion to Kafka's work, how inlfuenced are you and your team by existential writings and the existential philosophy? Do you feel that your game expresses such a philosophical message? If not, what kind of message does it wish to send in light of the existential works of Kafka?

In the words of Albert Camus, "The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth." Do you and your team believe Bad Mojo--which brings to life an absurd situation--brings life to the existential philosophy?

Lastly, absurdism has never been a mainstream form of theatrical entertainment--with its roots in the Existential. Thus, do you feel your association with or separation from this philosophy has affected the games overall popularity and appeal to gamers? In what ways?

Thanks for anything you spit back. Much appreciated.

Best,
Kirk Latimer
Fabulous question Kirk...

I, for one, am an existentilist to the bone. In my own work, it is what drives me. Certainly Mojo has some roots there and is more than just an allusion to Kafka - it was directly influenced by him. But I was more influenced by The Trial than by Metamorphosis, which is rather sparse. In The Trial, the protagonsit is dragged into a nightmare beyond his comprehension. Roger Samms is also cast into a form of Hell from which only he can unlock if he chooses the right path. But really, there's more Joseph Campbell here than Kafka. I'm not sure I agree that Mojo brings life to the absurd. I suppose it is strange and impossible, but such metaphorical transformations occur more often than we might think. We just don't see it. One doesn't have to be literally and physically transformed in order to see truth. Campbell speaks of the spiritual transformation of the church experience, the cathedral as the means by which we change form. And there are hundreds of other examples from other cultures as to how we, as humans, undergo symbolic transformations in order to transcend. But I think I got your gist. What does it mean to be alive? Who are we and why are we here? Those are the greatest questions we can ask, and I suspect that the answers are different for everyone, but let's not forget the influence of It's A Wonderful Life on this game. To touch the life of another in a positive and loving way IS the meaning of life in this humble writer's opinion. It is why we exist. Ultimately, Roger Samms realizes the same thing. Sort of. VC
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the adept response.

Interesting that you should mention Campbell. Along these lines, do you feel that you are more heavily influenced by archetypal criticism?

Is Samms the essential HERO delving through shadow in search of self-satisfaction? The archetypal view seems to suggest more an emphasis on the collective unconscious than on the individual--as seen in the existential philosophy; so is Bad Mojo more of a dream, a metaphorical construct for man/personkind at large?

Campbell's "cathedral-inspired transformation" also stems from his examination of myth and cross-cultural connections. The transformation may be an individual one, but the search for transformation is actually a societal cause or goal. Thus, archetypal criticism and the existential philosophy may actually be at odds with one another. Existentialism, in fact, often supposes that life is senseless and absurd, which you have clearly stated is not truly the base of Bad Mojo. Yet, archetypes seem to give meaning to life, provide it with heros and gods, with traditions, legends and explained phenomena. Is the end purpose of Bad Mojo then to send a philosophical message--whether existential of archetypal--or to provide the player with a bit of fun (adding in a few splashes of existential or archetypal thought)?

Nice to be able to have this conversation, VC.

Kirk Latimer
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:13 PM   #7
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I'll stick to History - anyone wanna relate that to Mojo?
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk
Thanks for the adept response.

Interesting that you should mention Campbell. Along these lines, do you feel that you are more heavily influenced by archetypal criticism?

Is Samms the essential HERO delving through shadow in search of self-satisfaction? The archetypal view seems to suggest more an emphasis on the collective unconscious than on the individual--as seen in the existential philosophy; so is Bad Mojo more of a dream, a metaphorical construct for man/personkind at large?

Campbell's "cathedral-inspired transformation" also stems from his examination of myth and cross-cultural connections. The transformation may be an individual one, but the search for transformation is actually a societal cause or goal. Thus, archetypal criticism and the existential philosophy may actually be at odds with one another. Existentialism, in fact, often supposes that life is senseless and absurd, which you have clearly stated is not truly the base of Bad Mojo. Yet, archetypes seem to give meaning to life, provide it with heros and gods, with traditions, legends and explained phenomena. Is the end purpose of Bad Mojo then to send a philosophical message--whether existential of archetypal--or to provide the player with a bit of fun (adding in a few splashes of existential or archetypal thought)?

Nice to be able to have this conversation, VC.

Kirk Latimer
Man, I'm way out of my league here.

I never thought as much about the deeper meaning of Mojo as much as you seem to have. I identify with the hero who seeks knowledge and enlightenment through his/her own volition. But Roger Samms is the reluctant hero. All I ever wanted to do is something bigger and more meaningful than had been done bfore in a so-called game. I wanted to elevate the medium. In the end Roger Samm's journey is my own. His father quest is my father quest. His greed was my greed. We were both led down the same garden path and in the end we found something more meaningful.

Mojo has no purpose other than to entertain in a somewhat intelligent manner. There is no great goal. No lofty meaning. It is what it is, the struggle of a man as depicted by the struggling artists who made it. We are not great thinkers. Only great idealists. But yes, in the end I, personally, was more influenced by Joe Campbell than anything else.
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:18 PM   #9
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That is most true, VC.

I make my art a personal experience, and I think this is why Bad Mojo succeeds and--in fact--excells.

Your intelligent commentary has been delightful.

Thanks!

Kirk Latimer
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:19 PM   #10
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Wow, that was entertaining. It's a great question Kirk.
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:28 PM   #11
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To be honest we just threw a bunch of creepy, strange and bizzare stuff out there and hoped it would jell. It's not like we had a plan or anything.
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Kirk, I wish you'd been my English teacher.
Can you imagine me jumping on your desk and yelling at you to make sounds like a cockroach in order to help teach Kafka?

Still interested?

Kirk
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Can you imagine me jumping on your desk and yelling at you to make sounds like a cockroach in order to help teach Kafka?

Still interested?

Kirk
But Gregor Samsa never spoke. No one could hear him or, sympathize with his plight. I believe they even threw a shoe at him. Or was it an apple?

Yes, what Phil said is true to an extent, yet he hates to admit to ever having a plan.
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Old 12-17-2004, 04:57 PM   #14
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But Gregor Samsa never spoke. No one could hear him or, sympathize with his plight. I believe they even threw a shoe at him. Or was it an apple?

Yes, what Phil said is true to an extent, yet he hates to admit to ever having a plan.
It was an apple, VC. And though Gregor did not "speak", he did try to. Instead, only cockroach-like sounds emitted. So, in a sense, he made sound.

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Old 12-17-2004, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
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It was an apple, VC. And though Gregor did not "speak", he did try to. Instead, only cockroach-like sounds emitted. So, in a sense, he made sound.

Kirk Latimer
Yes, I remember. The apple festered in him, What is this symbolic of Kirk? You can call me Vincent if you'd like since now we're buddies.
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:00 PM   #16
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Ok, did anyone notice the banner ad that flashed Albert Camus The Stranger was for sale. Someone is just messing with me today.

:-)
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:04 PM   #17
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:08 PM   #18
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serpentbox
Yes, I remember. The apple festered in him, What is this symbolic of Kirk? You can call me Vincent if you'd like since now we're buddies.
Thanks, Vincent--

Well, I guess it depends on what literary filter you use to analyze the text: New Critical or Reader Response. I'll take a stab.

The apple on an archetypal level could be a representation of the search for humanistic knowledge and understanding (as seen in Greek and Christian--if not other--texts). Humans desire this "food", but now Samsa--an outsider, a man forced to gain a new perspective--no longer craves the same guilty pleasure or simple human sensation. The father knows Gregor no longer desires the same things, no longer craves the guilty pleasure and reacts only as he knows how to, with violence.

Gregor, now as a disgusting insect, reflects the faults and base-human-innards of his family and the household members. The father, and others, cannot bear to acknowledge the base instinctual drives of man/personkind and, instead, forces human pleasure upon him in a violent manner, by throwing the apple at him. Thus, the apple has been consumed by Gregor (thought not through the mouth), a forced act of human consumption, the devouring of the Biblical apple. The wound festers and serves as a reminder of the intolerance of humans and their violent desire to lash out against their baseness and against their primal--and in a sense true--selves.

But--as I would tell my students--my interpretation means little. What does the text tell you? What is the author's intended effect? And, even more inportantly, how does the text here--the throwing of the apple--affect you?

Arg. Now I've done it. I'm on break from work and here I am talking shop again. Dang it!

Kirk Latimer

Last edited by Kirk; 12-17-2004 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 12-18-2004, 07:34 AM   #20
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