“Essay Five: Conversation with Ben Kozlowski – On EarthBound and the Ethics of Ambiguity”

Serialized specially for The Well-Red Mage, based on the podcast by Wesley Schantz

 

 

bookwarm “The following is a contributor post by the Bookwarm Mage.”

Wesley: Are you there, Ben?

Ben: Hello!

Yay, we got it to work! I’m really glad. Back when I first knew you at college, we would talk face-to-face every morning at breakfast. The cliche, right, is that you stay up late talking to people at college, hashing out the world’s problems, but in our case it was always waking up early in the morning and hashing out the world’s problems over the breakfast table. But mostly talking about video games.

So I wanted to ask you first about your blog. Over the past few years it went into hibernation, but you recently revived it.

I believe the blog itself is named Watch, and my handle is WatchmanZeke. Well, it has changed quite a bit. As you say it was in hibernation for about a year and a half. I originally started it as a way to cast my ideas into the Internet on all sorts of subjects: philosophy, theology, video games, discussion of pop culture references. I would frequently post about whatever I was reading or writing or thinking at the time.

But I found myself gravitating towards more ambitious projects, working towards longer series. One I did on Derrida, one on contemporary objections to biblical issues. It got a little too heavy for me to maintain–too much research, not enough just me airing my silly thoughts. So I left it for quite a while. My life was also in upheaval–looking for jobs and stuff like that.

I’ve found sort of renewed purpose for it in the last few weeks, where now I am doing a lot of research towards hopefully a Phd program down the road, mostly centered around philosophy of language and semiotics, and that wide interconnected web of fields that has to do with language. And as I’m reading I’m not getting a whole lot of opportunities to bounce my ideas off of people, so it seemed like a good time to sort of resurrect the blog as a way of focusing and allowing me to rehash things that I found in my studies.

As you’re talking about philosophy of language and the different fields that interconnect there on Watch, one thing in particular that struck me was your phrase “the ethics of discourse.” I think you italicized it–I think that’s really the title of your project. Could you say a little bit about that?

A lot of what I consider to be the ethics of discourse is this sort of macroscopic look at the way we use language and talk to each other. What exactly that entails on a pragmatic level, on an ethical level, and what exactly we are doing there. It’s like in the Bible where Jesus says it’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out, that’s what defiles you…

There’s been a great deal of effort spent on discussing all sorts of ethical subjects, but academia especially seems very reluctant to confront what it means, what responsibilities we have, when we talk, when we discuss things, when we create art for that matter, because it reeks of censorship. We imagine that if we let the crazy philosophers and the ethicists have their way, eventually they’re going to take away the ability to speak freely about certain subjects. That has never been my plan. Rather I did want to sort of examine on the microscopic level, too: How does language work? How does it persuade us? How does it enthrall us? How does it communicate basic ideas? What are all the crazy things that it can do in a given span? So I want also to look at it from the perspective of how we use it–how we use it to change the world.

Especially in recent memory with the Trump election and everything that’s gone on politically there’s been so much about the way that reason is changing, the way our relationship to reason and to truth, our relationship to the media or the news engines are shifting. Indeed, whether or not we’re being sort of snowed by Russian propaganda or whatever the case may be. It’s a crazy world we live in and the fact of the matter is we don’t even know how to talk about these issues because we don’t know how to talk about anything. I’m still very concerned with that.

You go back to basics, sort of. A lot of the philosophy in recent years that I’ve encountered one way or another has felt very detached, very abstracted, very in its own little world, but the more that it can inform us and the more it can draw our attention to the fact that we don’t really know anything–we don’t know what we’re talking about–that can only be to the good. That’s different from censorship. When you stop yourself from saying something because you realize it’s dumb and it’s going to lead to problems and it’s not really reflective of what you think and so you don’t say it, that’s probably good. And that’s not anybody outside of you trying to silence you, that’s you making a good judgment. That seems like a valuable project.

Now the role of religious truth and in what way the subversion of that particular kind of truth is indicative of and preliminary to a more widespread erosion of all sorts of factual information, what we would consider more commonplace truths, in recent times–can you say more about this? I know you’ve studied it. I’m sorry I keep putting you on the spot here but this is the last of these big questions up front before we have a more free-flowing conversation: What is the relationship between that religious fundamental–maybe that’s a loaded word–but that kind of truth and the more commonplace truths?

There has obviously been a lot of ink spilled on the subject of the death of God and whether or not we can really believe in absolutes any more. And I notice that the religious mindset, even among religious believers, is sort of eroded in many ways. We have this knee-jerk American response now to pluralism where everything that we say we have to hedge with “but that’s my opinion and you can believe whatever you want.” Whereas for the true dyed-in-the-wool evangelical, for the religious believer, that’s really not an option.

The whole point of the Christian philosophy is that it needs to spread, that people are living in sin and headed for damnation and you have to evangelize your news, to communicate your message, or else they’re just going to go on hurting themselves and hurting everyone around them. Which is such a foreign concept. I bring it up to my students in my ethics classes all the time and they just stare at me like they have no idea what I’m talking about. They’ll frequently come back to me and say something like, “How do you wrap your brain around this idea that this is the only truth, and not only is it the one and only but everyone else has to believe it?” And I’m like, that was the past two thousand years of world history and then some. It’s only in the past hundred years or so that we’ve thought such crazy ideas as that maybe we should all believe differently.  

Atheism is kind of the norm in the popular sphere.

Yeah, and I try to draw that distinction between what pluralism versus relativism looks like. Because at the end of the day relativism is untenable. Not everyone will notice that it is untenable, but it remains the case that it is.

And that’s where language comes into it in an important way. I think that’s kind of the strongest straightforward argument against relativism, is that you don’t get to really say much if you don’t believe in something actually true somewhere.

Right, at the very least that relativism is itself true. For relativists to persist, they have to believe that they’re the only exception to the rule.

So what about pluralism, a robust pluralism. What would that look like?

I think a robust pluralism is what we’ve kept reaching for, and what every now and then we lose sight of and we get lost in that relativistic mess. Because pluralism is about: “I believe the thing that I believe and I think it’s incredibly important and that everyone else should agree with me. But I recognize that in the societal sphere, in the Gesellschaft rather than the Gemeinschaft, we need to be tolerant of other opinions and beliefs. (Gemeinschaft being community, Gesellschaft civil society, as Tonnies’ book has it.)

What about the role that friendship would play? I think you see this right at the end of the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle comes to the point where he says friendship is sort of the best model for what genuine truth-seeking and genuine ethics would look like. Of course you can’t really be friends with everybody, you have only so much time for things. And of course everyone’s differences and their personalities are what make them on the one hand endearing, on the other hand maddening. And so how big can the community be? How big can a civil society be and still work? How many friends can you really have?

I know you’ve been teasing at Montaigne over the past few sessions, but both Montaigne and Aristotle stress you’re only going to have so many real true virtuous friendships in your lifetime, and that you will be lucky to have even one.

So the thing about that, though–the Christian promise is that there’s this being, this person who can be everyone’s friend and through whom everyone can be friends, or something even better than friends: everyone can genuinely love one another and have this Beloved Community. That seems to be a really extreme kind of pluralism and not at all a kind of limiting or restriction or exclusiveness. But on the other hand it’s hard to make that leap and say, “I actually believe that that is the case and I actually think this.” Whereas in the past it was the norm for people to say, “I’m a Christian, this is what I believe,” and they sort of assumed that everyone felt the same way. So we’re at an interesting reversal in history where it’s against the grain to say, “I’m a Christian and this is what I believe in, all this stuff…”

Arguably we haven’t seen that at least in western society since before Constantine, with Christianity on the run–certainly it’s not as bad as it was then. Honestly, as much as I’ve heard lots of Christian preachers get up in their pulpits and complain about how our society is losing its way, I’m kinda of the opinion that Christianity thrives when it is oppressed, in some ways that when it is, it requires the Christian to do something surprising or rebellious. There’s a sort of anarchism about Christianity that I think is important to it at the foundation level.

So in that spirit then I can’t help but see sort of archetypal symbols and allusions to great works when I look at the ones that I really love. And right now that’s video games, specifically EarthBound. That’s why I started from there, because for me that’s where I was first sort of immersed in a world, in a video game. I was the right age or I don’t know what it was exactly, that I had friends around me to play the game with, maybe. But I’ve never quite found any other game that I love that much and that moves me as EarthBound does, so it makes sense to start there for me. But as I’m reading your blog it seems like Majora’s Mask is your model for a great video game. I wanted to go there next. I know in the future perhaps you’ll be making some podcasts about video games I hope–

Maybe more in the distance, but it will definitely happen–

To get started, Majora’s Mask is a sequel to Ocarina of Time. It’s in this long series, in the long story of Zelda, and this one is built on essentially the same engine that ran Ocarina of Time, is that right?

Yes, there are some differences. I’m not terribly knowledgeable about the mechanics but most of the art assets were carried over. Most of the animation work had already been done, like all of the characters from Ocarina of Time reappear in Majora’s Mask, although in new locations, in new settings, and new relationships to one another. But the engine was at least updated a bit because as you may or may not remember Ocarina of Time ran on the N64 proper, so as long as you had an N64 you could play Ocarina of Time. To play Majora’s Mask you need the expansion. So either the lighting or some part of the engine was subtly tweaked, in addition to the mechanical madness of the three-day cycle. But I also think from a pure aesthetic standpoint there was an update in graphics. There’s a clear move toward darker, more interesting contrast in light and shadow and relationships between them, than we saw in Ocarina of Time.

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I think part of what seems to be your argument is what draws you to this game is the ambiguity about the hero. You said he becomes more of an outsider, a stranger in this world. He’s not forced, he’s not destined to save the world. He’s not that kind of hero. He’s the kind who sees people around him struggling in all these small ways, and you have the choice to do something about that or not. But mostly you’re sort of seeking a way to heal yourself, is that fair to say?

Yes, especially at the beginning of the game. Even the whole setting, the whole context the game is cast in, is that you’re a wanderer. You come from the world of Ocarina of Time that was, but you’re back to being a kid, you’re back from Hyrule. And the game starts with loss. Of all the crazy things, Navi has left. She’s like, “Well, we saved the day, it’s time to go.” And you go out looking for her into the Lost Woods.

The game opens with those couple of very cryptic, very ominous panels of text, just saying that you’ve lost this friend. It plays the Navi sound effect in case you haven’t picked up on it, because they don’t mention her explicitly. You’re wandering in the woods, and then you’re jumped by the Skull Kid, who takes from you your ocarina, your attachment to your home, and then just to make it that much crazier he transforms you into a Deku Scrub. So not only does he take your past but he takes your identity from you. That’s how the game begins, with the Happy Mask Salesman promising that you’ll have your identity restored, and he can help you do that, but he needs something from you, too. Namely, he needs the mask that was stolen from him.

So right at the beginning, it’s not a situation where you’re just a kid who woke up from this bad dream and you’re on this quest to save the world. Instead, this quest sort of overtakes you. It’s personal, and at the same time it’s personal because you don’t understand how it relates to you. You do get your identity stolen, and as you progress through Termina all these people interact with you as a nonentity, as a faceless being, as any one of the masks that you put on, but very rarely as Link himself.

There’s something interesting going on in this game which makes me think about later titles in the series. There’s the Stone Tower that as you point out bears some analogy to the Tower of Babel, and that made me think of the flood that happens in Wind Waker, which is the next big release if I’m getting my order correct. That’s the next big Zelda title, so we get a flood motif going on there, and it’s like everything is lost, and you have to recover the world that’s lost. Then to skip over one or two, in the most recent one, Breath of the Wild, you have this huge world to explore and the quest in a way falls into the background of all this cool stuff you can do in the world.

There’s sort of two kinds of video games, if I can say it really simplistically: either there’s a quest and you’re saving the world kind of story, there’s narrative; or there’s not really a concern with narrative, you’re just kind of doing cool stuff and playing and exploring and getting stuff. And it’s an open question in our real world: what kind of life are you trying to live? Are you living a life which has a goal, do you have some kind of thing you’re striving towards, whatever that looks like and whatever way you want to couch that? Or is it sort of like you freely go around and do stuff and get stuff and that’s all it’s for, that’s all it’s really about?

So in Breath of the Wild you sort of see a way of the game trying to bring that tension to the forefront. I guess that’s what struck me as I was thinking about this. What do you make of that? With regard to Majora’s Mask and with Zelda games generally, does that seem true to you? Is there a correct answer about that dichotomy of which sort of a game is the greater work of art, and which sort of life is the good life?

As far as games as a work of art, I’ve seen really great stuff done in both formats. One of the YouTubers that I follow, Errant Signal–you should check him out when you get the chance–spends a lot of time talking about immersive sims, in the form of Deus X, or the original Thief games, or games as recent as Gone Home or the 2017 Prey. All of these were games that stressed freedom over strict plot, strict commanded destination, much as it is very much in that immersive sim line.

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And I think it really very much depends on what you do with that, what you do with the decision to make your mechanics surround the idea of, “we’re going to tell the story,” as opposed to, “we’re going to provide this world for the player to explore.” To be perfectly honest I played through Breath of the Wild now, and while I absolutely loved the world that it provides, the plot is kind of lackluster. Ganon hangs out in the background, he’s kind of not even a threat until you actually decide to confront him on your own terms. Which means that you could have gotten all of the weapons, all of the heart pieces, and you go in like tank style: “I’m going to wreck you and there’s no threat you can pose to me!”

That sort of takes the eucatastrophe out of the thing. The turn of the story gets sort of buried in there. You don’t ever really doubt, you never really feel like there’s something at stake, right?

I mean, in Ocarina of Time, Ganon is a real threat. You and Zelda look at him through the window and she says, “This guy is going to mess up the kingdom!” When you confront him he’s riding off with her and he just chucks you aside like you’re a joke, and you want to get back at him. There’s a good reason for you to want to fight Ganondorf at the end of Ocarina of Time. And there’s so many good reasons to fight Majora at the end of Majora’s Mask. And even in Wind Waker, like, it’s even more intimate there. Ganon kicks you out of his fortress twice and you always have to go back. You have to fight your way through. You want to stick it to him and his stupid bird, and you want to make him pay. But in Breath of the Wild he’s just off in his castle doing his own thing.

Isn’t the plot explanation for that something like, Zelda is occupying his attention, she’s keeping him locked in battle that whole time? Isn’t there something like that?

It’s explained, but it still becomes impersonal. Ganon is sort of a more ambiguous, ethereal threat than he is something clear and present. He’s not a person in that sense. I think Zelda games have sort of been straying that way in the more recent incarnations. Skyward Sword is very much the same thing. There it’s not even Ganon you’re fighting, it’s this sort of archetypal evil figure who ultimately (Spoilers: highlight to reveal) gives birth to Ganon at the end of the game… spoilers, sorry.

That’s fine. We’ve already told everyone they’re going to get everything spoiled that they might want to hear about.

The move towards that ambiguity… If we want to go to that idea: so there is a quest here, but it’s not as compelling in some ways. It’s a little more in the background, and it’s more about exploring this world and playing in it and finding things and meeting people. I think that’s the way that most video games seem to be headed.

I don’t play a lot of new games, but I don’t know if you’ve read or looked into much of Ready Player One? There’s this kind of phenomenon surrounding it, so I just recently sat down and skimmed the book. I didn’t read it super carefully. It was kind of interesting, but not because of the story or the characters, but because of the world–this concept of a totally immersive world which comes to supplant actual reality, whatever that is. So there’s a lot going on there, and I think it kind of goes back to sitting in that class with you in Boston, about Augustine’s Confessions. In the first paragraph or two, he’s not content in the world as it is, he yearns for something beyond the world, right?

That seems like what’s going on in these games, that they offer this possibility of a more expansive, a more complete experience than one could have ever in life. I don’t know if that’s sort of connected or how that would tie in with the loss of faith, if it’s a sort of substitute for it or something, because people get really lost in these games, and it seems like the natural extension of that is that eventually there will be something like the OASIS or the world that’s effectively infinite online.

Especially given, to take it to the next step: Granted there are all these games emphasizing the freedom to explore and giving you worlds to play with instead of quests to go on. But I mean think of Minecraft. Think of a world that’s not only a world of just mechanics and no story, but also the ability to create your own worlds out of it, to be able to impose meaning or not impose meaning as you see fit. The line between narrative and creative canvas is sort of being left undrawn.

So we kind of get to make our own stories within this world! Is that what you’re saying?

Or even turn them into our own. But the freedom becomes so great. You participate in the creation. You’re as much artist as Notch or Shigeru Miyamoto.

That’s really cool. Now just to set aside that deeper discussion for a second. You’ve played Undertale, right? That’s the other game I wanted to talk to you about briefly. It’s essentially a fan-made game, it’s not professional. Am I right about that?

The line, again, is a little vague there. The indie gaming scene is extremely rich and robust. Toby Fox is certainly a part of it. It is clearly a tribute game to games like EarthBound and other JRPGs of the time, as much as it is of its own entity, being created with its own purpose and its own message.

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I just find that kind of work of art so fascinating, and I love the message of the game because I think it gets it exactly right. You fall into this other world, this faerie world, but the quest, the purpose of the game seems to be to convey that you are not of that world. You have a bigger world, and the bigger world is the real world, it’s not the faerie world. And so you’ve got to return after you prove yourself, after you do everything that you can do in that space, then you return to the real world. And I always sort of come back to that with EarthBound. I think that’s what I love most about EarthBound, is that it does have an end, it’s not without some kind of story, and the endpoint of the story seems to be to jettison you back into reality. So you can learn something from this: now go and do something in the world. Be a better person, be a better friend, and that’s sort of enough. It’s pretty simple really. I think that’s what all great stories are basically about, if you want to look at themes and things. That’s kind of what it comes down to. It’s matter for the philosophers to discuss what is the good, what is truth, what is beauty. All right, that’s fine, but there’s a really pragmatic element to this which is: do your best, try to make the world a better place. I think that is really brought home in the way that Undertale has the whole “choices affect the world” thing, and that doing good things versus doing evil things has a big impact. And you can feel that as a player. I just think it’s brilliant. I think it’s wonderful.

I’ve also seen some really rich things done. For a while there in the early 2000’s, right around with Bioshock and Mass Effect and some of those games that came out, there was a sort of emphasis on moral choice systems. You’re either the paragon or the renegade. You’re the good guy or the bad guy. There was a sort of binary. And there’s been a very determined move away from that in future installments. Not so much in other Mass Effect games and Bioshock there was–there is sort of this emphasis that whatever you picked it kind of didn’t matter in the long run, which was more nihilistic. But there was also a number of games that sort of got away from “this is a good thing to do versus a bad thing to do,” and instead emphasized sort of how your actions affect certain people, and your relationships. So for example Fallout New Vegas implemented this fairly brilliant system where Fallout 3 had done good or bad you’re one or the other it was all about relationship with the different factions in the game. Maybe you would complete a quest for the Brotherhood of Steel and tick off all the people in New Vegas who are you expecting you to do it a different way. And by the end of the game there’s something like five or six different outcomes depending on the choices that you made. Had you turned New Vegas into an anarchist paradise? Or did you turn it into a bureaucratic nightmare via the old United States government? Or was it like a Roman Empire oligarchy led by Caesar? There are a lot of different ways it could pan out. Even now I’m playing Life Is Strange, the adventure game-slash-I don’t-even-know-quite-what-to-call-it from Square Enix and DONTNOD development, and it’s doing the same thing. It’s emphasizing your relationships to specific other people. Do you save your friend in this situation, or do you help your other friend? Or do you report this guy, and if you do, who’s going to get mad at you? Who’s going to retaliate against you, and who’s going to actually think you did the right thing? It’s interesting.

So that the ethics becomes much more multifaceted and complex.

It’s not just purely  thatthe game gives you a cookie because you did the good thing as opposed to punishing you because you did the bad thing.

It sounds like that starts to shade into politics as well. That seems to be, going back to the classic example, where the Ethics leaves off, Aristotle picks up with the Politics. And of course his Politics is a totally different book. What we have of it seems much less masterful and less finished, I guess. What is the kind of political valence or aspect of all this, then? If video games can teach people about becoming better individuals, can they also really do something to improve the political discourse and people’s citizenly sense of how they’re to act in the world? I don’t play any online games with interactions with other humans, so I haven’t really experienced what that’s like, but I get the sense that it’s sort of vile what a lot of people do to one another in those worlds, the kinds of conversations they have seem so petty and mean. So is there an outlook where that’s going to get better at any point?

There’s been a great deal of effort spent on how to make online environments into safer, better places, and I think a lot of those efforts have paid off. A lot of techniques for preventing toxicity of the kind you used to associate with the Xbox Live Arcade, where people just spew racist epithets at each other no matter what the circumstances. Out there are a lot of resources clamping down on that, and I think in general in my study of the ethics of discourse I’m keen to talk about the way that internet forums work with it, the way online communities like World of Warcraft work. Because even on Facebook there’s a certain etiquette and morality that’s been built up around it, in part enforced by Facebook, but also just in the way the people interact. If you go around spewing bile at people, they’re going to get unfriendly. People are going to put social pressure on you to fall into line.

And that’s because you’re not anonymous there in the same way that you are in a lot of these games, where you have a persona rather than being an actual person? I think that’s the connection between ethics and politics. As people care about you as an individual then you’re going to try to be a better person.

If you have a reputation to defend then you have good reason to be a good citizen. Whether that reputation is, “I’ve gotten through a hundred games on Counter-Strike and I have all the best equipment and all the fancy do-dads and statuses and avatars,” or if it’s just as simple as, “I don’t want to have to create a new account every time I log in to Call of Duty.”

So that would be the last point I want to touch on. What is it that really has the power to change people’s minds? It could be about political topics, which people are very entrenched in to the point that it’s bound up with their identity, their whole story of themselves. Because it seems like the only thing that’s reliable, that’s going to change people’s minds, is a kind of conversion experience. Trying to think about this, that’s what I came up with. That’s the change, that’s the turn. And it’s so powerful that we have sort of abdicated from that, backed away from, retreated from these religious forms of power and of community, because they were misused, they were perverted and corrupted like everything. But it seems like that is really at the end of the day the way that you change someone’s mind. It’s that kind of thing, it’s not simply through persuasion or by facts, it seems pretty clear. So what does one do with that? Is there still some kind of tenable outcome here? Do you have an idea of what your conclusion might be to this whole ethics of discourse? Do we have to go back to something in a religious framework, or is there some other way to really affect people and try to become better people?

It’s obviously a complex question. To give you the short and unhappy answer, I’m not at answers yet. To paraphrase Ian Danskin talking about the exact same thing when he does his videos on the Alt-Right Playbook, we’re not at solutions. (Editor’s note: the “Alt-Right Playbook” is described as “a new, ongoing series about the rhetorical strategies of the far Right and how not to fall for them”; TWRM and the author of this article do not support or condone the Alt-Right in any way, shape, or form.) So far as I can tell, yes, this is about worldviews. This is more than just facts and figures, more than marshalling the correct rational argument and thus persuading is conducted and now you are a better person. Rather, it’s about changing your entire outlook. And I say that from the first person, knowing that’s something I am engaged in doing. But as the Quran and the Bible and basically every religious text ever says, you cannot just coerce people into conversion. It has to be free, it has to come from the person themselves. Even when Jesus shows up to Saul on the road to Damascus he asks the question. It isn’t bam he snaps his fingers. It is, “Why do you kick against the pricks? Why do you fight so hard against what is the truth?” And it’s Paul who must himself come to the conclusion, “Oh, that was really dumb of me.” So admittedly that’s a radical situation where a miraculous presence has taken place, which is something we don’t really see or hear about every day…

If you take it as a metaphor, though, I don’t think it’s that outlandish. There’s this kind of recognition, this revelation of something you could call divine. In a person, in a moment. It’s this change that comes about for you. But it does seem like it has to be a choice, something you choose, or else it doesn’t have that impact.

And I think that’s what’s really concerning about this whole situation, is that most of the time we don’t force people to choose. That’s sort of the trick between pluralism and relativism. That’s why our pluralism doesn’t work. Because we don’t ask people to commit to their choices. We just say, “Yes, by all means hold as many conflicting ideas as you want. Yes, by all means do not examine yourself, and treat ideas like they’re tools or playthings, not like they’re the sort of thing that commands your entire reality.” As long as we treat them with that sort of kid-gloves attitude, there’s no reason why anyone would bother to convert. No one would take conversion seriously. It’s too hard, it’s too much work. It’s too temporary. There’s no promises. Who’s not to say you’re just going to convert again in three days, or five, or in a couple of months?

But kids don’t act that way when they play games. They get really taken with the game. They want the game to be played right, you know, and I think that’s what you’re talking about when you say you have to “become as a child.” Because it’s a plaything, but it’s an interesting kind of play.

It’s deadly serious, as Chesterton said of play.

All right. Well hey, Ben, I feel like that’s a good place to stop for this session, but I’d love to talk to you again one of these weeks, check in and see how your ideas are progressing. Does that sound good?

By all means. Absolutely. Just let me know what works for you, and I’ll be happy to appear on Bookwarm Games again.

I really appreciate it! Till next time, take care.

You too, Wes.

 

Foot-links:

Listen to the audio: https://anchor.fm/wesley-schantz/episodes/Bookwarm-5-Conversation-with-Ben-Kozlowski-e17lro or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zEsXQBN51Q&t=0s&index=6&list=PLFXlEyJmTWoZk7aycQyYzP3y-0R8iyUTg

More of Ben’s work here: https://watchmanzeke33.wordpress.com/

Notch – Minecraft
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markus_…

Shigeru Miyamoto – Mario and Zelda
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeru…

Errant Signal on Immersive Sims
https://www.youtube.com/user/Campster…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAtAy…

Extra Credits on toxicity, ethical systems, etc. as well as using games to teach, and games literacy
https://www.youtube.com/user/ExtraCre…

Ian Danskin – Innuendo Studios (and the “Alt-Right Playbook”)  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5fd…

Tonnies, Community and Civil Society (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft)

http://content.schweitzer-online.de/static/catalog_manager/live/media_files/representation/zd_std_orig__zd_schw_orig/002/330/171/9780521567824_table_of_content_pdf_1.pdf

 

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One thought on ““Essay Five: Conversation with Ben Kozlowski – On EarthBound and the Ethics of Ambiguity”

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