[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 21:25:02 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> Characters in video games behave as if they have consciousness.

No, they don't. Not even close. Not even REMOTELY close. To someone
who actually grew up playing video games, this is a completely
outrageous statement that can hardly even be addressed for how absurd
it is.

All I have to do to refute you is point at the most sophisticated
simulation of humanity ever to appear in a computer game, and say,
look. Look at it. It can only converse by following a script, and
beyond that it has no apparent reaction to anything short of being

Half-Life 2 famously had a mind-bogglingly realistic cast and
immersive world. Basically, this means that the "people" in it would
turn their heads to look at you if you stood within a defined radius
of them. They also had excellent pre-programmed facial expressions to
go with their dialogue, recorded from actual human beings.

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> I don't play video games myself but I've known children who did. They often spoke of the characters in their video games as if those characters really existed as consciousness entities. Then they matured.

Exactly the same argument applies to characters in movies.

Right now, the game industry is passing through a movie phase. The
latest and greatest games, at the height of technology, are just
interactive stories. Allowing for a branching storyline, including
more than one possible ending, is to this day considered the absolute
cutting edge of the medium. It's been that way for decades.

This is pretty much the reason I no longer keep up with the high-end
games. If you are making money, you are not making games; you are
making movies, and I don't much care for movies.

Gordon, if you are unable to imagine any simulation of life more
sophisticated than that in a computer game (or, much worse, a console
game), then you are not qualified to participate in this discussion.
Please tell me this is not the case.

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