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Monday, September 14, 2015

Pick Art: Art vs. Science Splatfest

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Art is more encompassing of our philosophy and of game design.

It so happens that the North American Splatfests have been on-point. The one for this Saturday is "Art vs. Science", and that's a deep thing to discuss. Much better than that garbage Europe has arguing about if your bedroom is messy or tidy.

KoopaTV is firmly on the side of art, in large part because we consider all of our articles to be written art.

Splatoon Splatfest board Art Science
Damn right I joined this team.
But why should you join Team Art? Well, I have a few basic reasons.

  1. Science created the platforms of creative expression — art is that creative expression, and is much more easily appreciable.
  2. Splatoon needed advances in artistic design to exist, but not technological design.
  3. Science is a more potent tool for misleading the public than art is, so art is "less bad".

Platforms of Creative Expression


Technological developments come about because of scientific inquiry and applied scientific research & development. One way or another, there was some sort of scientific method to figuring out that you need a sharper rock to draw a cave-painting than a dull stone. Or whatever the hell they say happened. Similarly, Google developed the Blogger platform through some sort of scientific team. They also made the search engine and social network that give us the majority of our hits, and they developed the domain purchasing technology to give us our domain name. There's tremendous science in terms of amplifying the voice/music in theatres and concerts, and post-production editing for albums.

So science created all of these platforms, or the tools needed for art to exist. Yet, is that what's appreciated by folks? Nope, culture is. The actual creative expression is. People don't care about the freaking science behind how the paint is made or film's Golden Ratio — they care about George Zimmerman's Confederate Flag painting or Wreck-It Ralph (and not Pixels). And there really isn't science that goes into making those — there is instinct and creativity.

Once science has developed something, we really don't care about science for a while unless it makes something new or it has to do maintenance. And if it's doing maintenance, then it probably screwed up in the first place and that ain't something we appreciate.

Celebrating art is celebrating the creativity of the mind that makes livelihoods a lot more bright. Everything we talk about on KoopaTV came about from the artistic process, not the scientific one. Normally, you'd feel bad for the under-appreciated side because they're the underdog or underrated. In this instance, shed that pity and just go with the thing that brings you the most joy. That's art.

Game Design is an Art


Game design is considered an art. You need science to implement it, but again, what is appreciated is the artistic vision behind the design.

See DigiPen Institute of Technology's (a pioneer in game design education) video on the difference between their Bachelor of Arts and their Bachelor of Science degrees:


Basically, in the game design world, (computer) science is considered a necessary evil. It's the thing that restricts and inhibits the dreams of designers. That, and the budget/marketing department.

No one enjoys the programming behind games. All that is is a source of frustration, with glitches and bugs that delay things. "Oh, that's not actually a feasible idea." Says the kill-joy programmer on the cross-functional team you've made. It's the lesson that hopefully people are learning in Super Mario Maker, though Nintendo has unfortunately drastically changed the waiting requirements for more design tools to be available.

Now, you tell me the parts of Splatoon itself that people enjoy, and I'll tell you whether it's art or science:
  • The music — Art
  • The character designs — Art
  • The character personalities and their writing — Art
  • The game mechanic of changing from a kid to a squid — Derived through artistic process
  • The momentum of your squid as you swim through the ink — Refined through implementation, with credit going to the programmers. So Science
  • The colourfulness — Art
Most of Splatoon's charm comes from decisions made in the art process. Since art contributed much more to Splatoon's success than science did, if you really wanna pay tribute to Splatoon, then pick Team Art.

Manipulating the Masses


As the official propagandist outlet for Koopa Kingdom, I feel a special obligation to discuss the bad uses of science and the bad uses of art, and which one is worse for society. Let me note — I did not just say that KoopaTV is bad for society. Propaganda is a big plus if used for good.

Science, once the pursuit for the truth of the natural world (and we like truth), is now being a tool for use of manipulation by people who do not have your best interests in mind, like politicians. People say stuff like "The science is settled", which to me sounds totally antithetical as to what science is supposed to be. You know, stuff like global warming. Did you know scientists literally go out of their way to manipulate the data on that? Same goes for social science. Data is manipulated or made-up all the time whether it be statistics (like the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, or polling) or "ground-breaking" psychological studies. The "peer-reviewed" status is a total joke now. It doesn't mean anything. The scientists you see quoted are just dangerous ideologues that are trying to convince you to believe in them because they have a fancy title or a lab coat.

Squid Research Lab Splatoon Global Testfire Inkling white lab coats Nintendo Treehouse
Don't trust the Squid Research Lab, either. They're celebrating over someone disconnecting and calling it science.
Literally lab coats with jeans.

Obviously, art is used for misleading people too. But it's less effective. Now, I can't back that up with data (that'd be science and you can't trust science to bad-mouth science), but art doesn't have the appeal to the "oh they must be smarter than me" authority that science has. You can agree or disagree with the points art makes based on its merit, so long as you're not caught up in the production value. Folks like the feminists claim that art can nebulously feed into this feedback loop that transforms the culture without you even knowing about it, but if you have any self-awareness at all you can combat that with contrarian views or even contrarian art.

But with science, you just see "new scientific model says the Earth will be flooded in 20 years unless you have a jobs-killing carbon tax enacted now" and you better believe it because, hey, the word "scientific" is in the title. Art is much less harmful. Not to mention creative as to how you get the message across.

Art is a lot more enriching for society as a whole. Science brings us new opportunities, and art ARE those opportunities. Art is also a lot more accessible to the common folk: Anyone can do art, but you need a PhD or something to be called a scientist. In the interest of populism, we think Team Art represents your interests.

...Also I don't particularly think that all the Team Science people are actually scientists. Just sheep joining the "science is cool guys" crowd who really dunno squat. They're probably not even good at Splatoon. Team Art is gonna dominate, so join the winning team.


Ludwig also likes that Team Art is purple-coloured, whereas Team Science is orange. And who the hell likes Orange? You can see how good (or bad) Ludwig is at Splatoon by friending him with NNID PrinceOfKoopas.


In the interest of disclosure: Ludwig literally owns a business called Ludwig Painting, so of course he's pro-art.
KoopaTV wrote an opinion piece on the previous Splatfest of the Transformers. See it here, featuring another conflict of interest.
Next week, KoopaTV discusses the Sleeping vs. Eating Splatfest.
Three weeks later, KoopaTV endorses planes in Cars vs. Planes.

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