All posts by Santiago J. Franzani

About Santiago J. Franzani

His mission is to smuggle surrealism to the confines of the Internet.

Okhlos: Freedom in the Time of the Angry Mob

An ancient conception of the individual (strange to us today) helps us understand what freedom is and where it comes from, while  all the juxtaposed elements of this equation present themselves to us in a recent videogame.

Videogame: Okhlos (Coffee Powered Machine, 2016)
: Democracia ateniense by Linterna de Diógenes (March 17th, 2013)
Voice: Bernardo Souvirón Continue reading Okhlos: Freedom in the Time of the Angry Mob

Bashing the Language

Each medium has its own classicism, a point in which the device (be it a VR helmet in videogames, sound recording in cinema or perspective in painting) is sufficiently advanced technologically and its language is rich enough to build a persuasive rhetoric. What stage are videogames at? Have they reached their classicism? Considering there already are games with a high degree of immersion, in which a player can lose herself for hours on end, I’d wager to say they are; and they keep perfecting that classicism with each new technological improvement and their parallel search for the way to handle that improvement as language. There arises the problem of how to manipulate the player with a rhetoric bold enough to make her say, “It’s just a story, it’s fantasy.” The work creates a symbolic world consistent with ideas of what is beautiful/ugly, true/false, good/bad, etc. and it persuades us to adopt those values, and even reproduce them in our daily lives. Only by getting to the latent ideas that the work constructs are we able to critically analyze its subjectivity. Do the authors want us to achieve this? Or would they rather pass their work off as mere fantasy entertainment that has no repercussion on our way of thinking?

Continue reading Bashing the Language

It’s just a story, it’s a matter of taste

In my travels as an internaut I too often come across expressions like “it’s just a story”, “it’s a matter of taste” or “it’s what the artist found within” when a fearless user points out a game’s ideologically objectionable content. It is a good point: no one can tell someone who’s expressing themselves how they should do it. But I don’t think we’re talking about freedom of speech, but rather of one’s accountability over the content they broadcast. The very notion that someone would think a story or a game is something we come up with out of the blue, as a matter of taste, and has no effect on the player beyond a series of emotions, unsettles me quite a bit. Continue reading It’s just a story, it’s a matter of taste

We Call It the Videogame Industry

A few weeks ago, alongside my fellow Matajueguian, Pablo F. Quarta, and several other people, I participated in a panel held during the first edition of Meet the Devs 2016 about the current state of the videogames industry here in Argentina. I was struck by the thought that someone would think me capable of talking about the industry, since I’ve (almost deliberately) never been a part of it.


In the past, I studied film. In the manifestos by different filmmakers and in the other theoretical texts I read, the difference between industrial and independent cinema was always latent or explicit. We see this same confrontation in animated film, comics, music, and other art. There’s always this idea in the background that independence means independence from the industry, and that it promotes a more authorial product, not one designed for popular taste but rather one that takes risks, either formally or in its content. Continue reading We Call It the Videogame Industry

Don’t Call it Art, Don’t Call Me an Artist

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Dada, I thought it’d be fitting to write about the anti-art stance that distinguishes both the avant-garde art movement and  the world of videogames.

Comparing them, however, is just a trigger: one is an art movement, the other’s a medium. There are videogames with Dadaist attitudes, but the purpose of this article is to reflect on the anti-art sentiments that link games and Dada, and on developing an external reference point that will allow us to understand different perspectives within the game dev community. Continue reading Don’t Call it Art, Don’t Call Me an Artist