Hilo Iconography, still inchoate
January 11, 2010
Chess sets, and Scrabble, certainly. But not Battleship, Mastermind, Risk, Monopoly, Clue?
Bicycles, and pipes (the kind you smoke). But not skateboards or cigarettes, muscle cars or cigars?
Teapots and typewriters. But not coffeepots or fountain pens?
Books. But not LPs?
What do you think?
I drink coffee, but I don’t own a coffeepot. Credibility intact!
What about Diplomacy? or is that not a Thing?
Diplomacy is a very fun game, but I’d say it’s anti-lowbrow, probably, not hilobrow — because it makes you despise everyone. Speaking of which, I believe that the idea for Diplomacy came from this Nietzsche passage (“Will to Power,” in case you couldn’t tell): “My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force ( — its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the parts of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement (“union”) with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: they then conspire for power. And the process goes on–.”
“Fun with Friedrich: A Primer in the Nietzschean Niceties for Boys and Girls,” by Joshua Glenn (digital edition forthcoming 2011).
I stopped by chez Glenn last night, and Josh was working on this very title with his designer. The coffee table was covered with 1930s Italian Fascist schoolbooks…
What Matthew says is, like all the best BS, so close to the truth!
Yes, but you’re missing the game theory aspect, though I don’t think I’m entirely clear on the strict lines between the ‘brows. Risk may be anti-lowbrow (those schamlzty paintings of field generals on the boxes! Oy!) and Battleship may be strictly lowbrow, but these games are dominated in some part by *luck*; isn’t Diplomacy’s insistence that the true engine of proper gaming is the narrow DMZ between minds make it properly Hilobrow? Or am I missing something?
I think Diplomacy, by removing luck entirely, is uber-Highbrow, which is what I mean by Anti-Lowbrow. Also, I should clarify that I enjoy all the games mentioned. My sons and I just finished up a week-long Risk game, as a matter of fact (my 9-year-old wiped us all out).
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