Pedal to the Metal is BACK! The Art of Gaming

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#1 Edited by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

Is gaming an art form? Pedal to the Metal along with special guest @Minishdriveby weigh in...

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#2 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

Test

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#3 Posted by jg4xchamp (61465 posts) -

No.

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#4 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@jg4xchamp: damn it, you broke it champ

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#5 Edited by getyeryayasout (11500 posts) -

Good to have you back. Disc Golf makes my arm sore, but luckily I'm fully medicated when I play and am able to push through the pain.

Wait. Minnishdriveby is playing 52 games this year!? That's awesome.

Nice to hear Silicon Valley getting love.

On topic: While I don't think of all games as art, I do think that some games are art, although it seems like the more they are art, the less they are games (my head hurts).

  1. art1ärt/noun
    1. 1.the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."the art of the Renaissance"
      synonyms:fine art, artwork More
    2. 2.the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance."the visual arts".
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#6 Posted by Willy105 (24747 posts) -

Well, anything someone has made that expresses mimesis is art.

Much like how painters create things that come from their inner selves using brush-strokes, filmmakers can create things that come from their inner selves using light and sound; programmers can create things that come from their inner selves using code. Not only can a game itself be art; the games themselves can have various pieces of art in it, by having the work of composers, visual designers and voice talent and more contribute to the final product, just like movies do.

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#7 Posted by Blabadon (33030 posts) -

Is art an art form?

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#8 Posted by CrownKingArthur (5262 posts) -
@Blabadon said:

Is art an art form?

i don't know

but your question

is

art

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#9 Edited by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@Blabadon: that's actually a valid argument when speaking in broad strokes... that's kinda why I argued that the validity of art is found in the eye of the beholder... I mean I don't listen to growling death core metal and think, wow this is really great art, but someone in the know may feel completely different.

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#10 Posted by Willy105 (24747 posts) -

@TheEroica said:

@Blabadon: that's actually a valid argument when speaking in broad strokes... that's kinda why I argued that the validity of art is found in the eye of the beholder... I mean I don't listen to growling death core metal and think, wow this is really great art, but someone in the know may feel completely different.

Whole editorials are devoted to such music, in fact, exploring all it's qualities and offering commentary on it's subjects and execution. The same could be and is done with games, although you could argue the maturity of the journalistic landscape for videogames would make such features rather rare.

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#11 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@Willy105: yeah exactly... I think in the end it comes down to what the perceived intent of the "artist" is... do I think the devs behind Army of 2 are attempting to fulfill their audience with artistic integrity and expression for the sake of deep emotional responses? No, I dont... (and I'm not knocking that franchise in the least) but I do believe that there are offerings more frequent than maybe we give credit for, where there is a mindset of emotional and artistic development... and I believe it happens as frequently as it does in any other art medium that serves an industry where monetary viability is king (music, movies, tv etc.).

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#12 Posted by Heil68 (57915 posts) -

@getyeryayasout:

We should play this year!

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#13 Posted by getyeryayasout (11500 posts) -

@Heil68: Any time, my man. Destiny Beta's coming up, let's tear it down! :P

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#14 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@getyeryayasout: I think he means Frisbee Golf... heil's a legend in the game.

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#15 Posted by jsmoke03 (13696 posts) -

@CrownKingArthur said:
@Blabadon said:

Is art an art form?

i don't know

but your question

is

art

:*(

that was sooo beautiful

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#16 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

listening to it now, and yes. Games are art. COD however isn't on the same field as Journey, just as Justin Bieber can't be compared to Mozart. One is commercial and one is art

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#17 Posted by Heil68 (57915 posts) -

@getyeryayasout said:

@Heil68: Any time, my man. Destiny Beta's coming up, let's tear it down! :P

I'm talking Disk Golf :D

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#18 Posted by jsmoke03 (13696 posts) -

you know what i realized...you guys need some casuals on your show

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#19 Posted by getyeryayasout (11500 posts) -

@Heil68 said:

@getyeryayasout said:

@Heil68: Any time, my man. Destiny Beta's coming up, let's tear it down! :P

I'm talking Disk Golf :D

Sounds great, I'll bring the cooler. :)

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#20 Edited by jg4xchamp (61465 posts) -

@TheEroica said:

@jg4xchamp: damn it, you broke it champ

Cool, I'll go through the trouble of making a proper post now that it's unbroke, to rebroke it.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/culturehousedaily/2014/05/gaming-isnt-art-and-those-who-think-it-is-need-to-chill-out/

This was the article that made me recommend the topic, because fundamentally I think it is a well written piece (and other reasons, but whatever). I think there is a double standard that gamers need to correct before they run their mouth about art. First and foremost if you're going to play the "oh they don't know anything about gaming card" than you know must actually know shit about those other art forms to make valid criticisms and comparisons to why gaming is art or not. It should work both ways no? Cool now that we got that out of the way.

That piece is argued from someone who is in the art world for a living. The way the word was originally used to describe things like poetry, dance, theater, painting, sculpture, architecture, and music. With the exception of epic poems those aren't necessarily "story telling" mediums in the strictest sense. You can tell a story for instance, but it's not necessarily the driving force behind the work. Why mention story? I'm actually going to get back to that.

In that article dude outlines how art has been judged by people who live in that world, and what values an individual piece has in a museum and such. And why a film doesn't translate to that kind of expression. Why? Because it's taken completely out of context, a film is better enjoyed as a film. Start to finish, you sit down, you watch. It can't be trimmed out, put on display, and be discussed in any meaningful way without the rest of the context to justify every thought that can be made about the work. What was lost in his gaming isn't really art, and shouldn't aspire to be, was that he's telling you things film aren't art either. And when you think about it in those terms does gaming really get judged as a painting? sculpture? architecture? no, it's completely silly to even make that comparison?

So why do we make it? why make such a fuss about the label art? Why get infuriated that gaming has more in common with chess, checkers, and sports (the game, not the athletes part): than it actually does with film, literature, or poetry? Well lets go back to the article for a choice quote

Furthermore, because we can be talking about two different things when we talk about art – the first an institutional definition, whose boundaries indeed shift, and the other, which has a wider brief, about what possesses cultural significance – we can often find ourselves in a muddle. If we feel something lacks the cultural cachet it deserves – such as games – some immediately seek to validate it in terms of art, not just as something that possesses cultural value but that which should be accepted by the art world. And they seek to do so by listing criteria which no longer hold weight in the art world, such as how intricately made something is, how skilful its production, or how beautiful. Such are the confusions and convolutions we have arrived at after a hundred years of modernism and its off-shoots.

And that's always been my issue with this discussion. Gamers aren't making this conversation based on some wealth of knowledge on what art is, or actually having a proper look at the term beyond "well wikipedia this is the definition, so why bother having a thought process at all?". They do it because they need validation. A pat on the back. A word that vindicates all their time spent into something they enjoyed. And my question is what value does this word truly have? Even if you got it, all it offers is reduced ways of talking about things.

Bioshock is art: doesn't say anything. It doesn't tell you why you found the game compelling. What worked about the gameplay. What design aspects of the game stand strong, and are built to last. All it is is just a label at that point. A petty one where once you start stacking the other art forms: gaming sticks out as an outlier as it has the least in common with the rest. The same way film would stick out, because the expression is completely different. Which brings us back to the story thing.

Every bit of this word rests its laurels on "story telling" Modern era arm chair critics and champions insist gaming is art because of x games story, or y games narrative, or z games characters. Because to them art is a cute synonym for great story. But it isn't, and more to the point what would you gain about acknowleding gaming as a story telling medium? The part where it's subpar in comparison to better story telling mediums: Film, literature, and recently television wouldn't be invalidated. That argument would go strong for years. If you had given Ebert The Last of Us, he'd tell you it's a less compelling version of The Road, with some hint of Children of Men. Yes he wouldn't understand the value of the games execution in relation to other videogames, but he'd know how to compare its execution to how much more effective it was in film/literature. This is not to say The Last of Us isn't terrific (it is), but if you took its story telling in a vacuum against the other plots, it wouldn't hold much weight.

And the part that bugs me the most: In my 26 years of existence I have never heard the words: "Super Mario Bros. is art." It's laughed at by gamers when you say that. And I ask why? If gaming is art? if the process of making a game is the same process as creating art, how is the quintessential videogame, not art? The craftsmenship, the gameplay, every aspect of its design that show cases how it creates joy, challenge, and delight for a human being through a players input is somehow not the reasons a game would be art? The things that are actually exclusive to this medium, the things that define this medium, the things that separate this medium from the others: isn't the thing we want to argue for art, but WE desperately want that label? I'm missing the part where that makes sense.

Let's not talk about the brilliant boss designs in Shadow of the Colossus. Let's mention the religion imagery/nods in the game. You know the videogame equivalent of the curtains being blue: translation its fluff.

And not for five seconds do I buy: commercial vs art. Mozart wasn't exactly trying to be broke. Neither was Rapheal. And this just in: it's not like Ken Levine, Jonathan Blow, and Ueda aren't trying to make commercially productive games. Approach may be different, but the goal is similar: make the game they want, and then hope its successful for it: so they can pile on some money.

So yeah this is why usually I just bow out of the art discussion. I don't think that word the way its used in the gaming community is a good word. It's a stupid label made by the residents of Mt. Pious so some people can validate what they enjoy, so they can join the residents of Mt. Pious. It creates lazy discussions/descriptions about games, as opposed to well articulated thoughts. I'd much rather celebrate the aspects that make gaming different, and makes enjoying a game different: vs trying to put it in the same category as a painting or film.

My long ass 2 cents.

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#21 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@jg4xchamp: so much I want to get into with this and I'm in the worst spot to do so right now... I'll be back, but of what I read of the article and your thoughts on the matter, I do agree with much of both... what I want to expand on is the allowance that art l can be perceived differently across generational lines... being a career musician and being entrenched in the "what is art" conversation for many years, I often come back to the topic of "art for arts sake," or the idea that we determine arts legitimacy based on pre conceived notions of what art is through history's many offerings. Should we allow the way we perceive it's definition to wholely adjust to the culture creating it? or should we be steadfast in maintaining more rigidity to the term as to keep it from being bastardized by those who enjoy throwing the term around?

In the end I agree with the notion that it is used more as a go-to word to help legitimize the hobby more so than it is critically though about, which is pointless because who exactly are you helping in that instance?

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#22 Edited by Minishdriveby (10520 posts) -

@TheEroica@jg4xchamp I'd like to expand my thoughts and articulate my stance a little better than I did in the podcast. I'm not as fluent and on my feet as the rest of the hosts are when it comes to talking about these topics. I'll be back to clarify a couple of the things, but I just want to add that I don't agree with the article's stance on films as not being "art". It takes the stance that anything with a temporal aspect cannot be labeled as art for fear of missing context when viewed in a museum or gallery; the idea also brings with it the notion that more traditional art forms that are most commonly viewed in museums and galleries don't need time, effort, or context to be considered when viewing. In such a sense literature shouldn't be labeled as art because it can be taken out of context if only viewing a page.

He makes the statement that "gamers" try to validate art in outdated terms, but he seems to be validating art in outdated terms as well. It would be like saying a centrifuge isn't technology because it has no meaning/purpose for a medieval agrarian society.

With that being said I can understand your stance of the video game community trying to validate their time by classifying it with a term that has been used to describe something that is worth while to society, but by reducing it to a single word, it begins to reduce the value of the work. I think part of this reductionist thought process is because it's difficult to describe things. On this very podcast we were beginning to get a little bit more into Watch_Dogs and Sniper Elite 3. We discussing average games, not shit games, not amazing games, but just average. I started to describe it as "Yeah it's not really great, it's kind of shit, but not shit." AnimalMother corrected me for calling it shit, and I realized it wasn't a good description or thought of what I was trying to get at and tried to recant my statement.

Unfortunately, the time was limited although I had a couple of more discussion points I wanted to mention on the show. One of those was about mechanics in games being art. Anyway I really have to run to catch frogs for lab work later in the week. It would have been great to have had you on the podcast. It's always nice to bounce thoughts and ideas off other people, especially those who may challenge your ideas/ thoughts.


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#23 Posted by Minishdriveby (10520 posts) -
@getyeryayasout said:

Good to have you back. Disc Golf makes my arm sore, but luckily I'm fully medicated when I play and am able to push through the pain.

Wait. Minnishdriveby is playing 52 games this year!? That's awesome.

Nice to hear Silicon Valley getting love.

On topic: While I don't think of all games as art, I do think that some games are art, although it seems like the more they are art, the less they are games (my head hurts).

  1. art1ärt/noun
    1. 1.the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."the art of the Renaissance"
      synonyms:fine art, artwork More
    2. 2.the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance."the visual arts".

Yeah I'm at 41 games at the moment. I decided that I just want to expand my experiences this year, so I've been going through films, reading more books and playing a more diverse range of games. The games list can be seen at: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=95445151&postcount=120

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#24 Edited by getyeryayasout (11500 posts) -

For me, art is any man-made thing that elicits an emotional response. Video games easily fall into this category.

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#25 Posted by getyeryayasout (11500 posts) -

@Minishdriveby: Color me impressed, mi amigo!

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#26 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@Minishdriveby: how far on your 52 games are you now, have managed getting any further?

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#27 Posted by Blabadon (33030 posts) -

I remember when champ was unsure about calling TLoU even a great game

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#28 Posted by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@Blabadon: I feel like tlou ages better with each playthrough. I still feel like the first half of that game borders on dull at times...

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#29 Posted by Minishdriveby (10520 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby: how far on your 52 games are you now, have managed getting any further?

I beat Bit.Trip Runner earlier in the week. I have 3 more puzzles in KAMI before I complete that, so I'll probably be around 42 tonight.

I'm also 2 dungeons into Minish Cap, 30 hours into Dark Souls II, and 40 hours into Bravely Default (although Bravely Default was started at the beginning of the year and put on hiatus around March).

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#30 Edited by jg4xchamp (61465 posts) -

**** that Watch Dogs is garbage. It does nothing well. The shooting? lousy, the hacking? simplistic to the point of being insulting. The stealth? lolwutstealth? the mission designs? as rudimentary as you can get in an open world in 2014. It's a soulless experience that's trying to be saved by its presentation, raw content count, and the fact that everything it does can't be described as "broken". I do not subscribe to the theory that a bad game must be broken. Nor do I subscribe to the theory that a bad game, or an average game won't have short bursts of fun. Can Watch Dogs have its moments? sure. But they are rare segments, before you go through something completely by the numbers.

It deserves all the heat it gets. It is the poster child of every stereotype one can make against triple A gaming.

And funny thought on that minish: I had this talk with Sean as I started doing more video stuff for my website. When you sit down, to collect your thoughts, and try to articulate them in a written manner=easier than just talking and being just as articulate. That's not to say writing down your thoughts doesn't have its degree of difficulty, but you got more time to mess with. Podcast/video you are more in a hurry, and your thoughts need to be collected quicker. So instead of being all profound and shit, you end up with: um, yeah, duh, ur, and then regurgitate a hand full of adjectives, even if you have better range than that. So I understand your pain. It's twice as irritating while playing a videogame.

As for Last of Us: 3 playthroughs later I buy it as a great. I think it takes until Bill's town for that game to really hit its stride, but whatever I'm willing to see that game halfway on some of its decisions. The sneaking around and killing people was satisfying, the gunplay was awesome sans the pistols being a little much with the sway, breaking line of sight needs to be in all third person shooters, and the plot is fundamentally well executed. Wont win you over with originality, but the execution is on point. Sans one audio tape. Oh and the MP was neat, too bad none of my friends were willing to play it.

Edit: Also Eroica you should play

Valiant Hearts: because Exhibit A

and

Shovel Knight, because that game speaks to our childhood gaming years. Plus I made my nephew play it.

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#31 Edited by TheEroica (17296 posts) -

@jg4xchamp: your watchdogs sentiment is spot on... just what ubisoft needed, to debut something that feels even more dated and uninspired than its flagship franchise that gets bagged on for its unabashed oversaturation... oh and did I mention the franchise DEBUTED this way. Sigh. Seriously, **** watchdogs and the horse it rode in on.

Watched some footage of shovel knight a few weeks ago... yup, gittin' it.... Valiant hearts... ooh looks tasty

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#32 Posted by Blabadon (33030 posts) -

@TheEroica said:

@Blabadon: I feel like tlou ages better with each playthrough. I still feel like the first half of that game borders on dull at times...

That's partly because the game introduces itself twice. Once as a cinematic blockbuster, the second time as a dreary, boring chest-high wall TPS.

It's a definite flaw.

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#33 Edited by Behardy24 (5324 posts) -

listening to it now.

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#34 Edited by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@Minishdriveby said:

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby: how far on your 52 games are you now, have managed getting any further?

I beat Bit.Trip Runner earlier in the week. I have 3 more puzzles in KAMI before I complete that, so I'll probably be around 42 tonight.

I'm also 2 dungeons into Minish Cap, 30 hours into Dark Souls II, and 40 hours into Bravely Default (although Bravely Default was started at the beginning of the year and put on hiatus around March).

Doesn't look like you will have any problem beating your 1 game each week target

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#35 Posted by Minishdriveby (10520 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby said:

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby: how far on your 52 games are you now, have managed getting any further?

I beat Bit.Trip Runner earlier in the week. I have 3 more puzzles in KAMI before I complete that, so I'll probably be around 42 tonight.

I'm also 2 dungeons into Minish Cap, 30 hours into Dark Souls II, and 40 hours into Bravely Default (although Bravely Default was started at the beginning of the year and put on hiatus around March).

Doesn't look like you will have any problem beating your 1 game each week target

Often times I've been playing short freeware browser games, the type that can be beaten in 30 minutes and offer a unique experience. The longer RPGs progression usually halts due to other responsibilities. I was able to have 3 days off and managed to get that far into Dark Souls II about a month ago, but I haven't had the time since then. It's rather easy to fill up the 52 games list playing creative more experimental titles that only last 0.5-5 hours then it is to go through filling the list playing 52 40-80 hour RPGs.

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#36 Edited by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@Minishdriveby said:

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby said:

@The_Last_Ride said:

@Minishdriveby: how far on your 52 games are you now, have managed getting any further?

I beat Bit.Trip Runner earlier in the week. I have 3 more puzzles in KAMI before I complete that, so I'll probably be around 42 tonight.

I'm also 2 dungeons into Minish Cap, 30 hours into Dark Souls II, and 40 hours into Bravely Default (although Bravely Default was started at the beginning of the year and put on hiatus around March).

Doesn't look like you will have any problem beating your 1 game each week target

Often times I've been playing short freeware browser games, the type that can be beaten in 30 minutes and offer a unique experience. The longer RPGs progression usually halts due to other responsibilities. I was able to have 3 days off and managed to get that far into Dark Souls II about a month ago, but I haven't had the time since then. It's rather easy to fill up the 52 games list playing creative more experimental titles that only last 0.5-5 hours then it is to go through filling the list playing 52 40-80 hour RPGs.

oh ok, i tend to play larger games

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#37 Posted by jsmoke03 (13696 posts) -

i think im in the minority here but i dont think games are an art form, just as i dont think music or movies are an art form.

i think games have art in it, and games are beautiful and very creative, but i think the term art form is thrown around where its not appropriate and just having elements of it doesnt make it art

if its about creating something that brings out emotion....it blankets too many things that most people would not consider art.

ive been to musems where they have modern art installations of a pile of garbage....that isnt art either...its a carefully placed pile of garbage.

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#38 Edited by Heil68 (57915 posts) -

@jsmoke03 said:

i think im in the minority here but i dont think games are an art form, just as i dont think music or movies are an art form.

i think games have art in it, and games are beautiful and very creative, but i think the term art form is thrown around where its not appropriate and just having elements of it doesnt make it art

if its about creating something that brings out emotion....it blankets too many things that most people would not consider art.

ive been to musems where they have modern art installations of a pile of garbage....that isnt art either...its a carefully placed pile of garbage.

That's what is great about the debate. Art is and always will be subjective and it's fun ti discuss.

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#39 Posted by Ballroompirate (25924 posts) -

Man I've been slacking on P2M, the past few ones I've totally forgotten about. Usually I just listen to P2M when I do some photoshop which I've been doing a lot of recently.

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#40 Posted by Heil68 (57915 posts) -

@Ballroompirate said:

Man I've been slacking on P2M, the past few ones I've totally forgotten about. Usually I just listen to P2M when I do some photoshop which I've been doing a lot of recently.

Have you been on the show? If now we would love to have new guest and you would have a good time!

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#41 Edited by Ballroompirate (25924 posts) -

@Heil68 said:

@Ballroompirate said:

Man I've been slacking on P2M, the past few ones I've totally forgotten about. Usually I just listen to P2M when I do some photoshop which I've been doing a lot of recently.

Have you been on the show? If now we would love to have new guest and you would have a good time!

I'm always on the show, in your guys thoughts and spirit!

No I haven't been on the show