Friday, July 31, 2009

Games as Art?!? Oh Lord, THIS again?!?! :)

And here's his original post:

Ok, back to work- later!


ps. no clue why my sound is always outta sync...


Nick said...

I love Anthony Burch and he often makes some really great points, but I'm a little surprised how often he's willing to condemn people for speaking in absolutes and then turn around and immediately speak in absolutes. Telling specific groups of people that they don't love games is really weird and needlessly aggressive.

Coyotegrey said...

Dude needs to get laid ASAP.

Chris M Ferguson said...

As a writer trying to break into the film industry, this is something I have thought about and my conclusion always comes down to: What's so hard about making an emotional game?

I don't work in video games, but have read a lot and followed guys like you Jaffe and others, and from what I know is that video games are not created by storytellers, but by artists. Game designers. They hire very shitty writers to fill in some dialog here and there for mundane cut-scenes because they are typically not writers themselves. The story is an afterthought -- it's about building the world with concept art and other designs and then filling it in with story. Now, I'm sure this isn't the case for many games, but it definitely feels like it.

So why doesn't have a company actually create a game WITH a storyteller -- not a director, like Spielberg, who barely writes, and not a producer, who's a businessman, but an actual writer.

And there's this tendency in games to create very two-dimensional protagonists because they want the player to feel like they're in the character's shoes -- games have to move away from that.

Specificity is the key to universality. Not characters that speak in soundbites, or where their face isn't even visible in the entire game.

Yes, games have come a long way in a very short span of time, and they've gotten better, but the idea that making games that speak to the human condition is a bad thing needs to be shot behind the barn and buried in the ground.

How do you create an emotional game? You create four dimensional characters -- characters that you hate, love, and want to be. Think about Tony Soprano -- a modern Hamlet.

You build the story around your characters, not around your concept designs.

(Love the blog, by the way.)

Archminion said...

well sod David Baddiel clone, not even worth the time...

Archminion said...

so what made you lift the ban on the comments???

The Brains. said...

Dude, Jaffe, buddy, I totally see where you're coming from on this, but I totally also think that you are overblowing the concept of his rant. I'm not really a big Destructoid reader (I have it bookmarked, only visit it once in a while) but he wasn't ranting at YOU. Not towards the developers, but more towards the dumbass, disconnected audiences who moan about the concept and how that it goes against what the core concepts of gaming are about. I love that you did cite though that SCEA/J is a great publisher to work with if you want to make games like that though. There have been many truths to that, and proof is in the pudding, as it were.

Anyways, I think that he makes a very valid point nonetheless. The concept that games can be bigger than what they are disturbs the general gaming populous. Look at GTA IV, and what happened with that. For the first time in the series, Rockstar took the game to a more human level, brought things forward in an emotional, logical way, and changed the player input to character connections. Now, the game stood for hundreds of very high reviews, sold very well and was a huge critical success, but you also see that the audience who played it and the forum posts about the game now are largely negative. A lot of complaints were made about how they "took it too seriously" or how people were pissed that they couldn't fly planes or beat people to death with purple dildos! In fact on every Kotaku post about GTA IV I've been through over the last year, 90% of the comments were people just bashing how R* "ruined the game by making it serious". When all they were trying to do was convey a world much more like our own, while still having tongue in cheek humor that makes you laugh, and double think how much the parody is like the reality. That's just a prime example of a "big game" trying to tie into the human condition. Yes, it's hard to do, and takes large amounts of effort to create, but the concept is there.

Flower on the other hand is an extreme of the idea. It is a (albeit beautiful) abstract concept that makes you think outside the box while your brain still functions inside the one it lives in (if that makes any sense). But yes, the concept that you propose about how usually when a pitch is made about a game that has a more serious tone, it is taken as 'boring' or just lifeless. See, that's what he was ranting about. Why is the human condition so frowned upon in the gaming medium? Why does it have to be so simple? Look at Braid (another indie game, yeah, I know, I'm sorry, but indie dev's have newer ideas) and look at the concept that game brought forth. It was a-fucking-mazing. Touched on the human condition as much as it could, while still maintaining the feel and fun of a game. Same with Portal. These things may not be "profitable" to most publishers, but that's because we've crafted a culture of derelict degenerates that thrive on it. Look at how big Halo is now. And really think deep about how that game is all about disconnecting from core emotions. Yes, you save the Earth (or try to or whatever) but you never know shit about the man you play as. They keep that in the dark to keep you from being emotionally invested in the character, but more driven by the violence. The side characters are always forgettable (except Cortana, but she's a PROGRAM!) and the story never drives you to feel anything but KILLKILLKILLKILL.

That's why I have to say, I agree with his rant. It's not meant to insult you David, in fact, your humbleness about gaming is your strong point, you are blunt with your ideas, and it's very nice to see honesty and humility in another human being, no matter their status. And that is how a person would appreciate the human condition, no matter the medium. /rant end