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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Art Form Schmart Form.

  So after just posting about the NYU Game Design lecture by Richard Garfield, I put a lot of thought into the little line I had pointed to from the video about baseball being designed at some point. Thanks to that little tid bit of information, I've now looked at the scope of a game as a whole, and it's pretty stagnant as far as a medium goes.

  Bold statement, I'm sure, but I have this feeling that much of the problem stems from a major contributor to interactive activity, video games, having a small obsession lately with becoming a full fledged art form. I must admit as well that I too am a culprit in this department, after all I mainly want to write. However the thing that stirred the deepest thought was the fact that as video games themselves grow and age, so to their audience. That's come to be obvious. And that same audience wants desperately to fit in amongst other meaningful media such as movies or literature, that the medium is catering to a hunger for recreating the narrative experiences unique to both movies or literature. Problem is that none of those three examples will ever be able to recreate the other, but the game industry is the only one that doesn't seem to get that point yet. Something that should be seriously reconsidered.

  So lastly leading into the point from the video. Using sports as an example, games can have a huge cultural impact, although few people can successfully argue that the sport or game can be considered what I once heard called "Sublime Art", something representational that causes a complex emotional response on almost any of the conscious levels to paraphrase it horribly. Yet sports themselves have enormous presences all over the world and you just have look at the unity created by the World Cup of soccer or the Olympics as an example. They impact on a global scale and that to me is what I could qualify as meaningful and respectable.

  I guess I believe that gamers, including myself looking to get into the industry, must consider simply becoming more meaningful and respectable rather then becoming more artistic. Engraving an activity into a civilization can take time, but once it's there it's very hard to remove and creating something of that magnitude can be certainly argued as important or meaningful. And humans will always have the need to entertain themselves as sure as we have the need to feed ourselves. Now tell me how many people would read the same book twice in a row? Now how many people could spend their weekend in a tournament playing beer league softball? Plain and simple, play is powerful, and game designers would do well to think more about a new play experience, or creating an exciting new audience to take part in rather then developing yearly iterations of their most popular titles, (*Cough* Modern Warfare. *Cough* Assassin's Creed). Yes the risk is higher then basing off what sold year previously, but building a culture around something is much more special, and in the long run, profitable as well. Really depends on if you see it as a fair trade off.

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