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Discussion in 'Announcements' started by MFS, Jan 24, 2009.
That would probably be a good flash game
Woot woot for unpopular awards!
Actually the IGF nomination annoys me more.
Magazine editors are free to follow their own inside jokes or whatever for their own publications. It's their own editorial statement. It doesn't really have to be fair. But the IGF is suppose to be striving to be a prestiges award festival, which means it needs to be judged by some consistent criteria.
Also developers aren't paying PC Gamer to be nominated for their awards. Developers aren't flying half-way around the world to appear at a ceremony. There isn't thousands of dollars in prize money at stake. With the PC Gamer awards, we just make a few angry/approving forum posts and then that's pretty much the end of it. No one's time or money is wasted unlike IGF.
Devil's Advocate time, guys...
Is it time to kick all the Piet Mondrian or Mark Rothko paintings out of museums and purge them from the literature? What about Jackson Pollock? Surely that's not art... he just dripped a bunch of paint onto a canvas! He's taking away recognition and wall space that *real* artists could use!
Irony aside... I feel like the fact that we are even having this discussion means that YHTBTR puts the final nail in the coffin of the "games aren't art" argument. The parallel is just absolutely striking... The artists I mentioned above were all somewhat controversial for their time, with many critics who derided their work and claimed it wasn't even art. But time has proved them wrong... Mondrian in particular is a great example, because he intentionally set out to answer the question of what makes art... how far could he distill down his work and still be representational of *something*?
Now, I think the motive behind YHTBTR was similar. I see it as a satirical attack on two things: giant, AAA multi-million dollar budget games... and their lack of innovation. In that regard it has succeeded amazingly well.
Here's some more reading material if you care: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimalism
I didn't see any strong dig at against AAA games in YHTBTR. I just saw it as a playful dig at game mechanics that force you do some unexplained non-sequitur to get past a challenge - hence "You Have to Burn the Rope". Plus perhaps a dig at ending sequences, although I've heard that that was a close copy of Portal, which I have not played.
I also find the IGF nomination to be more unsettling then any top list from a magazine editor. Top lists have always be highly subjective, and a highly questionable pick like this just tells me that the editor in question probably doesn't have a good pulse on what makes a good indie game. Whereas IGF's official nature as the premier indie award makes a nomination more of an issue - it basically says the top indie judges deem a joke game like YHTBTR as one of the top five innovative indie games of the year. It's more the setting of the benchmark of what type of innovation gets officially acknowledged that troubles me.
You're right on all points but I think you're missing the problem... "Game as art" is two parts: Art + GAME. The problem is that 90% of these "games as art" are ALL ART AND NO GAME. Let's do a focused analysis of YHTBTR:
Art: Good sense of humor, funny music, clever subtle message, good synergy between subtle message and production values, some degree of novelty.
Game: Platforming mechanics that are simple even by 1986 standards (how the f*ck is that innovative in a GAME festival?). Game completion requires you to touch the torch sprite, then touch the rope sprite. No dexterity challenge, no intellectual challenge, no emotional challenge, no fast-response challenge, no resource management challenge, no challenge whatsoever. It's like a basketball court with no baskets (but ROFLS it pokes at the AAA industry, ROFLS!).
If people want to award innovations in interactive art, then they should create an interactive art category and isolate it from all the real games. Then they can go hog wild with the true interactive art (along with any other cleverware/ROFLware/pretentiousware they see fit), while the rest of us IGF fans can look forward to seeing what's new in GAME MECHANICS.
Remember back in 2004 when Oasis won the grand prize? I didn't even like Oasis as a gamer, but I respected the judges' decision because it WAS an interesting fusion of different game mechanics. That's what I want to see, dammit!!!
Agreed. The key word is "innovation" and as previously discussed in another thread, YHTBTR is just crudely repeating a criticism of AAA games that has been done before, and done better.
I can agree it's art, but it doesn't deserve an award for innovation at the expense of game authors who paid money to submit an actual innovative game.
Actually now I think about it, there is one aspect of this that has been slowly getting at me, which is that the argument in favour of YHTBTR being given top accolades basically boils down to "You know what indie games are best at? Making fun of real games!".
(Note that I don't think all this hullabaloo was the intention of YHTBTR's creator; he just made a fun joke game. It's all this over-analysis that's stretching it thin.)
vjvj is absolutely right. A game is labeled as art the less it resembles a real game and the more it resembles some of the already established forms of entertainment, or, even better, it doesn't try to be anything but clever. Afterall, that is what art has become in our times, a way for people to display their cleverness. In a culture as puerile as ours that is to be expected and, like Reactor implied, youtube will be the way of all things.
Rather than being a sign that gaming has matured, this is a sign that the surrounding world simply will not let it mature.
Agreed 200%. What's needed is a separate "international wanky artistic bullshit festival", which can attract stuff like that.
Then the IGF can concentrate on actual GAMES which tens of thousands of people will actually want to play, and *shock horror* buy.
I can see your meaning here and I think it's somewhat true. However I feel like it's making a distinction between "games as art" and "games as a business". For a lot of developpers, sure we would like to get the publicity of being a winner, but what is the actual role of the IGF?
I think that even as an art game, there were plenty of better art games released that year. There was Gravitation by Jason Rohrer, The Graveyard by Tale of Tales, Mighty Jill Off by Desgeega, Barkely: Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden by Chef Boyardee, and so on. All of them were much more artistic and even more "clever" than this one. Which isn't to say this one is horrible, just not exceptional.
Art: you need to have a unique look and feel
Innovation: Maybe if you somehow got a power glove working for input it would be "innovative"
Technical: Unique physics
Okay heres what you need to do to win. Make a well designed Jello based boxing game, using the power glove as input. You will see the ring from a weird stain glass "picture" which is comprised of various render targets (showing different angles of the room)
wow, I didn't think it would have a shot in igf against some of the other innovation award nominees (like mightier), but now I'm a little worried.
Right but don't forget that you can still make a game "as art" that doesn't abandon the "game" part of it (which is my primary gripe, here; some people seem to view the two as being mutually exclusive). In other words, I see interactive art, games as art, and games as business as three totally separate yet entirely valid genres. The problem seems to be discerning between interactive art and games as art.
As for the role of the IGF, to echo 320x240's sentiment I've always felt the point was to promote the maturation of the game industry by highlighting games with innovative gameplay. Now, I'm not going to tell the IGF they are wrong for pulling interactive art into the mix (because I agree that innovations there warrant attention, as well), but to compare interactive art against innovative games for "Indie Game of the Year" as if the comparison can be reduced to a single axis is just crazy; especially when the focus is supposed to be on games.
IGF has separate categories for production value, technical excellence, and audio excellence, which is basically a nice way of saying "hey, the gameplay may or may not be crap, but we still recognize their achievement in this one isolated area". Why can't the IGF do the same thing for artistic expression? Just make another category called "Excellence in Interactive Art" or whatever and be done with it. Then restore the "Game of the Year" award to its former glory: The game that shines the brightest on all axes.
Again, I really appreciate what the IGF is doing, but someone somewhere needs to tell them that it's turning into a freaking joke.
Hey, maybe they should just offer an award for the best idea, so that nobody even has to make a game!