When will games grow up!!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Musenik, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    Wow, thanks. Seeing as I feel you're one of the people pushing this exact boundary that is quite the honor. :)

    First off - great post, vjvj.

    I agree. But I think you'll find people who disagree if it SHOULD happen(See this very thread). Personally, I'm with you. I think there should be a balance of mature games that explore things more in depth, and mindless fun games.

    Agreed. I personally don't really consider Mass Effect "art" in the same way others seem do. I, frankly, think it's a fairly shallow and lifeless game as far as the characters and plot are concerned - I don't think, just because a 'tasteful' sex scene was tossed in, that the game has really dealt with anything in a more mature manner than games before it. But people are holding it up as this amazing piece of work that is advancing gaming into this new land we're talking about.

    Then again, I think that about MOST of Bioware's games. I think all of their writing leans towards cliches and little depth.

    Having said that, I thought Mass Effect was massive amounts of fun and a step in the right direction. The interactiveness of the game is a wonderful narrative tool that is unique to gaming - I just wish there was more of it, and that your choices actually affected things more, thus giving them meaning and your actions consequences.

    But, it's as you say, people don't really understand the game mechanics fully - yet. However, I think games like Mass Effect show that people are learning how to use the game mechanics to make a fun game that has the potential to explore themes in depth.

    Also, I think it's going to take a little more than that even. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, how many "writers" in the game industry are actually writers? From the trite plots that flow out, and the boring archetypes... I'm not sure.

    And if they don't understand the craft of writing, how can they ever hope to craft a story that fits into the medium of games? Never mind everything you pointed out about many not understand their own medium to begin with.

    I think a good example is actually the game Advent Rising. It's script is written by Orson Scott Card, and I think it shows how game mechanics and a story can come together for a slightly different experience.

    I feel like Mass Effect was decided to be a 3rd person RPG, and then they came up with a story for that - and there's nothing wrong with that.

    But, to me, Advent Rising felt like a marriage of gaming and writing(Not saying the greatest marriage...) where it didn't feel like the game genre was chosen first, and then a story built around it/tossed in. It felt like they wrote a story, and then they asked a question: How can we tell this story IN this medium?

    Because of that you get levels that AREN'T all action. There's a couple of flying missions too(If I recall correctly) because the STORY called for that in it's narrative.

    Despite the game not being all that great, it was refreshing to see the game not stick completely to it's "genre" and instead focus more on delivering an EXPERIENCE instead of a 3rd person action game.

    The problem is no one has proven that there's a lot money to be made in doing that - so there is no reason to do it unless you wish to push the envelope. Not when you can create a FPS, toss in an alien race that for some reason wants to destroy all of existence(Including themselves), that'll sell like hot cakes.

    I know I can. :)

    I'm completely with you there.

    I'll take a shot: If I have Grand Theft Auto 4, I'd probably tell my brothers to come "play this". If I have The Graveyard, I'd probably tell my brothers to come "check this out".

    And that, I think, is the difference. Games you DO "play". Interactive entertainment, you "interact" with. One is more active, and the other is more of a passive experience that may require some kind of interaction from you at points.

    I should make note, I haven't tried out The Graveyard yet. So I really should before I go trying to answer questions like the above(I'm pretty sure I get the full idea of it from reading a few articles on it, though). Ah well, my only goal is to provoke conversation anyway. :)
     
  2. Deva

    Deva New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would expect that in a discussion such as this, there will be a lot of points that are missed. :) But anyway, it was never my intention to say that games should abandon what they are to become "art." And my terminology of calling The Graveyard an "experimental game" was something of a passing error on my part; calling it a (limited) interactive experience would have probably been better. My point with that was to say that its idea could be expanded upon a great deal... perhaps living an entire life from birth to death, and The Graveyard would simply be representative of what one would expect to experience towards the end of such a game. There are already many games where one's character ages, but not in such an artfully-done manner.

    Anyway, this subject could be discussed to death. I've been avoiding it for that very reason. ;) Plus I have a project that I'd like to have done by the end of the month, and so my time is a bit limited. So I'll leave it at that. But I'm sure we'll see some very interesting things in the coming 30 years, just as we have from the previous ~30 since Pong. And with any luck, we'll all still be around long enough to witness it... at which point this subject will surely pop up again. :D
     
  3. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does art cinema abandon being cinema to fulfil artistic pursuits? I'm not entirely sure to be honest because cinema is defined by a medium rather than a theory.

    Hmm I agree this could be discussed to death. I'm going to jump ship now, though I think there will be a place for art-games almost as a genre, a branch out from the game medium maybe.
     
  4. Musenik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    And from the other side of the pond:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/16/charlie-brooker-videogames

    The article is relevant for this thread because it decries the notion that we have anything to envy from the other art forms. I agree, we don't need their love. What we need are their audience, to come to respect us as much as they respect other art forms.

    Not that we can't get nicely along with the others...
     
  5. Artinum

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Am I the only one thinking this sex scene would be a subgame with controls similar to "Track and Field"...?
     
  6. Acord

    Acord New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,217
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, a game has to be played - interactivity is a must, as are rules. Obstacles of some sort are required, otherwise it's just walking around. Even if the player is going to play it their own way, you still have to have rules. You also need goals - whether those are something the player makes for themselves or integral to the game.

    Most games are nerve wracking, and not relaxing at all. Just because a game is actually relaxing is no reason to call it a toy - so long as it's interactive, it has rules and goals(integral or player made) it falls into the category of being a game to me.
     
  7. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    I doubt you'd be alone, but I'm not with you. At 40 years old, nothing I do would be controlled well by rapid button-mashing, especially that :)

    Thank God somebody said something unpretentious. Nice one.

    Personally, the moment someone says the word "art", my eyes start to roll back.
     
  8. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm interested as to whether game programmers are the first to refute art games, as artists are first to refute programmer art.

    Acord I find your definition of game much more appealing. I find the idea of games being pigeon-holed a rather scary prospect (for myself and the kind of games I would like to create).

    On a side note, the recent GTA4 Lost and Damned episode brings a new level of maturity to games with the whole male nudity thing. I wonder what peoples opinions on that here are? I think it's great that they finally can.
     
  9. Acord

    Acord New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,217
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've never understood why nudity is such a terrible crime against humanity but mowing down Nazi space zombies and blowing them to little chunky bloody pieces is okay. I think it points to a real issue with societal morality in general.
     
  10. HairyTroll

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    0
    About 25 minutes into the first podcast of "A Life Well Wasted", Episode One: The Death of EGM, the former writers and editors of the magazine discuss how they thought games were about to grow up in early '00.

    About 30 minutes in they go off on a tangent.

    Great podcast though.
     
  11. Sybixsus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not sure I saw any great level of maturity in them including a bloke with his knob out. If anything, I found it to be the typical Rockstar "what can we do to shock them this time?" attitude. Like you, I was impressed that they didn't actually create much of a stir with it. I can certainly see that this would have been a huge problem just a few years ago but there was very little fuss at all this time. So I did think it was a positive sign that gamers had matured, but not necessarily that games had.
     
  12. vjvj

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    0
    Who's pigeon-holing? We're not talking about limits, here. We're just talking about the simple task of being able to identify what you have created, whether it be a "game" or something else.

    Matthias did a great job of defining a game. Another way of looking at it is this: Games have context, and they present the player with a means of affecting that context. Example:

    • We're standing on a street corner and I hand you a bowling ball. You throw it as hard as you can down the street. Yes, it's interactive (you are physically responsible for the bowling ball's path and movement), and yes, it's fun (we are both laughing as we watch the bowling ball knock random shit over), but it's not a game because nothing the bowling ball does has any meaning in any context.
    • Now take that same example, except this time when I hand you the bowling ball, I say "try to hit that poodle with the red bow on its head". NOW we have a game. We have context (the bowling ball either hits or misses the poodle), and we have a facility for the user to affect that context (how you throw the ball impacts whether or not it hits the poodle).

    Does that make more sense? One thing that helps is to stop thinking of video games as software and think of them as traditional "games", like board games and whatnot. The elements that make modern video games "games" are the same elements that make billiards a game or Mancala a game. In that light, I don't think this definition of "game" is really all that scary considering we've been evolving games just fine for over 1400 years. The key is that a game's context can be anything, really; so in theory the possibilities are limitless. The only requirement is that the context exist somewhere/somehow.

    This is why The Graveyard is not a game (even the developers admit this; read their description on the IGF page). Nothing you do means anything in any context. Yes, it's interactive, yes, it looks great, and yes, it has the ability to evoke emotion, but without any context for user action it's just interactive art. This should not be considered insulting, frightening, or limiting. Interactive art has its merits just as games do.

    Remember, the key point I'm trying to make here is that we as an industry need to be able to consistently categorize things correctly before we can really expect to make consistent progress in pushing the envelope. For people to champion non-games as "innovative/revolutionary games!" is a setback in the grand scheme of things. But hey, now we are starting to delve into my own opinions here... If no one else feels it's a setback, then I respect that.

    And Leon, you said a lot of great things about modern games and I agree with a lot of your points. But I should probably shut up now since I've already typed out yet another novel, LOL....
     
  13. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    And I think you're just trolling. Artists refute programmer art because programmer art is crap. Programmers refute games as art because they're making games, not art. It's really that simple.

    Jesus how did I get sucked into such a vapid subject.
     
  14. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read a similar opinion in a review and I disagree wholeheartedly. The GTA games aspire to creating a cinematic experience. Male nudity is commonly featured in some of the older gangster films, it conveys confidence in the nude character and allows an opportunity to convey insecurities in other characters.

    Okay, what I was getting at was whether artists are more accepting of 'art games' than programmers. Because, if that is the divide, then I should imagine it translates somehow to the player base.

    Hey, thanks for the long reply. I understand the model and I completely understand the other side of the argument.

    I just find that if art-cinema exists without being labelled 'passive entertainment' or something similar, then I feel games should be elevated to that status. I've seen a lot of art and avant garde cinema at a few festivals and I find the way it challenges conventions somewhat refreshing.

    In regards to your bowling ball example, why do the goals have to be in the game? Why can't the game encourage the player to set their own goals? Garry's Mod does this, is that not a game?

    I definitely understand where you're coming from and actually probably agree with your definition of games now. What I personally believe then, is that games should be a blanket term covering 'digital interactive entertainment'.

    I also think you should look into developing your 'street poodle bowling' game, it sounds awesome. :D
     
  15. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    I just quickly went through the thread, and you've never mentioned your opinion on art or games as art - you just keep making little comments like you roll your eyes when games are mentioned as "art" or how this discussion is pointless, without ever actually giving your opinions.

    I'll bite.

    What IS your opinion on the above two subjects? (Art and games as art)

    Obviously, you have a strong opinion and I have a sneaking suspicion that it differs from my own so it would be interesting to hear a different side - if you wouldn't mind taking the time to type it up.
     
  16. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    No worries....

    My opinion on art:

    Not sat and thought this through properly but I guess I consider art to be something aesthetically pleasing made purely to be aesthetically pleasing, with no other function. I don't buy into all this "cubism", "impressionism" rubbish either. I'll allow you to say some daubs on a canvas is your inner self etc once you can show me the basic skills required to do a "proper" picture - ie something photorealistic or otherwise needing much talent. It seems anyone can call anything a piece of art, but it's art to me when you need to be an ARTisan to do it, not just some pretender putting a crack in the floor or a pig's head in a bathtub full of shit.

    My opinion on games as art:

    Load of pretentious bollocks. Really. I make games for a living. If someone else wants to argue whether its art or not, or whether it should be art or not, I really don't give a rats ass. I find it all rather ridiculous tbh...
     
  17. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    dude...

    Picasso, the pioneer of Cubism, mastered realism before looking to more symbolic outlets.

    Monet, a leader in Impressionism, mastered realism before looking to more interpretative forms of art.

    What you're saying is completely contradictory.
     
  18. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    I didn't know that about the big names, but it changes nothing for me. Smears and rubbish on a canvas might mean something to someone who's been brainwashed to appreciate it for long enough, but I'm sure I could match some of the shit I see hanging on the wall in art galleries using little more than a paintbrush stuffed into my jap's eye. I'm not buying into it as I can see it for what it is.

    PS. I searched and searched but I couldn't find anything contradictory in my previous post. Nor this one which is my last, I've been here too long already.
     
  19. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tend not to see what there even is to debate about when it comes to "are games art" - seems blindingly obvious to me. Are they HIGH art, no, but that's because it's a wanky terminology defined by the elite to refer only to what they think is most 'worthy' which generally means 'things the general public isn't that interested in, so I can show off how cultured I am by appreciating it'. When we're all dead maybe some of our games will be held up by later generations as worthy culture, maybe they won't, but it won't really make much difference to us, will it?

    So while I firmly believe that games are art, I still agree that debating it tends to be pointless and a waste of time that could be better spent making more games. :)
     
  20. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks. Interesting point of view. Actually, some parts of your view I used to share. Now, however, I think, ultimately, we just have different definitions of "art". But still, very interesting to hear your definition. :)

    Do you believe movies, paintings or books are "art"? Or is it that you don't believe art can, and should, be made to invoke/convey emotions?

    If I get this right, you wouldn't consider Jackson Pollack an artist, because his drip style is re-creatable by anyone really, but you'd consider someone like da Vinci an artist because he could actually create something that takes an extreme amount of skill that not everyone else can do?

    What about someone like James Castle? I think most people here would be able to copy his style - it's crude. However, he's a deaf uneducated man who never really learned to speak with no formal training who grew up isolated from the world in rural Idaho. He used homemade tools and paints to communicate with the world and others.

    His artwork, while simple, IS his view of the world. It's seeing the world through the eyes of a deaf man who never learned to speak or paint, trying to express himself. Even though it is simple and basic, it's extremely fascinating to see how he expresses himself.

    Here is what I'm looking for from SOME(Not all) games: I'm looking for designers to be artful.

    I want to play an RPG where the characters actually are affected by the things that happen in the game in realistic ways - exploring the human condition a little maybe. I want to see a game where, instead of romanticizing war or conflict, they treat the subject matter a little more serious. I want to play a game were, instead of tossing in one of your characters dying "because it'll make a good plot", they actually deal with the repercussions of losing someone and how it can affect the characters.

    To do those things in writing - to do them well - you need to be ARTful(imhb).
     
    #60 Leon, Mar 23, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer