Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

On Game Developers and Legitimacy

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-there-yet,-and-most-box-art-doesn't-help dept.

Games 214

Gamasutra is running a feature by game developer Brian Green on how he and his colleagues are still striving for legitimacy and respect as part of a medium that's still commonly thought of by many as "for kids" and "potentially harmful to kids." He notes that while financial legitimacy is no longer in question, artistic and cultural legitimacy are taking more time. Green makes some interesting parallels to the early movie and comic book industries, and points out that moral outrage against comic books did significant damage to the medium's growth in the US. "... in the United States there was a 'moral panic' about the corrupting influences of comic books on children, as there often is with many 'new' media. The government threatened to enact laws to censor comic books, for the good of the children. (Does that sound familiar to game developers?) The industry reacted by enacting their own regulations, the Comics Code Authority (CCA). The Comics Code Authority heavily restricted the content that comics could contain. For example, the words 'horror' and 'terror' were not allowed in the titles of comics. Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and similar creatures of the night were forbidden."

cancel ×

214 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

When did comic books become legitimate? (-1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807551)

What's the big deal? You're making games, not art. Get over yourself and just do your job.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807573)

Define art.
  Your definition will either include videogames or exclude a good amount of things everybody considers art.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807605)

Art: Everything 'arty' except videogames? ;-)

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807715)

Good video games like the Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid series are art.

Hackneyed garden-variety space-marine alien zombie-fighting crap like Gears of War/Halo/Crysis/Half-Life are fast-food for the mind.

[disclaimer: I'm not advocating a SONY vs. 360 flamewar because I don't want to shell out six-hundred bucks just to play one or two good games or run crippled Linux. The last games I played were Deus EX and American McGhee's Alice. Wake me up after somebody makes "DopeWars 2K10" which involves GTA-style violence with Alice and System Shock-style psychedeila]

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807911)

do you consider this [thewillpower.org] art? Roger Ebert argued that movies are art, whereas video games can't be (because it's not fixed realization of the artist's vision). But then you have George Lucas tweaking his movies 30 years after they were finished. And if I'm not mistaken, John Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art exhibit where one of her pieces involved the spectator pounding a nail into a board. (Personally, I wouldn't call that "art", just like I wouldn't call a man sitting at a piano and not playing it "music".)

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807945)

Why, you must be black.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808007)

do you consider this art?

Don't click the link, folks.

But then you have George Lucas tweaking his movies 30 years after they were finished.

He sold his soul to the Divell for the almighty dollar. See also: Metallica. Both entities now drink bottled water and wear Dolce and Gabbana sunglesses while they settle in some trendy celebrity's lap.

John Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art exhibit where one of her pieces involved the spectator pounding a nail into a board.

Maybe John Lennon was also always on acid at the time, and was impressed by Yoko who was always on acid at the time, who in turn impressed everybody else who was on acid at the time. And hey, the dominance of being the leader of the greatest band of all time gets old after awhile. That's when being dominated by the nearest fuckable female Japanese loser comes into play.

Personally, I wouldn't call that "art", just like I wouldn't call a man sitting at a piano and not playing "music".

...and that's what boring space-marine alien-zombie FPS' are. No, wait. At least boring space-marine alien-zombie first-person shooters would play "heart and soul" with two fingers. Sure, we've heard it again and again without any real improvisiation, but eh. Status quo and all. Oh, shit, I've been troll'd.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (3, Insightful)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808603)

Hackneyed androgenous anime figures with an emo lead wielding oversized weapons doing physics defying acrobatics in some stock fantasy world on a quest to save the world is art???

Oh and a game engine where the 'role playing'element consists of walking towards the next blinking dot on your map and pressing the dialog button??

At least its not your tolkien-esque elves orcs and dwarves.

MGS series I guess you have a partial case but FF series...

and yes I was a huge FF fan as a kid, remember playing through FF3 as a kid, FF4, FF5, FF7, but seriously could not give two ----s about any further sequels.

Its art with the same level of artistic depth as a Macross episode.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807977)

Art is something which has no real use.
Another rejected technology.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808469)

The problem there is that 'art' isn't a particularly democratic concept. "Everybody's" definition of the term is meaningless, because the vast majority will call something 'art' because they've been told that it is, not because they've engaged it in any meaningful way themselves.

Are video games art? I would contend that the vast majority are not, in the same way that a Kinkade painting isn't: there may be basic, technical merit, but they're overwhelmingly trite and kitschy, and have all the emotional depth of a Harlequin romance.

I don't accept the entirety of Ebert's argument against games-as-art. I don't think that developers are particularly driven to create games-as-art at the moment either, while their producers are breathing down their collective necks to give us the next Christmas blockbuster. Our ideal of games, placing the player in control of everything from camera to pacing, flies right in the face of a traditional work's careful composition... and I don't think that we've really grasped how to use the medium beyond creating highly detailed stick figures in interactive Dick and Jane stories.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808863)

The issue isn't really what's "art" (but that tends to be very closely related), the issue is how much games are respected. As I said in another comment, the biggest issue we face is hostility from politicians that feel they can score easy points off of trying to restrict games "for the safety of our children." Being considered "Art" helps, but that isn't the only issue here.

I'd like for games to be considered legitimate so that we can see the full potential of the medium. I'd love to see a game that tackles complex issues like a book does. But, if we're only considered mindless entertainment that must be regulated, we'll never see anything that really pushes the boundaries.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807611)

Watchmen is a great work, and many of the batman comics that I've read have told a story as well as many books I've read. Have I ever read a comic I consider to be as thought provoking and, well, good as the Count of Monte Cristo? No, of course not, but I've read a few that I would consider as good as Asher Lev, Pride and Prejudice or other critically acclaimed novels.

As for video games, I don't know whether they'll ever be considered art, and I do believe that your comment (though worded badly) is legitimate. In the end, these are games and should be treated with the same respect you'd treat a football game or soccer game. I'm hoping that the industry surprises me with something that tells a story so well that I'd consider it art, but I haven't found one yet.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807751)

Ever play The Longest Journey or I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream?

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807805)

These games never really surpassed anything but an emulation of movies, interspersed with point-and-click gameplay. There's more to it to that, but games as a medium shouldn't be defining themselves through the definition of movies or books.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

anothersockpuppet (1445793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807953)

These games never really surpassed anything but an emulation of movies, interspersed with point-and-click gameplay. There's more to it to that, but games as a medium shouldn't be defining themselves through the definition of movies or books.

I like to poop.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (2, Informative)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807879)

Definitely art:

Deus Ex.

The Fallout games.

The Half-Life series + Portal

Perhaps System Shock 2

Maybe not "art", but comparable to things that sometimes are considered art:

Max Payne 2--it's obviously not "The Godfather", but it's certainly better than your average gangster/cop movie. A damn-near flawless game. Does what it sets out to do, does it well, tells its story, and makes a graceful exit.

Many RPGs are every bit as good as a decent fantasy novel. Some are even better.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808077)

sponges are awesome, too

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808799)

I don't disagree with your lists (except for Fallout 3, which is kind of shitty when weighed as a Fallout game)--but how the hell do you (apparently) value Deus Ex over System Shock 2...?

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809057)

Ever play The Longest Journey or I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream?

Well, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream was of course a short story before it was a game, so that's a bad example. I sure tried to play The Longest Journey, but it was deadly dull, By the "art has no practical use" metric, I must therefore conclude that The Longest Journey is art.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807867)

Moore's Top 10 is better than Watchmen, but nobody cares since it's comedic. Therein lies the problem with these debates. People fixate on their subjective perceptions of "seriousness".

PS Careful what you say about Pride and Prejudice, Austen-ites are mean bastards and ready to rumble.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807937)

/agree about Top 10. Watchmen is great, but over-rated and dated, much like V for Vendetta.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808189)

Watchmen may well be over-rated (in a way it, like Maus, has become the poster-child for "Serious Graphic Novel"). Still, I really don't think it's dated. It's "out of date" of course, but that's inevitable. If nothing else, I think it preserves a sense of the time permanently and, at least for that alone, is art.

Let me say it this way: Suppose I were totally unfamiliar with Moore; and someone gave me a copy of Watchmen with all the copyright notices changed to 2009, and they said something like "This graphic novel was just written. It explores the social tensions about power and nuclear brinksmanship of the late 70s and 80s, through a critical and intertextual examination of the development of superheroes in context of society." (or whatever)

I strongly suspect that I would read it and come out of it saying "Wow, that guy absolutely nailed the 70s/80s and froze it in these pages forever, while in an alternate history nonetheless."

By contrast, this is not true for V for Vendetta.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809023)

As somebody who just read Watchmen for the first time a few months ago, I have to agree. Didn't feel 'dated' at all, it was just (like most writing) set in the past.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809109)

I thought V for Vendetta perfectly captured the descent into totalitarianism of a modern society. It didn't capture a particular decade, but I think it did a great job of being a 1984 for post-1984. It doesn't yet seem dated, though I'm sure it will in 100 years, as almost nothing is truly timeless. If anything, the ubiquitous surveilance in London makes it more relevent today.

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808643)

I'll bite.

Pride and prejudice is a mills and boon novel wrapped up in ye olde english language, combined with mildly insightful social commentary that was apparently very insightful at the time, but now not so 'edgy'.

God I despise Jane Austen!!!!!!!!!!! (scars from high school and uni english maybe)

Re:When did comic books become legitimate? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809125)

Any book one is forced to read in high school automatically sucks. I admire 1984, but I can't stand to read it for that reason. Dickens, OTOH, simply sucks.

CCA was a *good* thing! (1, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807581)

My parents didn't have to worry about what comics I bicycled up to the corner convenience store to buy.

Now, to remain "relevant" and "hip", comics are "graphic novels" with topics I don't want my son reading about (yet). Even if the corner convenience store still existed, and it sold comics.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807665)

translation:
your parents didn't have to worry about parenting. after all, why should they take an interest in what their child is reading?

there are still plenty of G-rated and completely tame comics that cater to children (like the funny pages in the newspaper). but i guess all comic books need be censored in order to meet the approval of lazy parents. god forbid comic book creators are given the creative freedom to write/draw what they want--including material that adult audiences can connect with.

i suppose if people like you had it your way there'd be no movies beyond PG-13, and all books/media/art would be insipid and uncontroversial--all so you can shelter your child in a Disney-ified world where everything is made for kids.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (2, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808451)

your parents didn't have to worry about parenting. after all, why should they take an interest in what their child is reading?

You don't know my parents. (Specifically, my depression-raised grandparents who were always nosing around in my room, and wouldn't let me watch the 10PM TV shows when I was a young teen, or SNL when I was an older teen.)

i suppose if people like you had it your way there'd be no movies beyond PG-13

You need to watch Turner Classic Movies http://www.tcm.com/ [tcm.com] . Lots of great and powerful grown-up movies, and only a trifling few are TV-14 or above.

The Hayes Code forced writers to write smart, clever and witty dialog to suggest what is is now splashed across the screen. Think Jaws or the 1960 Psycho or The Birds instead of Saw. Another comparison: Double Indemnity vs. Basic Instinct.

all books/media/art would be insipid and uncontroversial--all so you can shelter your child in a Disney-ified world where everything is made for kids.

Have you ever had an original thought? Or do you just regurgitate the idiotic spew of incompetent writers who can't create drama without gore, nudity and foul language?

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809129)

Thank god for the Hays code, or Hollywood would have produced filth like Brokeback Mountain (homosexuality) ,Jungle Fever (miscegenation), or Angels in America (reference to STD) back in the good old days.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809143)

nice reply. And you are right about the classics. That's all I've been getting from Netflix.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre was awesome. Going through Sgt. York, now.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807727)

My parents didn't have to worry about what comics I bicycled up to the corner convenience store to buy.

"Internet censorship is a good thing! My parents don't have to worry about what websites I'm visiting!"

"TV censorship is a good thing! My parents don't have to worry about what I'm watching!"

Maybe your parents should have worried about what you were buying? Maybe, as parents, that's their job? I certainly see it as part of my job to watch over what my daughters are seeing.

The problem with gaming being seen solely as the preserve of kids, is that I, a 41 year old, am restricted to content that's been approved for 18 and under. As a game developer as well as a player, I get that from both sides. I can't work on a game with a plot that's too involved, or the kiddies won't get it. I can't show too much emotion between two NPCs, or someone might think it's sexual tension and ban the game.

The lack of respect for games puts us in a vicious circle where we can't do anything that would let us confront the player, and at the same time, we're not given respect because we never do confront the player.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807823)

My parents didn't try to censor my reading material. I respect them to this day for that, even though I didn't really need to read Mario Puzo at age eleven.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808959)

Did your parents have to worry when you went to a bookstore? There was no CCA for books, so how did they know you weren't picking up something horrible like Huckleberry Finn? What about going to a museum? Did they steer you away from works of art like Goya's El Tres de Mayo, which depicts a vivid scene of violence and bloodshed?

In the end, the CCA did more harm than good. The reinforced the idea that comics were only suitable for children. There's a story about how Stan Lee did story in Spiderman about how drug addiction was harming someone. But, the Comics Code didn't allow *any* reference to drug use at all, even to show the negative consequences. The best part about this was that the story was done at the request of the government, trying to reach kids about the harmful effects of drugs! So, a comic book story couldn't even give the message, "Kids, don't do drugs."

Comics being relegated to the realm of children's stories is one reason why manga is so much more popular worldwide than comics from the U.S.; manga is able to reach a wider audience than just children.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (2, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809153)

So, a comic book story couldn't even give the message, "Kids, don't do drugs."

The Sandman comics did a story about a lesbian. She had just come out of a failed relationship, no social acceptance was shown, and IIRC she ended up stabbing out both of her eyes (man, I loved Sandman). The story was frequently criticized as endorsing a homosexual lifestyle, and a stink was made by religious nutjobs. You just can't win.

The primary purpose of the CCA was to sell more comics. The secondary purpose was to stave off government intervention by self-regulating. It was successful on both counts, much like movie and ESRB ratings.

Re:CCA was a *good* thing! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809639)

There was no CCA for books, so how did they know you weren't picking up something horrible like Huckleberry Finn? What about going to a museum? Did they steer you away from works of art like Goya's El Tres de Mayo, which depicts a vivid scene of violence and bloodshed?

You're being aggressively narrow-minded, presuming that my guardians were fundamentalists. When I read Lolita as a high school senior, my grandmother was quite upset, at first, but didn't stop me, because she knew it was "literature", and that at age 16 I was "old enough" to read such books.

Something that might help (5, Funny)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807621)

A critically acclaimed video game turned movie will go a long way towards legitimacy.

Re:Something that might help (1)

fishybell (516991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807639)

Oh, like the critically acclaimed Super Mario Brothers?

Best. Movie. Ever.

Re:Something that might help (1)

cheier (790875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807647)

Uwe Boll?

Re:Something that might help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807801)

And that's a perfect example of what happens when games don't get respect.

Re:Something that might help (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808069)

A critically acclaimed video game turned movie will go a long way towards legitimacy.

Yeah, somehow it seems to me that you'd be better served actually doing something than worrying about your artistic legacy when you're a nobody.

That would be like me writing my memoir which would, at this point, consist of nuggets like "got up...went to work...came home...jerked off to midget porn." Maybe later when I've become an international man of mystery or whatnot, some of the later chapters might be more interesting. That's when I'll start worrying about my "legacy".

Games have been legitimate for years... (5, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807625)

We've had movies based on games, games based on comics, games based on movies and TV shows, movies based on TV shows, games based on books, and soundtracks for all of them (but comics of course). Everything has been intertwined for years. And only the most idiotic of individuals could possibly isolate any one of these media and consider them not to be works of art.

Chrono Trigger. Street Fighter II. Virtua Fighter. Starcraft. Metal Gear Solid. Art?

Games are some of highest forms of art in existence as they include:

- writing: storyline, plot twists, character history and back story
- visual art: graphics, design, characters, creatures, environments
- animated art: motion capture, cartoon animation
- special effects: rag doll physics, explosions, stop motion (Max Payne), complex lighting
- sound: sound effects, samples, ambient noise, environmental sounds, foley noise
- music: original and licensed music, Chrono Trigger has amazing original music, Grand Theft Auto has amazing licensed music
- acting: voice acting, including many AAA games having Hollywood level talent

Are games considered brilliant works of art? David? Mona Lisa? Sistine Chapel? Are they considered as exceptional art because of the difficulty of the work?

What about the difficulty in creating an original title such as Half Life? Or Starcraft? Or Chrono Trigger?

David wasn't the first statue, Mona Lisa not the first painting, Sistine Chapel not the first mural, Starcraft not the first RTS, Half Life not the first FPS, Chrono Trigger not the first RPG, but they are standouts, works of a art, and unique accomplishments. And much time, thought, and effort went into the making of all them.

Just look at the balance of Street Fighter II (which took fifteen years), or Starcraft (still being balanced every day in Korea and Blizzard HQ), or Virtua Fighter (Sega revises the arcade versions several times). Is there not an art of game balance?

Balancing Virtua Fighter, where you have a cast of 19 extremely different characters that fight in different ways, or Starcraft where three completely unique races competing on different maps with different starting locations. Is there not an art to balancing those games? If it was a science then each character would be the same, each race the same.

And level design. It's EXACTLY like set design but more imaginative as you aren't confined to real world physics. Cliff Blezinski designed some of the most amazing architecture I have ever seen. What buildings did he create? None. He made levels, amazing levels, in Unreal Tournament. Levels that are works of art. (UT1 also had an amazing soundtrack).

Directing an in game cut scene is exactly like directing a scene in a movie (except the actors don't talk back). Look at Final Fantasy X or Metal Gear Solid 4.

Creating a game soundtrack is the same as making one for a film or television show. Look at Grand Theft Auto, Chrono Trigger, Halo.

Creating the 3D models for characters in game is the same as carving a statue. The characters in Virtua Fighter 5R are extraordinary when you see them moving on an HDTV monitor at the arcade.

Writing a script or character for a game is the same as writing one for a book or comic. Solid Snake & Niko Bellic have fuller lives and stories than some of the longest running television characters.

Animating a character and his or her in game moves is the same as animating a character for an animated or 3D movie. The animations for Virtua Fighter 5R are just as impressive or better than Toy Story or Wall-E. VF5R moves at a blazing 60fps and the animations are fluid and jaw dropping.

Cinema is art, music is art, television is art, painting or photography is art, writing is art, and so are games.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807713)

Yup, and golf is a sport. Golfers are athletes.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (2, Insightful)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808701)

"Golfers are athletes" is like saying "gamers are geeks". The statement has the potential to be true, but it really isn't likely to be. This misuse of the word belittles the true athletes & geeks out there.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808713)

^
1.) You're a fucking retard.

2.) Art is self-expression. Video games are massive creations resulting from self-expression. There is little you can do to debate that FACT.

3.) The definition of athlete is "a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill." - No one is suggesting that they are the equivilent of football players or baseball players - But they are, by definition, athletes.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808729)

Yup, and golf is a sport. Golfers are athletes.

So you are comparing golf to all other sports and saying that all games are like golf? Wrong.

How about some games are like football, rugby, baseball, and soccer in the world of sports, games like Starcraft, Virtua Fighter, Half Life, Unreal Tournament, in the world of games. What football and soccer (those are different sports in America) have in terms of athleticism, Starcraft and Virtua Fighter have in terms of artistic design.

Then there are games like golf, and bowling, and darts or whatever in the world of sports, and there are the comparable games in the world of gaming, that aren't created with an ounce of care of any level of production. What gold and bowling lack in terms of athleticism, many games lack in terms of artistic design.

Football, baseball, soccer; athletic and tough sports. Golf, darts; easy and barely considered sports.

Starcraft, Virtua Fighter, Metal Gear Solid; works of art in gaming. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, Dragon Booster, Hooters Road Trip; not art, hell barely considered games.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807767)

jesus fuck, geek, take it easy. you sound like your having a fucking fit.

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (2, Informative)

arogier (1250960) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807833)

As some support for this position, Ars had a nice story on a game that is little other than art. Link [arstechnica.com]

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808681)

only the most idiotic of individuals could possibly isolate any one of these media and consider them not to be works of art.

You misspelled "rational".
Balance implies an absolute value that has correctness. There is no art to most games, other than the assets. Technology? no. Gameplay? no - you never choose to make a game less fun in the name of "artistic freedom", rather simplify to distill gameplay rather than make it intentionally less fun. Most of the games named are specific examples of games that are not art.

Artistic Freedom in Gameplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809191)

Gameplay? no - you never choose to make a game less fun in the name of "artistic freedom"

But wouldn't it be awesome if someone did?

Story, music, images, cinematography - all of these have been independently established as forms of artistic expression. Some games even have semi-respectable artistry in these aspects.

But no one messes with the gameplay in the name of art.

Gameplay - the thing that binds everything to the player - absolutely cannot be ignored in this medium. In RTS games I have used strategies I believed to be inferior because they seemed more dramatic. In RPGs I have created characters I believed to be inferior because they seemed to tell a more interesting tale. I don't believe I am alone in this. If I may presume, many people want to see the imperfectly balanced game. They would rather lead the doomed assault than be rewarded with an unsatisfying "you win" screen.

There's certainly potential for art within the ordinary gameplay models, but how much more interesting would things be if those models were occasionally abandoned?

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808937)

You make a great arguement for video games as art, and some of your points really made me think. But even though you argue well that video games are art, it doesn't change the fact that our culture doesn't see video games as art or as legitimate.

It doesn't do any good to preach to the choir man!

Re:Games have been legitimate for years... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809617)

Games are some of highest forms of art in existence as they include:

Games also include tons of mindless shooting, monsters and other random just-for-entertainment crap. There have been quite a few good games that told an interesting story (The Longest Journey, Planscape Tourment, Grim Fandango, etc.), but more often then not they are over 10 years old and their genres no longer deemed fit for todays game console generation. If mainstream gaming wants to be taken serious it has to try to be more then a gameified version of a monster b-movie. Heck, even highly acclaimed games like Bioshock are really nothing more then a glorified zombie shooter.

I think the real problem is that gaming hasn't figured out how to create artistic/emotional depths trough gameplay. Even if you look at the good games of the past, more often then not the depth is created in cutscenes, not trough gameplay. NPC interaction sadly hasn't really improved much in the last 20 years, its still either a short sequence of predefined sentences or just the random "shot him till he is dead" thing, since you don't have a talk-button to begin with. And until that is solved gaming will always come in second to movies and books when it comes to handle serious topics, because quite todays game simply have no mechanics to handle such topics.

A game 7 billion people will play? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807641)

What if you developed a game and everyone came to play?

In an odd sort of way, that is just what Metascore [metagovernment.org] is.

"Low" art (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807703)

Calvin: A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. "High" art!

The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. "Low" art.

A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. "High" art.

Hobbes: Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?

Calvin: Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. "Low" art.

Game playing will always have its detractors (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807707)

Consider that to some even chess champions who make it be and become rich and famous are just game playing kids. (I'm reminded of the teacher in Searching For Bobby Fischer [wikipedia.org] ). It's not realistic to expect people who won't take an intellectual game like chess seriously where becoming good at Grandmaster level requires serious study to suddenly take game developers (and professional game players for that matter) seriously. It would take a massive cultural shift in multiple cultures and countries for that to change.

Best to just nod, smile and cash your pay cheque. The rest of us do the same, but we don't get to be as creative or have as much fun with our creation.

Re:Game playing will always have its detractors (2, Insightful)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808743)

It would take a massive cultural shift in multiple cultures and countries for that to change."

Cultural shift in the perception of people on the outside looking at gamers, or cultural shift in personal character of the gamers?

Seriously, I think the second point requires more attention. Then the first point will change.

game devs, the problem lies within... (5, Insightful)

boredhacker (1103107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807717)

"The most virtuous are those who content themselves with being virtuous without seeking to appear so."

Plato

Re:game devs, the problem lies within... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809331)

eh, Socrates was better.

Games are Solid Art. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807747)

Any actual game developer who states otherwise is just being modest.

-Modeling
-Texture Painting
-Effects
-Art of Balancing Gameplay
-Art of Writing Story ...
I won't bother to list any more.

Some may say that there have been no games good enough to be considered art.
Bullshit.
If everyone sucked at painting, would it no longer be considered an art?

Re:Games are Solid Art. (1)

woot account (886113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809697)

But you're confusing the issue. All of those things are art in games. The game itself isn't art because it contains art.

I'm firmly in the games-as-art camp, but this is not the correct way to argue that games are art.

Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807761)

Why not just make ESRB ratings enforcible by law to the same degree as alcohol sale and consumption? If a minor is found to be playing a game rated above his/her age level, the purchase is checked. If it can be proven that the purchase was made by the parent, then the parent gets into legal trouble, just as if they had given their kids alcohol. If the minor bought the game on his own resources (like, say, maybe a teen who has a job and buys an M-rated game while under 17 years old), then the kid gets in trouble, and the parents get told to ramp up the discipline so that the minor doesn't play inappropriate games again.

This solution can come complete with carding and everything.

I see no reason why this shouldn't be a perfectly viable solution to the perceived "problem" of today's video games, with respect to appropriate material. And this solution wouldn't disrupt industry operation in the least.

Thoughts?

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (3, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807837)

Why not just make ESRB ratings enforcible by law to the same degree as alcohol sale and consumption?

Um, because alcohol abuse causes intoxication and addiction, and games don't?

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807955)

Um, because alcohol abuse causes intoxication and addiction, and games don't?

Have you played Civ? One more turn man, one more turn. I'm good for it. Come one man, don't hold out on me. What's that? Sunlight?

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808455)

Call me when somebody needs a liver transplant because they played too much Civ.

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808929)

Hello, hi *raises hand*

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (1)

Twiztid_Madrox (1474205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809213)

Why not just make ESRB ratings enforcible by law to the same degree as alcohol sale and consumption?

Um, because alcohol abuse causes intoxication and addiction, and games don't?

Ever played wow with a raiding guild ?

Re:Isn't there an easy solution to this already? (1)

Fremandn (316311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807999)

Why shouldn't a parent be allow to decide what their child should see? Perhaps I disagree with a group or individual who judges all sexuality to be perverse. Perhaps, I want my child to be exposed to it when s/he is younger than 18 so he can understand it with maturity later on in life. I'd rather my daughter or son be exposed to the topic in a creative medium where s/he can ponder the consequences of a character's mistakes without having made them. Yes, as I parent, I could conjure up a great story myself but I feel that that is an artist's job. Of course, artists may choose to not accurately reflect the consequences of a teen pregnancy. However, if there are enough producers of art it is likely someone will, especially if the market demands it. As a parent, I want to guide my child in her/his exploration of the topic and I can't do that effectively if there isn't anything else to turn to but my limited perspective on my limited set of experiences. An artist can draw from the experiences of a thousand people across a thousand years of recorded human history if s/he wishes.

An insiders view (5, Insightful)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807841)

I work in the "Games Industry", so I'll throw in my two cents.

Part of our problem is that the high profile titles are still stuck in what I'll call the Sitcom and Movie Of The Week phase. We have lots of heavily promoted titles that, to an outside observer, are only midly different (my mother would not be able to tell the difference between L4D and Fallout 3, just as I can't tell the difference between Fraiser and The King of Queens), and the production and release of these titles is largely driven by profitibility.

There are smatterings of "art" games, and it is my belief that these games are the ones that will bring legitimacy to the industry, although it's going to be an uphill battle. Let me take this sentence apart, because I want to clarify what I mean and why I'm making this argument.

A game like Emily Short's "Galatea", which is a text based game (ostensibly "Interactive Fiction"), is art, if solely for the beauty of the prose and the exploratory nature of the interaction. There are a vast array of possible conversations that the player can have with the title character, and these are mature, adult conversations, with depth and emotion fitting of any high quality published novel. But barely anyone knows about this game outside of the IF and Academic community.

Another game is Johnathan Blow's "Braid", which I began playing for the third (fourth?) time again last night. Not only is it beautiful, fun, polished, and unique, but the time-manipulation gameplay ties in with the plot in an almost magical fashion. Who, or what, is The Princess, and how exactly does she fit into the timespace continuum? Even after I put down the controller, I find myself thinking about the story far more than the button mashing or the puzzles.

But these two games also reveal part of the challenge, in that a game in the purest sense, as James Earnest (of Cheapass Games) used to attempt to impress upon me often, doesn't care about plot or story or pretty graphics. A game is about rules and play and fun, and that's it. So intertwining the game play aspect with the story aspect is the real challenge for legitimacy, because it's through story and narrative that people develop an emotional connection to the content, but it's via interaction that they experience this narrative.

I think there are a handful of approaches that are starting to tie interaction and dynamic narrative together. Fallout 3 (which I haven't played, admittedly) and Fable 2 are probably good examples, although they're perhaps the modern day "Die Hard" equivalents: yes, romance drives the plot, but it's really about guns and explosions. Cultural legitimacy, when playing a certain video games becomes the mass-populace in-thing to do because there is a positive (or at least thoughtful and broadly appealing) common experience to be had, this is probably at least another decade off. I think we need to see more Braids and Galateas, and better Fables that are less about sword slashing and more about our inner conflicts as human beings, before we get there. I think we need development teams who are more artists and storytellers than algorithmic optomizers, and I think we need to make games that take more risks and fail not simply because the framerate was poor or the textures were blocky, but because they tried to teach us something about what it means to be human and just wound up being weird.

Those are the mistakes we need to make in the industry, so that we can learn from them. Only when we understand how to merge interaction with introspection will video games be legitimate forms of art and entertainment.

Re:An insiders view (3, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808723)

Fallout 3 (which I haven't played, admittedly)

You really owe it to yourself to give Fallout 3 a try, especially if you are a fan of the series. I got hooked as a CS major in college and although I have little time now for serious games, I made time for Fallout 3 and let me say that I was not disappointed. It is obvious while playing the game that the team at Bethesda are real fans who played the original games, groked the Fallout universe, and really wanted to do justice to the first two games and the Fallout name after the series had been tarnished and sold down the river by Interplay with embarrasing console money makers and cheap third party "tactics" spin-offs. The result was really marvellous and the few minor flaws remaining can very easily be fixed in the patches to come. I was especially impressed that Bethsoft had the courage to preserve the over-the-top violence (ala Bloody Mess), drug use, and dark humor that had always been a staple of the series (even though they compromised a bit on Med-x == morphine, and some minor usage animations); no mean feat these days when games receive the sort of intense public scrutiny that comics once received. I am really looking forward to a revamped Fallout series with fan contributed side quest add-ons and more content in the future (there is talk about a sequel where the level cap is raised to 30 and the player takes a cross country trip to the ruins of Pittsburgh). Just talking about it makes we want to pick up my A3-21 plasma rifle and blast some super mutants into piles of goo.

Re:An insiders view (0, Offtopic)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809251)

You can't kill children. You can't even damage them.

WTF, B?

Re:An insiders view (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809255)

"I think we need to see more Braids and Galateas, and better Fables that are less about sword slashing and more about our inner conflicts as human beings, before we get there"

Most gamers couldn't give less of a crap about "inner conflicts of human beings", when I play a game I don't want some game developers whiny philosophical whinging of characters to be the forefront of the experience. I want to get on with the game.

Most game writing and movie plots do not support "high art" for the most part. Really good movies like say Schindlers list that do (in my mind) qualify as "art" because they make serious statements about our humanity or inhumanity are influential because they take up you full attention, the movie isn't trying to distract you with gaming action on the side... games have a real problem because story can often distract a player from the action and what he wants to do. I've had this experience countless times in RPG's especially, where the developer wants to pimp or interject "too much movie" to the detriment of the gameplay itself. The narrative should be built into the game and for the most part a part of the background, the more upfront the narrative, the more linear the game is going to have to be to "keep the flow" going, like an editor in a movie. But the same thing can also destroy the flow of a game by being too overt, if your game does not have one hell of a story, then I'd rather have more game and have the development team flesh out experience of the world with small details. Like the talking soldiers in halo, or if you should ever get the chance: Get Rogue Galaxy for the PS2. This is probably the best way I've seen character development NOT interfere with gameplay, where characters naturally and spontaneously converse while running around without being "in your face" and breaking the experience.

I can't tell you how often I hate when the game developers take control of my character away from me and interject a lot of their bad stories and cheezy dialogue.

But most games plots have to bow to, and facilitate the gameplay, the fun and gameplay is the star, the story, cutscenes, etc is a bonus. I really think many game developers are also in the wrong industry - they should be making movies, not developing games, because you definitely sound like someone who wants to impact people. There are better avenues for doing so.

The perfect genre for "story based games" was the adventure genre, noticed how it died out mostly as a genre, because most people don't play games for the story, they play for action, competition and interactivity. Gaming is more like a sport or riding amusement park rides then it is like passively watching a movie or reading a book.

This is the same thing that killed JRPG's and many games who have way too much FMV or cutscenes in them like Metal gear solid 4, GAMES are not the same as movies! Many development teams are out of touch with this, I couldn't stand final fantasy X and 12 for similar reasons : Gameplay has been continually dumbed down and full motion or in game cutscenes have gone way up, when all I want to do is PLAY the game, if I wanted to watch a badly made B movie I'd go watch a movie. Next is the fact that "inner conflict" in game characters cannot really be produced well without making the game linear (well scripted and voice acted) or unbelievable (most computer NPC's). Many people playing the game could care less about someones philosophical or NPC's moral whinging. The problem with games like Bioshock who presented the "Save the little girls or not" is that - we know its fake and there was no emotional investment in said characters, they didn't really present as genuine human beings, more like little monsters who happen to look human.

I know I didn't play call of duty 4 modern warfare to be presented with the "inner conflicts of human beings", I played it for the action packed entertainment and roller coaster ride of experiences of what it's like to experience (in an exagerrated and unrealistic way) "a soldier in war".

I still think the vast majority of gamers don't give too much of a shit about the story for many games, it's about the overall experience. If the gameplay sucks, no amount of artistic expression or story will save a game that isn't fun to play.

Games are much more about interactivity then the passive push of movie and literature. Another problem with "games as art" is that to reach "high art" one has to have something totally linearly scripted along the lines of Call of Duty 4. CoD4 Modern warfare was an awesome game and experience, no doubt about it, but even I wouldn't call it "art" in the traditional movie sense. I really think games are their own medium and defy traditional "artistic" notions, because games are about users experience.

I won't give a crap about the story of a game if the game mechanics are broken. Mechanics matter a lot: see Castlevania Judgement, on why game mechanics are very important.

Also most game genre's don't lend themselves well to story telling - games are about experiencing "the movie", by taking part and being a participant in the game world, while games may reach 'artistic heights' one day, I still think that the medium may need revolution in interface or technology, for the masses.

I think the biggest thing that keeps the masses from getting gaming is how games are experienced, Look at Nintendo and the Wii-mote. I think it will be a long time until games are "seen as art" by mainstream culture until we have an another interface revolution, the very thing that would mainstream games for the masses is what is killing the art of games for many current gamers, I've seen too many games dumbed down for the console generation and really question whether I will enjoy future games given the current stagnation.

I think their's a huge divide in the gaming audience, most people who game have average tastes and are action oriented (see: FPS games). I would consider games like Freespace 2 and Planescape Torment - art, I wouldn't consider games like Fallout 3 or deadspace or most first person shooters art. Since most games are rehashes of previous commercial products. They want to hit as wide a market as possible and this why the mainstreaming of certain products has a tendency towards mediocrity and sameness. Economics unfortunately rubs up against true creativity, because most truly creative works do not gain widespread appeal or a high amount of commercial success.

If you look at the sales numbers, many mediocre games sell well, and in fact many of todays 'most lauded' games are uncreative rehashes of the same style of game we've been playing for 10 or so years.

Almost every single game can be reduced to a genre or rigid interface "style", I've seen first person shooters over the last 10 years crowd out many other genres of games since that's what sells, because unfortunately, too many people prefer first person over any other kind of game type or game style. Which limits creativity in creating new genres, and game-styles.

I still think the level of production values required for the emotional draw of movies is years away, too many things right now in games break immersion to be overly emotionally invested in characters, especially if a game is trying to be 'realistic' (i.e. looking at the very plastic like models humans in many games), which breaks believability, I know it's hard for me to be emotionally invested in such characters when you can tell via their models and animation they are automaton set pieces.

Re:An insiders view (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809417)

A "game" is about rules and that's it. But videogames aren't games, or not just games. Even an abstract videogame is also a set of representations, of art and visuals and motion. Most games create some kind of fictional world in which to act. Interactivity provides the "grammar" of a videogame the way that the rules of syntax provide the grammar of a novel, or that montage provides the grammar of cinema. But to think that videogames are essentially reducible to their game-like elements is to restrict videogames in a way analogous to reducing cinema to a kind of recorded theater.

maybe they should listen to their critics (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807845)

Green makes some interesting parallels to the early movie and comic book industries, I once heard a psychologist compare Grand Theft Auto to Birth of a Nation as technically brilliant and psychologically poisonous. Ideas have consequences.

Re:maybe they should listen to their critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807931)

No, guns in peoples' backs have consequences. Ideas have no consequences at all.

Before you have the government stick a gun in my back to save me from teh ev1l gamez, please take the time to make sure that media consumption is actually the threat to civilization you seem to think it is.

I call BS, atleast on what the CCA allowed (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807919)

Uhm, the Tomb of Dracula, which had both vampires and werewolves in it, is a CCA approved comic.

http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/thumb/d/d8/Tomb_of_Dracula_18.jpg/300px-Tomb_of_Dracula_18.jpg [nocookie.net]

Re:I call BS, atleast on what the CCA allowed (2, Insightful)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808999)

Two factors here:

First the CCA was made up of people with political agendas. They would routinely make contradictory decisions on things. As I pointed out in the article on Gamasutra, one person that was approving stories at the time had a problem with the fact that an astronaut character was black and denied CCA approval for that.

Second, the CCA changed over time. As cultural mores shifted, they started to change what they allowed. After the Comics Code wouldn't allow a goverment-sponsored comic story about the negative effects of drugs to be published, they changed the code to allow the negative aspects of drug use, for example. The original comics care was mostly about "horror comics", which had vampires and werewolves, etc., and were thought to be harmful to young minds.

I'm not a comics historian (although I have a keen interest), but I suspect one of those two reasons are probably at work for why that comic was published under the CCA.

Re:I call BS, atleast on what the CCA allowed (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809341)

That's entirely possible, but stating in an article that "For example, the words 'horror' and 'terror' were not allowed in the titles of comics. Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and similar creatures of the night were forbidden." Only to have it to not be 100% true, to me seems like you have an axe to grind against the CCA, whether or not you do. At no point did you mention that it was one person that had a problem with the fact that an astronaut character was black, rather you stated in the article "the CCA objected to the depiction of a black man as an astronaut in a comic." One person is not the CCA, one person is one person. He/she may have had a fair amount of pull within the organization, but to say that the CCA did blah and blah and then respond to my post with one person may have done blah is contradictory. George W Bush was a lousy president and at times came off as quite the moron IMO, does this justify me as saying all Americans are morons? the code has gone through quite a few revisions in it's lifetime, something that you do not mention in your article. Highlights from the 1954 version:

                * Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
                * If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
                * Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
                * In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
                * Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
                * No comic magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.
                * All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
                * All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
                * Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
                * Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
                * Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
                * Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
                * Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
                * Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
                * Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
                * Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
                * Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.
                * Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

It was revised a number of times in 1971, as per wikipedia (which I know may not be 100% accurate, but I believe is fairly close in this case)

---
The Code was revised a number of times during 1971. Initially "liberalized" prior to Marvel's Spider-man story on January 28, 1971 to allow for (among other things) the sometimes "sympathetic depiction of criminal behavior... [and] corruption among public officials" ("as long as it is portrayed as exceptional and the culprit is punished"[4]) as well as permitting some criminal activities to kill law-enforcement officers and the "suggestion but not portrayal of seduction."[4] Also newly allowed were "vampires, ghouls and werewolves... when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high calibre literary works written by Edgar Allan Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world".
---

It's fine to poke fun at the code and make note of it's short comings, but look at when it was originally created, Rosa Parks hadn't even ridden the bus yet. Look at the things they banned back then and think about what life was like back then, and while certainly disagreeable, especially for most people educated in the late 20th century, those choices and rules, do fit with the time they were created.

He should have taken it further (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807979)

This has been happening since the advent of the novel

Re:He should have taken it further (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809649)

Some people in the stone age were probably killed for drawing risque and 'dangerous' pictures on the walls of a cave.

is this really still true? (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807997)

I work kind of in this area as a researcher, so maybe I have a rosy-glass view, but the arguments seem a bit dated to me. Sure, in say 1999 this was a problem, and not that many people took games seriously. But in 2009? Yeah, people still like to kvetch ("games are rarely taken seriously blah blah and we aim to change that" is a standard opening move if you're writing a paper), and maybe the average person on the street doesn't, but there are plenty of inroads:

There are journals [gamestudies.org] and academic [digra.org] conferences [aiide2009.org] on games [foundation...lgames.org] , in both the humanities and computer science.

MIT Press has an entire division [mit.edu] of books about videogames. I'm currently reading one about the Atari 2600 [mit.edu] , which, yes, even covers its role as a cultural and artistic platform.

There are initiatives [seriousgames.org] and companies [persuasivegames.com] to use games [gamesforhealth.org] for "serious" purposes. The U.S. Army in particular takes them seriously and funds development [usc.edu] .

Braid [braid-game.com] sold over $1m, despite being a kind of weird arty game made by a single guy. You can even get an MFA [ucsc.edu] doing fine-arts stuff related to games.

Heck, Gamasutra itself frequently publishes about games as art [gamasutra.com] , and it's semi-high-profile (at least to the extent that getting linked at Slashdot once a week counts as semi-high-profile).

I mean yeah, I'll agree that far more people respect, say, film than respect games. But it's not as if this is some novel argument and nobody has ever thought about taking games seriously before. Also, to some extent, it's the fault of people not making more interesting games: Hollywood may be crap, but there are a lot more innovative indie films out there than innovative indie games.

Re:is this really still true? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809141)

To add one more example, the library [uiuc.edu] at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a video game collection with vintage and current title.

Re:is this really still true? (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809405)

Mod this up please, cool informative AC post!

Not just games and comics (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808059)

Re:Not just games and comics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808367)

Food also.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Food_Safety_and_Applied_Nutrition

Electronics too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC

Is there anything else for us to complain about?

Cultural acceptance takes time, but... (3, Insightful)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808083)

...you need to push things along. It has taken a long time for comic books to be accepted as an capital "A" Art form, almost 2 generations (or three depending on how we date things). I don't see a good reason why games will be accepted more quickly. There is the general reason of "cultural change happens faster now", but that comment is usually unaccompanied by argument or data so I take it with a grain of salt. We are 30-40 years into the history of video games and ~25 years into their entrance into the mainstream. I have no idea what arc they will take, but I can almost guarantee that it will travel through acceptance as an art form at some point. Will they be subject to an independent resistance against big studio control (a la the movie business in the late 50s to 1970s?) Will they await some major change in creation overhead before artists move into the genre? Are we too far in late capitalism for that to happen? No one knows.

But I can tell you one thing. Most of these game designers aren't helping. Sure, Ted Sturgeon can tell us that 90% of everything is bunk, but we really are reaching into the crapper for most of the content here. There are some wonderful games out there. There is some deep work going on in the business, both in writing and in the design of a game experience. But most of these guys are pushing out undifferentiated games with middleware populated by Mary Sues and John Does. The studios (just like movie studios) don't care and honestly neither do the fans (in most cases). Where a game is a rare combination of artful, AAA, and well promoted, it will make bank. When it is two of the three or (worst), only artful, it will usually sit unloved. Like I said, this is not a problem unique to the gaming industry. For every truly wonderful film out there we have a dozen Dane Cook rom-coms that make you despair for humanity. But simply making that comparison leaves us with an incomplete picture. Those movies that we consider artful and important all took risks. They all represented serious investments of time, blood and money from their creators. They came about (at least in the case of Hollywood) from bitter fights and internecine warfare. Some of the works we think of today as powerful and compelling were almost eliminated (or mutilated) by studios interested in formulaic crap. And for every Kubrick or (young) Lucas or Scott there were hundreds of equally talented souls who just didn't make it. Who said the wrong thing to the wrong guy. Who pushed too hard or didn't push hard enough. Who said "fuck it" and decided to make Disney movies for the rest of their career. Game designers have to be willing to take those risks--the studios aren't going to do it themselves.

Surprise, surprise, striving for legitimacy and respect involves...striving for legitimacy and respect. You don't get to be respected as an "artiste" until you make some games that can seriously be considered artful. Meridian 59 is pretty god-damn good. But most people don't have games like that under their belt.

Re:Cultural acceptance takes time, but... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809211)

Gaiming is only 5 years or so into the mainsteam. When people born this century become ar critics, we'll see recognition of games as art.

And Sturgeon would *never* tell us that 90% of everything is "bunk". 90% of everything is crap.

What was artful about Meridian 59? Wasn't just a whack-a-mole "MUD with pictures"?

lets not forget (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808129)

let's not forget about the medium of machinima, where films (a medium often seen as high-art) are being made with video games (a medium often seen as vulgar and low-art)

or how about artists who use video games as an artistic medium? I have stepped into commercial galleries where video games were the basis for an artwork.

as a professional artist, who has been formally educated in the fine arts, and who has exhibited work on 3 separate continents; it is my opinion that video games are very much a form of art.

Current Art Critics (1)

Xistic (536149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808313)

Current art critics will probably never widely accept video games as art. There was a penny arcade strip which explained this trend throughout history. (Someone will probably reply to this with a link.)

Ultimately games will be widely accepted as art. But it won't happen until the current crop of respected art critics dies of old age, their names are quickly forgotten, and they are replaced by a generation that was raised with games and knows wherein the art lies. Then they will go on to snub there own generation's struggling art form and the circle of life is complete.

sooky sooky la la (2, Insightful)

ramul (1103299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808365)

Maybe this guy would get some respect if he wasn't such a little bitch.

Who cares if people don't respect your industry, are you SO hungry for approval from people you have nothing to do with that you lose sleep over the gaming industry being dissed or misunderstood?

How is it even a bad thing to be making things for kids? Its a fantastic thing, if not necessarily the case.

God, when will i stop asking rhetorical questions?

The CCA was Frequently Bypassed in Clever Ways (3, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808561)

Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and similar creatures of the night were forbidden.

For example, from the wiki article [wikipedia.org] on the Comics Code Authority:

Marvel skirted the zombie restriction in the mid-1970s by calling the apparently deceased, mind-controlled followers of various Haitian super-villains "zuvembies". This practice carried over to Marvel's super-hero line. In the Avengers comic, when the reanimated super-hero Wonder Man returned from the dead, he was also referred to as a "zuvembie".

Re:The CCA was Frequently Bypassed in Clever Ways (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809045)

Sure. But, consider that Marvel was one of the largest comic publishers at the time. They likely had enough political pull with the CCA to get that approved even if someone wanted to cry foul at that point. A smaller publisher might not have.

Also, by the 1970s, the damage had been done to the industry. Comics were already minimized in importance. That creativity didn't extend to creating new genres of comics to generate more interest with a wider audience. Compare this to manga and French comic books which didn't have the same restrictions. These comics cover a much wider (and often weirder) audience than U.S. comic books could. They've thrived while the U.S. comic industry has faltered. Go to any geek convention and see how many people are reading manga vs. U.S. comic books.

I'd like to avoid that happening to our game industry. But, it's probably interesting to note that most of my consulting work has been in Europe over the past few years. I'm just not happy to let this happen, so I write articles. :)

America is in BAD SHAPE atm...BEWARE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808753)

This country has never seen worse times, and I imagine in 18 months or so they'll let us know just how bad it is right now.
Gaming is recession proof and that means people are still spending money on it regardless. That poses 2 HUGE threats:
1. The government is going to come in and look for easy taxes, think Liquor and Cigarettes, (and now video games).
2. We are 15 years away from online currency being taxed, for profit or leisure quote me on this one.

People are getting desperate as these are desperate times. People are LOSING EVERYTHING. Its not long before they look for a scape goat for peoples desperate attempts at financial freedom and security before they blame video games for the countries lack of morals. Maybe they should ask the Auto and Bank industry if they play video games.

The writing is on the wall...I'm just glad that a democratic President gives me some hope in this backwards country. I think its time the people take it back and call nonsense on all this B$.
   

Comic book mythology (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808791)

It can be useful to think clearly about the comic book in the fifties:

Kids - like everyone else - were watching television. Men were reading paperback books.

Mickey Spillane. "My Gun Is Quick"

Comic book sales were in a steep downward spiral and crime and horror looked like a quick - cheap - way to recapture an older audience.

The immediate problem was that distribution was routed through the same news outlets as everything else.

In the drug store with Scrooge McDuck and the cigar store with the bondage themed True Detective magazine.

The hard core stuff sold under the table. It could be - and often was - a very sleazy business.

The larger problem was that the newspaper comic strip was still in its prime.

Caniff. Al Capp. Chester Gould. Walt Kelly. Charles Schulz ---.

Both veterans and newcomers producing really, really, good stuff in every genre

--- and when they fought their own battles against censorship, they came into the fight with much better ammunition.

I'm the author of the article (4, Insightful)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808807)

A few general comments here.

First, this article is intended for professional game developers. I wrote another article on this topic for game players and enthusiasts at RPG Vault: http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/807/807409p1.html [ign.com] Read that article if you want to see why legitimacy is important to everyone, and why attempts to restrict the content of games hurts more than just game developers.

The question isn't really if games are Art (with a capital A), but if they're seen as legitimate. The biggest example to show that games are not necessarily considered legitimate is in the numerous laws enacted to restrict the sales of games to "protect the children". Most of these politicians railing against video games are the same ones that would never think about trying to regulate books or even movies. Politicians will speak out against games because there is enough sentiment that games aren't really legitimate that the politician can score easy points. Thankfully, at least in the U.S., the courts have defended games in terms of free speech against various legislative attacks.

Personally, I think games are an incredibly powerful medium. I think that in the future we'll be able to develop games that have the same impact and meaning as classic movies and books; of course, we still have a very long way to go. On the other hand, we may not get that opportunity if we're hobbled by people who scream the battlecry "save the children!"

make better games (2, Interesting)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808955)

If a game developer wants games to be taken seriously, he (or she) ought to start making games that can be taken seriously. I can't think of any game on par with The Lord of the Rings, or Les Miserables, or Till We Have Faces, or (to use more modern examples) Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, or Hyperion, or any of dozens of great books I've read.

Sidenote: more prominent boobs on the box aren't going to earn the gaming industry any more respect. They may increase sales, but the same can be said of romance novels, and they're not widely regarded as great literature either. Sometimes, to gain respect you have to give up a few sales.

I realize that games aren't books, and we should have different expectations, but the best games still seem to be about on par with mediocre books in terms of character development, emotional impact, and philosophical content.

I think games ought to take some inspiration from the anime industry; there's a whole lot of bad anime, but there is also some great anime, and I think part of the reason why is that the people in charge are willing to take risks and explore complex issues, and they trust their viewers to "get it". (This can result in bad anime as often as good anime, but the industry on the whole seems to encourage risk-taking, whereas the game industry does not.)

I don't play a lot of games, so it may be that I'm just not aware of the rare gems out there. Riven is the best example I can think of off the top of my head as a game that made me think deeper thoughts (and I don't mean the puzzles). Some of the Zeldas have been pretty good overall (though all of them are rather silly at times, and perhaps a little too predictable). I have heard good things about Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, though I haven't actually played either.

If anyone has any great suggestions for what they think is the video-game equivalent of, say, Pachabell's canon, or Michaelangelo's David, or the Notre Dame cathedral, or the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, please enlighten me with your suggestions.

Re:make better games (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809261)

A terrific novel, painting, or sculpture can be the work of one artist for less than a year. This makes art with no commercial value practical. It's only a matter of time before games reach the same stage, once the tools stop changing (of course, interactive fiction is already there, but few people think of that genre these days).

Re:make better games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809363)

I have heard good things about Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, though I haven't actually played either.

Amusements, and little more. There are some nice visuals; you see pretty cool things. There is a certain suspense. They pique your curiosity. However, in the end they are simply puzzle games. There's not much to do but solve puzzles, and solving one won't get you anything more profound than another puzzle. They are great games (especially SotC) but they are not what you are looking for.

no zombies please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809357)

"Werewolves, vampires, zombies, and similar creatures of the night were forbidden."

Thank god. Who needs more of that? I guess it forced comics to be original and creative; e.g. punisher, x-men, .

The problem many video games have is that they too often include zombies for no apparent reason and they add nothing to the plot line. They simply ran out of ideas by the Nth level and decided to toss in zombies.

Examples, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia (the original didn't have any zombies, all sequels did), CoD WaW, Doom 1 - 3, Quake 1 - 2 & 4, Resident Evil 1 - XXI, etc. I think even the new SiN sequel had zombies tossed in.

It gets really old, redundant, and moronic. I wish game companies would just stop doing it. If you're making a game and you say to yourself, "You know what this game needs? Zombies!" Please, just shoot yourself.

Re:no zombies please (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809545)

Of course once they've shot themselves, they come back as zombies.

major threat to children: teaching them to whine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809685)

i mean for christ f@#$ sake, video games are a multi billion dollar industry. you can hardly meet a 7 year old who hasnt participated in simulated mass murder in some RTS, or known the thrill of gibbing some 'bad guy' in an FPS...the military is actively recruiting people who play video games to control their new armed drone robots and aircraft, ever f'in movie has a video game made about it, and vice versa, there is a voluntary rating system for games that parents simply ignore, every scientific study about games psychological impact gets shot down by ten thousand whining bloggers, .....

and yet, you are still so oppressed and misunderstood by the cold, cruel world.

really. i dont get it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>