Saturday, December 20, 2008

It is Art

A friend emailed me a commentary on the artistry of video games in the london review of books. Since they didn't have comments immediately available, this is my review. Perhaps my friends will continue their commentary here.

First off, this guy obviously doesn't understand objectivism! :)

I'm glad to see the perspective of video games from a supposedly educated outsider (I have no idea who this reviewer guy is). He does correctly identify some genius video game luminaries, but he's missed whole genres that are much more interesting to investigate than first person shooters. Where is his review of WoW?

I really don't get how he can say that creations in little big planet are not creative. Simply because you are bound by rules doesn't mean that you are not being creative. The painter is limited by the physics of paint and the canvas. The little big planet level maker is limited by the physics of the level system. These limits are not difficult to push into realms completely unforseen by the developers.

Further, he limits his survey of the gaming world to consoles of the big three. Many more game titles are published for free on the web using flash and java. These are obviously not the same in scope and detail, but they can be nonetheless thought-provoking.

1 comment:

  1. That friend was me! And hey, I get to be the first person to post, despite being days late.

    I think what he was saying about Little Big Planet is he was unsure that anything so commercial could really allow creativity for the user, since most commercialized consumer products demand the person be pretty passive. At least that's what I think he was saying.

    I wondered too how he could totally miss talking about WOW. Do you think he was just focusing on games found on consoles? But then he should have made that clear.

    It is interesting that he neglects to mention all the games that are free on the web. If he's so worried that the big budgets required to make most of the console games keep the genre from growing (and I can see his point there), then these free games might be the ticket to allowing more creativity. They could potentially be like indie movies.

    Still I think he made some good points, and it's nice to hear someone talking about video games in the media that doesn't involve reinforcing stereotypes of loner boys or talking about how violent they are. I think he's right about the sandbox potential.