Random thoughts and High Horses

There’s an article on Gamasutra where one of the Heavy Rain developers, David Cage, rants about the emotional range of videogames and complains about how we’re mostly settling for the low end of the spectrum, the primitive feelings. Now I applaud any attempt to broaden the spectra of what games are produced and Cage has some good things to say, so this complaint (being directed at a lot of people using similar arguments) might come at a bad time. However, I do not get why every developer with half a name for him/herself must talk down on part of the media like it is absolutely necessary for each and every title to have to have a shakespearian story, convention-breaking characters, completely new and exciting gameplay as well as new community-driven systems or whatever his or her area of expertise is – lest the entire games industry is doomed to stagnate and fall into oblivion. At least Cage acknowledged that there were indeed exceptions to this rule, but I don’t understand why he can’t be satisfied with the niche – it’s not like most movies produced give rise to more than primitive feelings. On a related note and what might well have been a poor joke, former Edge editor Margaret Robertsson tries to deny that games have evolved over the last 40 years by using Rockstar’s Table Tennis as an example that we haven’t moved forward from Pong. She’s right that we’re not a young industry anymore, but using the same logic movies haven’t evolved since Nosferatu (1922) since we’re still making films about vampires.

On a related note, Kevin Kline of Bioshock fame and some unnamed developer point out the value of protoyping by saying that we should allow ourselves to fail more. While I do think it’s a little counter-productive to assume that there’s no good way of finding out beforehand, I can agree that we sometimes need reminders that every craft is an iterative process.

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Posted on Jun 27/08 by Saint and filed under General game development | No Comments »