Back in June 2010, film critic Roger Ebert earned the ire of a millions when he said "games aren't art."
Now, to his credit – and we shouldn't forget this – he responded and elaborated on his stance, and given the intelligent and respectful concession, we just had to forgive him . Therefore, this article isn't necessarily another jab at Ebert, but more of a jab at any and all anti-game activists and the flat-out ignorant who continually dismiss interactive entertainment due to archaic or inaccurate beliefs.
Thatgamecompany has done it again, releasing a beautiful, inspired title that is a purer, more accomplished form of artistry than 99% of the schlock that appeared in movie theaters last year. And after being on a conference call with creative director Jenova Chen, I'm even more convinced that this industry has the benefit of numerous fantastic, driven, ultra-talented innovators. Chen, obviously, is one of them. With a film school background and a burning desire to deliver a profound message accessible and relevant to all, this guy has made his mark.
He isn't the only one, of course, but the point is this: it isn't just about Flower and Journey . It isn't just about the inclusion of professional-level talent in almost every aspect of a game's production. It's about the increasing viability of gaming as an art form, whether the haters can deal with it or not . See, it really doesn't matter what the ignorant masses may think; in the end, the truth of the matter will emerge because at some point, that truth will be unavoidable. In fact, it'll be plain as day. We aren't in danger of losing talent like Chen; no, just the opposite: we're bound to see more like him.
And that's because anyone can make the argument that in terms of originality and innovation, the major entertainment venues – movies, TV, music, books – are growing stagnant. New ideas? Few and far between. New ways to impact a viewer or participator? Tough to find. But gaming continues to expand and grow in all sorts of directions, and the active participation – as opposed to the passive participation of watching a movie or TV show or listening to music – offers designers a chance to do something very special…specifically, something we've never before seen or experienced. And people like Chen will continue to find the "special."
The old guard can't last forever. The emergence of gaming as a legitimate and viable art form is unstoppable. It's just a matter of time.
Related Game(s): Journey