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13 Responses to Games & Fun – Ranting back at David Jaffe

  • Marc says:

    Agreed, except I’m fairly certain Jaffe said he tried to make a meaningful game, failed and went back to his regular style.

  • Borut says:

    Yeah, I’m assuming he means Heartland, which I don’t recall how far it got into development but it didn’t sound like very far. If he had put it out and it was trying to do something interesting & had failed, I’d give him that one, but hard to say if it was just poor salesmanship that didn’t get it pitched vs. actually having problems building something of depth.

    Plus, if I recall correctly, it was a very left leaning political game he was trying to make with a team in Utah… Um… Yeah.

  • Richard campbell says:

    You sure you don’t want to give up on a meaningful game and make a decent adventure / RPG hybrid in the Quest for Glory mold?

  • Reid says:

    As great a Quest for Glory game could be, I hope Borut continues with his current plans. Nice job on the video, will have to watch again because I didn’t fully hear a couple points you made.

  • Patrick says:

    A thoughtful response to a rant? You should be banned from the internet!

    I´d reckone we should emphasise a “new school” or a “non-school” – which I find a more palatable nomenclature – where dynamics are the emphasis, I agrees the over-emphasis on mechanics is crippling, and the usual criticisms are that most of the artsy fartsy stuff over-emphasises aesthetics. Lets try focusing on dynamics, that way we´ll get games that aren´t so shallow, either from a state-matrix sense as in The Marriage which had perhaps three dynamical outcomes, or in the Adventure game sense that The Path clings to.

    Also, in respecting Frank Lantz´s point about games not being a medium, let us refer to them as “the high of interactivity” because its simultaneously punk and academic.

    And why don´t we do indie game jams where everyone takes a particular drug and has to make the games under the influence of that drug? What would a jam based on reefer put out relative to a jam based on acid or a jam based on adderol?

  • Borut says:

    Yeah, sorry Rich, although one of my ideas (that’s on the backburner at the moment, tho) is an adventure-RTS if that makes you feel any better. :)

    Patrick – yeah, it’s true, there isn’t, despite MDA, a really good focus on dynamics in design. Most people don’t realize or dismiss the notion that simulation can reinforce a character on the player, or create atmosphere, etc. The complexity of systems design is definitely a barrier there.

    I kinda dismiss Lant’z comment about games not being media because it’s so boring about the definition of media – even people that work in established linear media don’t have as a rigid a definition of the term as he seems to. There’s always a conversation going on – but I’m all for punk & academic. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to reconcile my desire to reject as many restrictive conventions as possible while at the same time trying to tackle a topic in a deeper way – Usually punk is swept away by the energy of rebellion and you can’t really stop and focus on one thing in such detail.

  • PASTRIES says:

    to play devil’s advocate, the premise of the original video by “rev rant” is a little flawed. he makes the same tired mistake of judging games on the terms used in film or literary criticism. to suggest that games like street fighter or halo DON’T have meaningful, long term effects on players is condescending to the huge communities that play those games daily, as well as dangerously naive.

  • Borut says:

    No, he’s primarily concerned with emotional range, in his discussion of cinema & literature. Not that games don’t have long term impact, but they should have different impacts.

    And that’s a perfectly valid point, because games are certainly capable of greater emotional range (Flower being a fine example), and where most people, like Damion Schubert, then sidetrack this into an argument about narrative not being the most important thing in games. Which doesn’t address the point, that we should (and I argue absolutely can) have more emotional range.

  • PASTRIES says:

    Well, you might be right that what he wants is a wider range of emotions (in popular games). Personally I think the “rant” suggests he is actually more concerned about subject matter although admittedly the two can be hard to separate in the context of games. For example, he informs us that:

    “games can be about eating breakfast”, as opposed to “male power fantasies”

    I also think he falls prey to the dreadful legitimization fallacy:

    “[popular video games] never affect anyone in the ways art is supposed to”, or “the mainstream world looks at comics and says ‘ok, i guess there’s potential for artistic merit there but right now this is silly’”.

    Anyway, if “rev rant” – or your – point is simply that “we should have more emotional range” in games, then I’m not sure what else there is to address. Jaffe is completely right to say “then make them”. Blaming developers/publishers/customers doesn’t do anyone any good.

  • Borut says:

    Yeah, I agree that looking for *legitimization* by another group is pointless, but I think the need for emotional range is still there, and is still desired by an increasing number of gamers (especially given that the range of people that play games is increasing as well).

    One of the main points of the original rant is about the defensivesness and tone of the conversation when the subject is brought up. Yeah, Jaffe’s point can basically be summed up that way, but it’s more “I don’t think we can, but go make them if you think so”, as well as his tone throughout, is really defensive – I just don’t think that’s adding to or helping the discussion (which is his major complaint about Burch/Rev Rant).

  • PASTRIES says:

    Sorry for the double-post but I just realized I never clarified my original point about judging games on the “terms used in film or literary criticism”.

    Anyway, what I was trying to say kind of ties in to the legitimization fallacy that I mentioned above. You’ve probably heard this argument before: It may not be correct to assume that games have a huge pool of potential that is waiting to be tapped by the right auteur/tools (“rev rant” dismisses basically the entire history of the history of human game development by saying “we have the computer now”).

    It could be that games are more similar to music than we think. 99% of popular music is superficially “about” love (I say superficially because the truly sacred and transcendent aspects of music have nothing to do with lyrics or meaning in the sense that a song can be about love, or loss, or revenge).

    Maybe 99% of popular games will end up being “about” conflict.

  • PASTRIES says:

    ugh, “a huge pool of potential” above should read “a huge pool of potential to affect the same responses that books and movies do”.