Defining Awesome — What the game industry needs
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  • What the game industry needs

    Written by . Posted at 7:04 am on July 4th, 2007

    Some fucking controversy.

    That’s what it needs. It is just boring as hell as it is now. All the controversy in the entire history of gaming is either caused by blood and gore or by big tits (the latter happened only once and stopped being interesting after people realized they were fake). Blood and gore is not controversial anymore since Doom. I think we have seen everything since then. Decapitated bodies, guts falling out of the belly, spiked heads, eating blood for health (Wolf3d), chainsaws, synthesized death screams. Now as you see, as cool as it is, it is a very limited area. There isn’t much you can invent more (well I have a couple ideas), just play some recent games like Manhunt. I mean there is nothing wrong with games like that, they are awesome, but they became boring. Gore is not interesting anymore. So what kind of controversy do I want?

    The kind you see in every other form of art.

    There is a very shy debate going on since the beginning of the video game industry about whether or not games are art or not. Some interesting points are being made, about the graphical design, music, stories etc. Games seem to be a blend of all forms of art, so they should be technically art. But art does not like technicality. This is where games fail as art. It is a completely different mind-frame. There is no place for logic in art, logic drives technology. Logic is just a human mind construct, whereas true art comes directly from Nature. It is a creation of nature, in the same way a tree is constructed or a landscape. There is no thought involved in the creation of a living being or a mountain. It is a mechanism, an analog creation. The difference between human-made and nature-made is similar to the difference between a vinyl record and a CD record. The CD is our way of seeing nature. It has been created in our minds as a description of what really there is, a sound, for us to store and re-listen to.

    What’s my point? If games are to be considered art, they are the hardest craft of all. Because of that only a few selected people were able to become involved in this. The only people that could manage to build a game were programmers. A graphic designer, a musician, a concept artist cannot make a game alone by himself. A programmer can. The whole 1980’s were dominated by games made entirely by programmers. The last game to end this era in splendor was Another World by Eric Chahi. After that, more money came in, the producers became interested in this funny little industry. So the designers and artists came to an industry dominated by logically-driven-creatures (read: programmers). And this is a burden. Because we never got rid of that feeling, that we can’t make a game without a programmer. So the programmer was the most important person in the project, even though more people were brought in. These were the 90’s. Now we are coming to a new era, things are starting to change (with pre-built engines and studios specifically dedicated to creating just game content not code). But still we’re not heading in the right direction. This is why I’m writing this, the game industry is still crap.

    Look at any art-form.

    In literature: we’ve had Joyce which I’ll bet any money that took LSD, coke, tea or some other shit, we’ve had Kafka which was an unusual weirdo, we’ve had Hemingway which marvelously blew his brains out.
    In music: Beethoven, Debussy, Wagner, all interesting characters. I don’t have to mention pop music: Rolling Stones, David Bowie and all the other drug oriented groups.
    Movies: just read the tabloids.
    Painting: Michaelangelo, Picasso, van Gogh and many other freaks.

    My point is, in every area of human interest which involves creativity there are people that stand out. Memorable characters that the whole world knows of. This is just how it is. Individuals must become different than the rest in order to create something new.

    Look at the game industry and show me somebody who is not a geek. Show me somebody that everybody knows. Who are the people behind the most popular games? Can you name the creators of Counter-Strike or World of Warcraft?? When I think really hard on this all that comes up to me is that japanese guy from Nintendo, John Carmack and John Romero. The latter even sparked some controversy with Daikatana. But how poor and uninteresting are silly business issues compared to the life of someone like Marlon Brando!

    You might say that the game industry is too young. It has been around just for 25-30 years. I have to disagree. Look at the movies, it’s incredible how fast that one became an art form. The person that transformed the industry was Charlie Chaplin and he came just 20 years after the projection of the first film ever made! Watch “City Lights” and tell me if any game comes close to that level of intensity and entertainment!

    So what do we need? We need interesting characters. Not game characters, but people that drive this carousel. We need somebody to show the way. Astonish. Lead. Awe. Somebody that will be on the covers of newspapers, somebody that will spark the imagination of millions. Carmack and Romero just started a transformation. There is still waiting for us a spectacular change. After that people will truly see how primitive the current game era is. Somewhere there, sitting in a bedroom (or garage) is somebody that doesn’t even know it yet, but it will come to him/her one day that it is time to show the world that games are art. Games will be art.

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    1. MM your right again.

      You should do the news and run the carousel. Just “R” is art you shown people that you can do anithing with programing and it can be funny scary adictive etc.

      There’s a awsome comunity behind you. we are all there playing a game made by one man named MM (that’s you ;D ) . So game should be art, programmers should be artist, players should be athlete and soldat a master piece.

      P.S. you almost make me cry with all that it’s so true.

    2. Well, I think it’s not so much that gaming is young, but that there aren’t enough [i]players[/i]. Players are not all focused in one area because of this thing called the internet that is so widespread. Not like an “art gallery” where the weirdos are sat next to the norms.
      Think about it like this: A break through in “indie” gaming (such as your self) wont be noticed by the big developers.
      Gamers who like one thing will follow that, and gamers who like another will follow that. Therefore one individual that everyone recognises would be very hard to come by.

    3. But movies are also “spread”. A cinema there, a cinema elsewhere…
      There are american movies, there are french movies, there are hong kong movies. But everyone seems to recognize different celebrities from these areas and all of them influence each other.

    4. I think the future of gaming is in RTS games, but thats just me. Like, extremely powerful 3d games where maybe a battle is simulated or something. It would have to be team-oriented and there would be leaders and stuff but I think a game like that would be pwn.

      All you say is true, and makes me think about a lot of things…

    5. The only problem is the big compagnies as started to do some MMORPG and it’s comming so popular and unaccesable to do wen your alone because they are a big group and it takes 5 years for them to create one so if every body start to play only that little game will have problems

    6. SpiltCoffee

      Most of the people that I know that are gamers are into fancy graphics and such. I’m not, however. I prefer the concept that is in the game. Storylines and flashy colours are just a bonus to me.

      If you’ve heard of a program called GameMaker (… There’s been quite a few neat ideas coming from people making games on this engine. The program itself is getting quite popular. Now an individual doesn’t really need to be a programmer to make a decent game (This program has a massive community which provides tutorials and examples). So not all game makers need to be programmers, but you do get along easier if you are. Lol.

      “The only problem is the big compagnies as started to do some MMORPG and it’s comming so popular and unaccesable to do wen your alone because they are a big group and it takes 5 years for them to create one so if every body start to play only that little game will have problems”

      I was searching on the internet the other day for free games. Almost 75% of the games I came across were some kind of MMORPG. I’m getting quite sick of them :S.

    7. You are speaking as my dream is….
      today all the games are primitive everyone get sick of them…(i even sometimes get sick from soldat… but never mind its not like i hate it its my faveriot game about 4 and half of years)
      Somebody(a lot of somebody) need to make the revolution 😛 and it has to abe as soon as posible(and i wish i will be one of them who will make it…:) but im still not a programmer not a grafical im nothing im still a gamer(gamer is good too but it wont help)
      in like 5 or 10 years i will be 1 of them ….but i think it will be done before i join…cuz im on a 10 years of learning for a high lvl programmer starting next year….maby i will create a game like soldat only with future gaming :))

    8. Thats Ok just be a gamer with out gamer wy would game exist? we need gamers! and I will help in the revolution I’m starting in the one man game coding against the huge ugly compagnies

    9. lol 😛 we have another gamer here only like a few milion left

    10. We need famous charismatic players, not developers.

    11. teh_ham

      I myself am a pretty good programmer using Game maker. I have tried learning C++ but i just want to make games so i went with GM. Programmers will never get the fame and glory they deserve even if we do make half the world go round what with modern technology and such.

    12. Sorry, this is so late, I just discovered this site…

      I think gaming and movies will merge, there are already many compelling stories that have existed within the game industry that have drawn many people in and created much controversy. Look at Halo. It’s not an incredible story, but it has many elements of a movie. It’s even rumored to be having a movie made after it since its rediculous popularity. Whoever plays Master Chief (main char.) will become quite famous. If anything happens within the next ten years in the gaming industry it will be mainly the fusing of movies and games (look into the concepts Sony has come up with for its Blu-Ray disks) or games and networking websites, or all three…

      Personally, I don’t believe many programmers will become famous until programming becomes truly user-friendly. Already, there’s an independant game company exploring this idea that has implemented this idea into its current game; Little Big Planet (for PS3). Players create their own games, environment, levels, characters, rules, and profiles seamlessly. It is a mix between the popular MySpace website (to which many teenagers go creating profiles, chatting, networking, etc.) and a racing game. Finally, a place where ‘normal’ people can connect, play, express themselves, and create. There’s also another concept that will bring many people together and to games, called ‘Home’ for the different PlayStations. People show off their gaming feat in their personal (customizable) space, and walk around in places like malls and socialize. Once a person can program (probably more visually and utilizing touch) like they can construct with Lego, will there be enough people in the area of ‘programming’ to consider it an activity that a celebrity would take part in. Sort of the way that synthesized music has changed over time, once it’s more user friendly, you have people emerging that are considered social, like DJs.

      Around this time, I believe that people who are able to ‘direct’ legendary movie/games will become as famous as Speilberg or Lucas. People who are either able to make meaningful stories or carry out innovative ideas such as Youtube and MySpace did to the internet, with these movie/game/networks will also become celebrated individuals. A person who has touched a lot of people with his game series storyline and created a very large fanbase (who are currently making a movie) and considered as its soul creator (even though it’s not true) is Hideo Kojima, the series; Metal Gear. There’s a lot of potential for the interactive industry, it’s just too far ahead, or hasn’t been done right. Games can become art, they just need to become a practical form for artists to utilize it.

    13. The thing is, is it really true that we can transform the game industry if there is a very in-the-spotlight kind of person leading the way? And that this person is a programmer?


      Games are not just a single programmer’s work. We don’t need a very visionary programmer to achieve remarkable games. What we need, are good art directors and script-writers. Programmers are the equivalent of slave workers in the game industry. In Apple, do we hear of the programmers who slogged over the IPhone UI? The engineers who designed the wheel system? No, all we know is Steve Jobs, the guy who led the team and told them what to do.

      Movies is not a good analogy. In movies, the actors play as much a role as the director in making the movie a success. That’s because only these few select actors are skillful enough to bring the story to the audience. But games? Programmers are a dime in a dozen. In you wanna make good games, be the guy sitting at the top, not the guy who’s putting work in overtime.

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