Another week, another interview with Jenova Chen slamming the current array of video games for not being intellectually stimulating. This time around, Chen has suggested that the games industry is doing adults a disservice by not offering a huge deal by way of emotional and intellectual stimulation.
"My biggest complaint for computer games so far is they are not good enough for adults," says Chen.
"For adults to enjoy something, they need to have intellectual stimulation, something that's related to real life. Playing poker teaches you how to deceive people, and that's relevant to real life. A headshot with a sniper rifle is not relevant to real life."
Well, when you put it like that, perhaps not. But the feeling of exacting revenge on a rival that's had you pegged for three rounds? There are plenty of real-life applications for competition. Chen, however, would like to see more done to appeal to the intellectual side of things, and we're all for a broader spectrum of emotions offered by this medium.
"Games have to be relevant intellectually," he suggested. "You also need depth. You have the adventure -- the thrill of the adventure -- but you want the goosebumps too."
Chen also noted that he felt it was easier to create emotional experiences with a smaller team, stating that a unified vision was much easier to produce with an intimate group of people.
"I think you'll always find more artistic games in the indie circle, because with a smaller team working on a game, it's more likely to be personal, and when it's personal, it's very much the same human condition that the developer had when he was building the game. And if that echoes with your own life, it's more likely to touch you.
"It's easier to stay coherent when everyone shares a vision. If you have a larger team, it's very difficult to create an artistic experience; you can learn that from Hollywood. The Oscar winning film is usually not the one with the biggest budget."
Ultimately, Chen's goal is to continue making games that attempt to tap into themes of emotional and intellectual relevance.
"Can games make you and another human learn something intellectual and relevant from each other? Can games make you and another human experience an emotion that's deep enough to touch adults? I'm working on all of that. Making emotional games and making them intellectually relevant; making games where people can connect and come together."
Some controversial statements, then, but just as we're glad for big budget thrillers, we're damn glad Chen's out there doing his thing too, particularly if the sublime Journey is anything to go by. [Gamasutra]