Thirty seven legendary developers will be starring in an 'open documentary project' designed to explore the role of games designers as innovators and cultural icons. Critical Path will act as "a transmedia project exploring the art, philosophy, politics and psychology of video games," the first step being an online archive of interviews. Take a gander at the trailer above to check out some of the talent who've signed up, including John Carmack, Tim Schafer, Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier, Will Wright and many others. Full interview cast after the break.Click here to read more...
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.Click here to read more...
Do you own a PS3? Well, if you do, that means you're probably more likely to be interested in "artistic games" than if you're a humble Wii or Xbox 360 owner...at least according to thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen.Click here to read more...
Gearbox's Mikey Neumann has spoken out against petitioning artists to change their art, just because an audience doesn't like the way it is. Although, it's a little tongue-in-cheek, as the Aliens: Colonial Marines lead also suggests that artists should probably try to avoid doing " the thing that makes people write petitions on the internet" in the first placeClick here to read more...
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
WARNING: It's pretty impossible to review a game in any great depth without discussing mechanics, and themes to a certain extent. But going into Journey relatively free and fresh is, I feel, integral to one's first experience. Therefore, I would advise caution before proceeding, as there may well be minor spoilers of a sort.
The first time I reached the credits of Journey, as the first vocal track of a soundtrack that provokes smiles and tears in equal measure hit my ears, my eyes were already streaming with tears. I hadn't even noticed. As someone for whom the aural experience often makes a more significant impact, thatgamecompany's latest was absolutely devastating in terms of emotional wreckage. Not because there's anything in the "story" that's particularly sad, not because of an intricately woven narrative that pushes emotional buttons by numbers, but simply by being stunningly, breathtakingly, transcendentally beautiful.
Never has a game been so completely, or so succinctly, captured in its title. You begin as a rather nondescript figure, with toothpick legs, and glowing beads for eyes, attached to a face we never see, hidden by a nondescript cowled cloak. Stood, silently, amongst the whipping winds and undulating sands of the desert, the camera pans upwards to reveal the mountain ahead of you - a split peak that glows brightly at its summit. There are no text prompts, no mission statements, no instructions save brief controller inputs. Yet your objective is clear: journey to the top of the mountain.
What follows is a narrative of exploration and discovery that is entirely bereft of interruption, or anything that would detract from the experience. No dialogue, no in-game text, just you, the landscape before you, and Austin Wintory's captivating soundtrack. Relying solely on aesthetic experience, to both set tone and provide signifiers for pressing onwards, Journey is a rather unique game.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 (reviewed) | Xbox 360
Developer: Ignition Tokyo
Publisher: UTV Ignition
There aren't many games that place you in the shoes of a Biblical figure, let alone one whose place in theological history was excised and canned. Nor are there many that have you engaging in Tron-esque motorcycle jaunts across futuristic cityscapes, fending off the robotic henchmen of a Fallen Angel, or hopping over beachballs pushed by cutesy cartoon Nephilim (it's a bit odd that the bastard children of Humans and Angels appear to resemble a cross between a frankfurter and a meerkat), or attempting to send a troubled Grigori back to Heaven by battling his minions while he engages it what can only be described as techno-fuelled interpretive dance.
Suffice it to say, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is not your average game.
The actual premise is actually fairly high concept and straightforward: you play Enoch, a man who had his own eponymous Apocryphal text, who is sent by God to round up seven Fallen Angels, purify them through combat and return them to Heaven where a certain amount of justice might be served, in the hope of preventing God from unleashing a massive flood. Find Apostates, beat them up, save world. Simples. In order to do this, however, Enoch has to battle his way through the seven trans-dimensional floors of reality of an enormous, foreboding Tower, each of them housing a different Angel and their subjects.Click here to find out why El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is one of the most fascinating games of the year...
Yes, the debate is over. The United States' government officially recognises videogames as an art-form, and as such can apply for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. And now, when our better halves or parents ask us what we're doing at three in the morning, we have a better excuse. "Art, dear". Sadly, this recognition doesn't extend to our shores, where benefits or funding support for the videogame industry is still in dire need of reform.
But for developers in the United States, it's yet another financial incentive and is sure to prompt another big boom in jobs. The Arts on Radio and Television funding category is accordingly being renamed The Arts in Media to reflect the added incentive in including interactive digital media. While the debate as to whether videogames are, in fact, an art form or not will continue to rage, it's nice to see politicians - who aren't often on our side - have our backs. [Eurogamer]
David Jaffe, he of Twisted Metal and God of War fame, likes to rock the boat and, over the weekend, threw up a lovely little rant on his blog encouraging gamers, journalists and other developers alike to start calling game developers out when it comes to artistic pretension.Click here to see what David Jaffe had to say, and how the games as art debate has been detrimental to core gaming...
Remember when the Kinect launched? Course you do, it was only a few months ago and, even with those all night CoD multiplayer fests, your brain cells aren’t that battered.
Basically, the Kinect launch was greeted with that standard peripheral fanfare: nice idea, shame about the software. I seem to remember the Sony Play system getting much the same response. There are no prizes for guessing where the reviews for Wii’s latest addition, the uDraw Tablet, are headed then...
After early sneak views last year, uDraw struck those of who’d had a few minutes playing with it as a neat enough idea. The Guardian’s Steve Boxer celebrated its refusal to make “game-changing” claims and described it as “by no means an earth-shatteringly clever input device like Microsoft's Kinect... but it should prove pretty attractive to parents worried about their offspring spending all day in front of their Wiis without achieving anything concrete.”
Six months on from that early look, with the finished tablet (and its three launch games) zooming towards retail outlets even as I type, how does it fare? Do I really need to answer?
We're going to start the proceedings with a little thought experiment. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then let's begin. Think back to why you started playing videogames in the first place. If you're being honest, you'll start to glaze over with fond memories of stolen lunch hours and afternoons playing with your friends (virtual or otherwise) and having a laugh. You didn't get into gaming to immerse yourself in an emergent form of high art. You played games because they were a fun toy that every kid coveted and enjoyed. This, dear reader, leads us on to one inescapable conclusion.
Games are toys. Not art.
Games, by their very definition, are things that you play... and this classification is absolutely fine for the overwhelming majority of our medium. Most developers design their wares to be disposable pleasures: like the latest Mattel craze, airfix kit or jigsaw puzzle that can be enjoyed, completed and discarded in the fullness of time. Most of us game simply because it's fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. Our focus, as gamers, ought to be to revel in this fact as well as the wondrous entertaining baubles that we can eventually throw out of the pram when their inevitable sequels hit the shelves... rather than stubbornly (and incorrectly) insisting that our entire industry represents high art every time someone stands up and challenges us.
But don't scroll down to the comments just yet, folks. Here's where things get interesting. What of the tiny minority of titles that strive to be infinitely more than just mere playthings? I'm sure that you're raring to name a few, because the likes of ICO, Braid, Flower and Every Day The Same Dream speak to us on as as many levels as a Rembrandt or a Mozart symphony. They are works of art. Many are nothing less than true masterpieces. But so long as these titles are classified as "games," they can only aspire to be the shiniest toys in the toybox as far as the mainstream media and critics are concerned.
So here's the thing. Maybe Roger Ebert actually had a point. Maybe "games" can never be art... but something else could. Maybe we need to rebrand.
Read on to discover what this could mean for our industry... and for art
Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, we respond to film critic heavyweight Roger Ebert's recent reassertion that video games can never be called art...again.
I envisage a time not far from now when this entire debate will simply become irrelevant. We probably won't have found an answer to the 'Are games art?' question, we'll just simply have accumulated such a degree of cultural capital that we won't care any more. It's a question that proves fearsome as well as tiresome, a question charged with emotion for many. For those on the defensive it is a weapon brandished desperately to try and vindicate a higher level of appraisal for the form, to elevate gaming above mere virtual playground antics and enjoy a cultural stamp of legitimacy on this much maligned medium. Others fear it, hoping that the question, like a noisy drunkard on the night bus, will move on eventually and stop threatening to 'gentrify' this subculture.
So why are we dredging up this topic again? Well, because one of the most outspoken critics of the video game industry is at it again. And because rather than simply react in anger ('How dare he belittle my beloved video games?!') I'd like to posit that his methods in this case are flawed. He wrote a column this week entitled 'Video games can never be considered art' in response to a request from a reader of his to watch video footage of a talk given by Kellee Santiago, President of thatgamecompany (the guys and girls behind such titles as flOw and Flower), a talk that argues video games are already a primitive artform, and one that is constantly evolving.Click here to find out why the entire basis for Ebert's argument is fundamentally flawed....