Skip to content

The Hypocrisy of the Art Game

March 1, 2010

The Experimental Games Workshop at GDC has been canceled. The official reason from TIGSource, as it stands now, is:

The EGW organizers were ultimately unhappy they could do a full session this year with the submitted games.

What this boils down to is skepticism. Over the last several years, EGW has been showing off some great games from the experimental game scene, and big names in the industry have been shouting that they want to see more games do what the experimental games are doing. Well, we listened. There are a lot of cheap and even free resources for creating games nowadays: Game Maker, Multimedia Fusion, Flixel, Unreal, Unity… nearly every single engine is starting to cater more toward indie development. Just recently, the fine folks over at released Desura, a Steam-like distribution platform for indie games and mods.

So while the niche art-game community was crying out for more games to be art, they thought only AAA developers were hearing their pleas. What happened instead? We got more indie games. 2009 was the year of the indie game. XBLIG started rough (see my previous post on the subject) by has finally turned into a viable place for finding some decent games. People started flooding the TIGSource forums with screenshots and youtube from new experimental games. The Global Game Jam twice challenged high schoolers, college kids, and professionals alike to create a game in 48 hours, and then those games, like GNILLEY, were posted all over Kotaku. So while people cried out for mainstream games to be art, the last thing they expected was for art games to be mainstream.

I, for one, find this extremely hypocritical. Yes, AAA games are finally starting to come around to the indie way of doing things, but canceling the EGW for the reason given, after begging for more art games, is like inviting us out to dinner and then being upset when we show up.

So, by flooding the internet with art games, have we killed the art game? I for one vote a strong and resounding maybe. On the one hand, we will hold onto these lessons for the rest of time and more than likely people will continue to make games about birth or a piece of red meat floating through a sick man’s colon (I’m trademarking that one, btw), and multi-million dollar games will start taking more risks since, hell, every game coming out on Facebook and iPhone is exactly the same as every other one, so maybe some originality is worth the risk. As far as I am concerned, the debate is over. Games are art, and the game development community was willing to prove it. So what if they’re not all Passage? They have the same right to be played.


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: