I’m finally home after driving with Brenda Brathwaite to the Art History of Games Conference in Atlanta.
The event was great and timely, since I’m also taking an online art history class with SCAD. As usual, one of the best aspects was interacting with friends (old and new), talking about games.
Some of the speeches given at the conference made me realize that while–in crafting games–designers take up fierce positions and move toward absolutes, critics and academics often rely an elusive series of shifting positions and various lenses as a means of analysis. We tend to drive toward something hard, guided by a core statement or belief that might not hold up as consistent or perfect under intense scrutiny. (But a core statement that might be critical in terms of reaching the goal. Ie, “Multiple solutions to problems,” or “Modeling fight or flight response.”) They tend to ask questions from many different perspective, which is thought provoking and provides insight from earlier efforts.
Ever interesting, games vs stories comes up year after year. People make statements about whether games should include any embedded narrative borrowed from non-systemic, non-mechanical media like fiction or film.
I believe in our medium’s plurality. There’s no right answer. But for me the strongest experiences *right now* involve a synthesis…sublime moments that come from interacting with very analogue systems, wrapped in fiction that contextualizes the experience emotionally.
Best example for me, from the last year, is my 100 or so hours with Far Cry 2. Soon I’ll be playing Bioshock 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2, trying to get the same sensation, which I cannot find anywhere else. Certainly not in film, lit. or art.