Arthouse Games
by Jonathan BlowWednesday, January 10, 2007 [11:59 am]

Interesting points, and I thought a while along these lines last weekend.

But the Slamdance festival has shown no real signs of taking this matter seriously or even trying to understand our point. Everything I've seen about the details behind the decision (information about which is admittedly sparse) indicates that it was a unilateral action by a co-founder of the festival against the wishes of people whose job it is to know better; even abstracting away any kind of games-as-art issue, this is the sign of a festival that I just don't want to be involved with.

I appreciate the idea that we might gain a lot by speaking out at the festival, but "Yes, I'll go to your festival, yes, I'll accept your award" seems pretty weak to me.

There's one important thing that changes the dynamics of this situation, compared to past ones: we have the internet. The internet is a great way of making public statements, as we have done over this past week. I think a statement made during a screening at Slamdance would reach many fewer people. And, whereas I would be sad if Slamdance decommissioned the game side of their operations (though frankly they are going to have to explain that public statement they made if they wish to continue without suspicion), the fact is that the internet is the biggest independent games festival in the world. Artists of earlier decades didn't have it ... but we do.

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