Arthouse Games
by ndSunday, December 30, 2007 [6:22 pm]

Ebert says some pretty smart things in this, but I think the shallowest thing he says is when he starts going off and saying Shakespeare wouldn't be as good if it was malleable. That's, of course, true. But games are more than just "story." Ebert's criticism of games could be applied to Stan Brackhage's films, in a way: they're not Shakespeare, there's authorial intent, little story, but that makes them no less art.

While I certainly dig the narrative elements in at least some games, what I think is really <i>exciting</i> about games is their capacity for something resembling organic growth. (Games with AI, games that simulate different kinds of growth or development, etc.) This makes them more than just a collaborative/malleable medium, it makes them ... enlightening, I'd say. I know that some of my first real thoughts about "God" & "soul" were prompted by thinking about computers and the possibility (or lack thereof) of artificial life. And thinking about those things was certainly prompted at least in part by video games. It still is. (Granted, Hal 9000 figures in there somewhere, too, but.)


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