January 4, 2009
Games, Art, the Usual
John Lanchester in the LRB does what I thought was impossible: advances the state of the conversation about games and art a bit. He’s quite tough on video games, but reading his piece, you also get the sense that he actually plays lots of them. He knows his Fallout 3 from his LittleBigPlanet.
I like this line:
Miyamoto has, throughout his career, engaged with the question of arbitrariness by making his games more arbitrary, more silly — by making that silliness part of the fun.
And this seems like a fair verdict, for the time being at least:
Not all games are cynically, affectlessly violent, but a lot of them are, and this trend is holding video games back. It’s keeping them at the level of Hollywood blockbusters, when they could go on to be something else and something more.
I’ve gotten a bit bored with video games and meta-video-game commentary alike lately. I think my problem is so much of the innovation and excitement at the moment is around clever mechanics: the Wii, the iPhone’s touch controls, games like World of Goo and (see below) Zen Bound. And I am bored with that stuff. I want to see games with different content — and that’s why I like Lanchester’s piece.
(Via Matt P. and Rachel.)