Found in Edge 252, April 2013, Page 18.
The Game of Life. An article exploring the reasons behind why indie developers seem to be finding creative inspiration in their personal experiences.
The article begins with an introduction to David S Gallant’s game I Get This Call Every Day. A game in which the player takes on the role of a call center assistant tasked with a snarky customer who wants to change their address.
The article confronts the idea of play and why the majority of gamers believe that a game needs to be simply fun. It states that
“Games ability to inspire empathy should make them a prime target for autobiographical scenarios…but […] the majority of players expect all games to be ‘fun’ in a rather narrow, frivolous sense.”
This shows a sense of obscurity within the games industry that subjugate’s and out rules an area that has been starkly neglected or simply not considered…yet!
Following on from my research for my dissertation, one point was clear within all games and their respective players: A player needs to feel connected to the concept of the game. They need to feel involved and a sense of understanding and focus, because this is what keeps them immersed. From looking at the comments that Gallant’s makes within this article, it has become clear that games are respective of reality to a high degree, and if we cannot explore these important albeit personal issues within the medium of games as an art form then that reflects a big gap in the industry.
The article also mentions the work of Anna Anthropy, the creator of Dys4ia, an explorative game that shares her experiences of gender reassignment. It expresses emotional and physical complexities but it does not simply tell a story, it lets the player interact and gain an understanding of Anthropy’s experience.
If anything I believe that this is what makes video games such an important medium, and I do think that they should be utilised more for issues that are often left on the backseat. Saying this Anthropy gives a good quote to summarise:
“There’ll be a day when they realise people are more interested in meaningful human stories than military-fantasies for game-literate manbros….It won’t be a victory; that’s not the goal. The goal is to empower everyone to be able to tell their stories without depending on a big publisher to fund them.”
I like this quote. It is all about taking the power and focus off of the money that comes from games and shifting it to the narratives and personality that can be inscribed into a games existence. Ultimately it is about sharing stories, which again ties into my dissertation!
As a professional hoping to get into the industry, finding this article has not only opening my eyes but it has also made me feel more content knowing that there are professionals out their that are focused on the same goals as me. It is nice to know that there are industry professionals that believe that if money rules the gaming world all it will produce are re-representations of the same thing over and over again.
I know that trying to overthrow the power of money will never ever work and challenging it at its root won’t either but as Mahatma Ghandi once said:
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
Rightly I would much rather be content in the work that I produce than conform to the orders of people controlled by money.