I just saw the last episode of the popular Off Book webisode and I couldn’t help but blogging about it. For those of you who don’t know what it is about, Off Book is a web series related to all forms of art expression “that explores cutting edge arts and the artists that make it. Episodes range from video games to typography, internet memes to steampunk culture”. Please check their site for more info, it’s definitely worth it.
The latest show is related to Videogames and is entitled “The Creativity of Indie Video Games”. In this show, they interview people from the industry and gather their opinion about the significance of videogames in today’s world, who we thought played games before vs who we realize play games now and how good it is that games provide people with a whole new world of unlimited and different forms of art through digital entertainment. But most importantly, videogames are amazing because most of them contain fantastic, immersive, breathtaking and extremely interesting stories that put the player in a place he longs to be and from which he doesn’t want to be parted. Also, giving players the power of choice about what they want to happen with the game and how they want those stories to evolve is an incredible tool that videogames provide to their consumers, that no other art form is able to provide. The interaction between games and players is a love story, a never ending romance deeply imbued with powerful feelings that transforms videogames in a very human thing.
The show features Eric Zimmerman (Game Designer), Jesper Juul (Game Studies Scholar), Leigh Alexander (Game Journalist) and Syed Salahuddin (Game Designer and Curator) and it's definitely a "must see". I absolutely love when people like Eric say that games are "among the most ancient forms of human design, communication, interaction and expression" because I have always said that games are a form of art and the whole process of making a game is pure art from start to finish. It involves creativity, collaboration, a lot of genuine effort and an unsurmountable amount of passion!
Jesper Juul mentions that games don't always need to have spectacular graphic resources but instead they should provide the player with an interesting environment where he should be able to choose where he wants to play, how he wants to play and allow the players to express themselves within the game itself! This might seem small but it is, in fact, the biggest achievement of videogames. What other type of art allows its consumers to manipulate the art at their own will and be able to actually create art from the original art itself? This is absolutely stunning!
Syed Salahuddin has a very interesting approach to art in videogames and I believe the most important thing he says is that Independent Video Game Makers are "completely free" because indies "don't have any money and they don't have to make any money". He also mentions that games he admires are drawn from personal experiences and emotions and that establishes a connection between the game developers and the players. "Telling a narrative about your life and showing it through that lens is art" is absolutely inspiring and I couldn't agree more. All we are is what we've done in and with our lives, and what we will be is intimately entwined with the choices we will make. Art is nothing more than the artist's perception of something he finds interesting and decides to share with the world.
But I think the best quote from this show belongs to Leigh Alexander when she says "Games are beautifully architected experiences that nonetheless demand participation from the audience". Kudos to you, Miss Alexander, I wouldn't have been able to express it in a better way.