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Warren Spector reminds us to demand better from our games

Speaking to MemoryLeak, the veteran game designer continues to push the game industry to be a bit more diverse and mature as he puzzles out how to prepare students for a career in game making.
Deus Ex director Warren Spector continues to encourage the game industry to be a bit more diverse and ambitious in a recent interview published by MemoryLeak. "To enhance our cultural reputation, I think we could be a bit more demanding in the kinds of content we support and demand," Spector told MemoryLeak. "There’s a lot of sameness in commercial games and apps – a lot of slam-bang-action blockbusters on the one hand and simple puzzle games on the other. There’s a middle ground other media occupy with adult content. We could learn from that, I think." The veteran designer went on to call out the gratuitous virtual violence that often dominates consumer-focused events like E3 -- especially the infamous E3 2012 -- as a weakness of the industry, one that publishers often hammer on in the hopes of "pandering to the core gamer audience" and turning a profit. "I just think gamers simply need to demand more and better games...different games...genuinely adult games," said Spector, who admitted that the landscape of the game industry has changed dramatically since he cut his teeth designing games in the late '80s. "At this point, no one knows what business models or distribution methods will work," said Spector. "It's a frontier out there -- a wilderness." Nevertheless, Spector joined up with the University of Texas at Austin last year and became the director of its Denius-Sams Gaming Academy with an eye towards preparing prospective game makers for that frontier. "I want the [Denius-Sams Gaming Academy] to provide people with the equivalent of years of experience in just nine months," said Spector. "If it works, that’ll accelerate people’s careers and do a service for an industry that, in my view, is notoriously badly led -- and, no, I’m not excluding myself from the set of all people who’ve screwed up over the years!" You can read more of Spector's thoughts on the state of the industry, his experiences working on Epic Mickey and Deus Ex, and his goals for game design education over on the MemoryLeak website.

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