December 5, 2005
Gamer as Artiste: Shameless Plug Alert (but it's for a Guru cause :-)

In response to the query: "Can games be something more than games? In other words, can they move people emotionally or intellectually in the manner of great art?", a recent New York Times article features multiple responses from our very own CMS and C3 super-guru Dr. Henry Jenkins, as well as friends of CMS, like Dr. James Paul Gee and Eric Zimmerman. Here are Henry's quotes:

Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggested that they are equally close to dance, as a medium of performance, or architecture, as a medium of creating unique spaces.

"The press treats Spielberg's announcement as the second coming," said Professor Jenkins of M.I.T. "But game designers remember how the game based on 'E.T.' nearly killed Atari, and is considered the biggest failure in game history."

In its emphasis on filling games with scenes and dialogue to establish character, Professor Jenkins said, "Hollywood puts its effort into things gamers don't care about."

He compared the video game industry to Hollywood of the 1930's, when studios created standards for their products but also imposed formulas for the movies they churned out, with rising budgets and diminishing creative risk-taking.

"What you need now is a garage band aesthetic, or independent film aesthetic for games," he said. "You're building the world from scratch. Why does it have to look like the world we live in?"

Read the entire article here