Scott Steinberg on Games as Art

Last Supper Pac Man
Scott Steinberg asks: who says video games aren’t art?

Detractors can rightly argue that not every game technically fits the definition of art, or aspires to such lofty goals. Plenty of titles exist purely as profit-generating vehicles designed to cash in on TV shows, films and mindless pop culture artifacts.

But by letting us assume a variety of different roles, experience the world through new eyes and soak up scenarios from a fuller range of perspectives, many of the best games provide room for personal growth and individual interpretation. Capable of great import and splendor, at their best, video games can marry the aesthetic grace of painting, music and sculpture with the depth and gravity of film, literature and stagecraft.

Scott Steinberg @ Cnn.com

I’m so pleased with myself for creating Last Supper for Pac-Man that I posted it to Facebook.

Warren Spector on Games as Art, Epic Mickey

“Games are an art form. I proudly wear my scarlet letter — A for art!”

Warren Spector, keynote speaker at PAX 2010

Warren Spector is lead developer of Epic Mickey, a videogame that is “part of an effort by The Walt Disney Company to re-brand the Mickey Mouse character by moving away from his current squeaky clean image and reintroducing the mischievous side of his personality.”

Screenshots from the opening sequence: the sorceror retires for the night …

Epic Mickey

Mickey faces the consequences of his actions:

Epic Mickey

I was fascinated by Fantasia — especially The Sorceror’s Apprentice — at an early age. So yes, I’m curious what Epic Mickey has to offer.

Spidey Noir

Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions (Noir)
The upcoming Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions promises four different Dimensions (distinctive game modes). I love the above screenshot from the Noir mode!

… The second dimension takes place in Marvel’s “Noir” universe, and is a slightly darker (both figuratively and literally) take on Spider-Man, using a style commonly found in pulp crime novels. The gameplay falls in line with this darker approach as there’s an emphasis on stealth, with slower and more methodical gameplay elements incorporated to encourage you to stay in the shadows as often as possible. You’ll still have access to the core Spider-Man abilities, so he’ll still be able to handle himself in a fight, but the developers tell us that sometimes it pays to remain unseen.

Eduardo Vasconcellos @ GamePro

See Activision investor news.

TLBB Boss Illustrator Interview

“Generally speaking, there are three types of bosses that appear in games, the cute-type, abominable-type and fantasy-type.”
— Ying Shi

Multiplayer Online Games Directory recently published an interview with Ying Shi, an illustrator working for ChangYou on such projects as Tian Long Ba Bu (“The most powerful martial arts experience of your MMO life.”)

Tian Long Ba Bu

MPOGD: How many concepts do you go through to get to the right one when developing the characters?

YS: We can use our own ideas to create an image, but if we want the person or player to like what they see, then we need to take some time to think about what it is we want to design. Generally speaking, there are three types of bosses that appear in games, the cute-type, abominable-type and fantasy-type. These are factors to think about when designing and, at the same time, we need to consider the story of the boss life, where does he/she come from, whats the background, the reason the boss is an enemy and how/why they became the way they are.

MPOGD: TLBB is widely known for its authenticity to the book (Tian Long Ba Bu). What key ideas and features did you take from the book in order to create what we see today?

YS: Its important to bear in mind that the game has a genuine ancient Chinese martial arts feel to it and so highlighted areas such as the 9 nine different classes, the cities, the skills etc. are very influential. Weve tried to maintain a genuine feel to the book also, hence why the NPCs are named after characters in the original work of Louis Cha.

Multiplayer Online Games Directory

For more about the classes:
http://tlbb.eu.changyou.com/gameguide/Classes.shtml

Color and Game Design

Take Initiative recently posted an article on the use of color in games:

Pink

Pink has also been used more in games over the past ten years. Pink has mostly been associated with fun and baby girls but recently more people especially men have been adopting more pink products. Games companies have even used this colour to their advantage by colouring their consoles in a variety of shades of pink to help widen their market and sell their products to young girls who previously would not have touched consoles. So pink is definitely having a bigger impact on the world.Needler

Within actual games pink, like white has been used to make certain objects stand out to players and show that they are not a part of the norm. In Halo 2 and 3 pink (and other exotic colours) are used to signify aliens weapons like the Needler.

Colour within Game Design: Colours with Meaning @ TakeInitiative.com

VALIS
Speaking of pink:

Philip K. Dick wrote about “pink laser beams” and other pink light phenomena as a means of beaming huge quantities of information into a man’s head … a man such as Philip K. Dick himself.

Perhaps the world is ready for a Philip K. Dick videogame?

Left: VALIS cover art, which I absolutely love. Beautiful and relevant.