David Jaffe shoots from the hip, and that hip looks a lot like my heart. Last year, I was a bit confused as to why so many people were wanking off, splooging over, and generally orgasming on the face of the XBLA title Limbo. Frankly, I thought it was a piece of boring minimalist bullshit. Disagree? Well, good for you. Maybe you can still appreciate the hot fire that Jaffe is spitting regarding the media and their love for shitty artsy-fartsy games.
“Just because there’s wind blowing and a minimal soundtrack and vast open spaces to explore and a slow pace doesn’t mean that the game you are playing is art,” he wrote. ”Shining the powerful media light on these sorts of games — that tell you they are important but are not really all that engaging/interesting play wise and are nowhere near as emotional or meaningful as most B-rate, night time dramas on network television — means that the media light and publisher cash gets taken away from traditional games.
“… Traditional games are disrespected, devalued, and shown a lack of appreciation, understanding, and love for the very things the medium does so well, so effortlessly, and so successfully.”
I want to buy David Jaffe the biggest damn beer after this. While I am interested in seeing videogames “grow up” and do more interesting things, I don’t feel it should be done at the expense of fun and I certainly don’t feel that most of the “art” games we currently have are worth the praise they get. Falling for pompous vagueness or a script that would get laughed out of a movie theater only exposes how infantile this medium really is.
For what it’s worth, I don’t dismiss the concept of independent or artsy games outright. I apply the same tension that I do to anything considered “artsy” in any medium: is it legitimately interesting, or is it straining to identify itself so strenuously with a particular mindset or connotation without having anything to back it up? Instead what I do have a problem with is something that Jaffe hints at – the labored breathing and moans that comes from the gaming community whenever anything vaguely artistic is offered up. Oh yes! It’ll validate the medium! Oh, I’m coming! Oh wait, is the game any good? Who fucking cares! It’s art! Art! Splooge!
So yeah, well done, Jaffe.