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Dyack says games are art, “gameplay is not everything”

Friday, 17th July 2009 15:20 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

denisdyack

During his talk at Develop, Denis Dyack stated that gameplay is not everything when it comes to developing a title, and the aesthetic value must be considered an integral part.

Basically, games are art.

“Gameplay is not everything,” said Dyack. “If you look at the most popular games today, they are far more narrative-focused. If games are to follow the trajectory of films, then the dominance of gameplay will diminish in place of an increased focus and importance on gaming’s stories and the ways in which they are told.

“It’s an unpopular viewpoint. But I don’t believe that gameplay is the most important aspect to games. I have a theory: that engagement is greater than or equal to art plus story plus gameplay plus audio plus technology. It’s all of these things combined, and one is not more important than another.

“While I think that narrative is going to become more and more dominant, possibly superseding gameplay, narrative is not the be all and end all.  However, I think we will move towards a place where games can be a success because of more than just their gameplay, because of their music, their internal architecture and so on.

“That video games are art is quite obvious to me. The new synthesis is interactivity and gameplay. Instead of moving pictures, that which movies brought to art, we now have interactivity as the glue that brings together all the previous artistic elements.

“It’s ridiculous to claim that video games aren’t art because they speak the language of film. I would encourage us to apply filmic technique to our creations. If you can replicate these techniques extraordinarily well, then your game will resonate with people on a deep level.”

Via GameSetWatch.

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26 Comments

  1. Redh3lix

    Gameplay is not everything OK folks!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Having tried the Too Human demo I’d already guessed that this was what he believed. :-D

    #2 5 years ago
  3. G1GAHURTZ

    The most popular games are narrative based…?

    What, you mean like Wii Sports?

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Eregol

    The western Kojima?

    He’s nuts if he thinks people choose story over gameplay.

    I’m not going to play a game that isn’t fun just because it has a good story.
    Same as I wouldn’t watch a shit film just because the story was good.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. SunKing

    “‘Gameplay is not everything,’ said Dyack. ‘If you look at the most popular games today, they are far more narrative-focused. If games are to follow the trajectory of films, then the dominance of gameplay will diminish in place of an increased focus and importance on gaming’s stories and the ways in which they are told.’” [my emphasis]

    You mean, through gameplay?

    “‘That video games are art is quite obvious to me. The new synthesis is interactivity and gameplay. Instead of moving pictures, that which movies brought to art, we now have interactivity as the glue that brings together all the previous artistic elements.’”

    Soooo, interactivity isn’t what we might consider gameplay to be, then?

    I’m sorry, but I’m a little confused at exactly what Dyack is hinting towards.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. elronathon

    I couldn’t disagree with him more.

    There seems to be a common theme with ‘games as art’ arguments, that games will follow the same trajectory of Film. I can understand that game’s own trajectory might reflect it in a general sense but there seems to be a tendency to believe it will follow it literally i.e. as films tech became dependable they could focus more on storytelling.

    But games are a different beast, I believe in story as experience. Experience and literal engagement are the things that make games so compelling. For me, the cornerstone of this engagement is input and subsequently ‘gameplay’.

    Left 4 Dead is an excellent example of gameplay as narrative. What player has not got a stack of tales they can tell regarding ‘that time when…’ in that game?

    At the other end of the spectrum you have games like Shenmue, which incidentally I adore as well. There was still strong ‘gameplay’ to be found – it had a seriously robust fighting engine for example.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. BillyBatts

    Games are not art. Pretentious woffle like this is what holds the industry back in my opinion. It’s no coincidence that the industry has been revived by the emergence of ‘casual’ gaming, in other words when, games remembered what they are and focused more on fun rather than hopelessly aping Hollywood and the like.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Robster1979

    Not again…….

    http://www.vg247.com/forum/topic.php?id=260&page=1

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Lutz

    Gameplay *is* everything. And if Dyack is the guy who dev’ed Too Human, it’s very clear he doesn’t know good gameplay.

    Atrocious bloody game.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. satsugai

    I actually don’t give a flying barrel of monkeys about the story, if the gameplay is fun I play, end of story.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Michael O'Connor

    “He’s nuts if he thinks people choose story over gameplay.”

    The sales of games like Metal Gear Solid would argue otherwise, as that franchise’s overly pretentious storylines have sold far more copies than its out-dated gameplay mechanics should.

    “Games are not art. Pretentious waffle like this is what holds the industry back in my opinion.”

    A complete abundance of meaningless, throw-away entertainment with no substance is what holds the industry back.

    The sooner gamers start focusing on the experience, and learn to tell a meaningful story in the process, the sooner video games will be considered as valid as film, music, and literature.

    The point he’s making is that story needs to become a more seamless part of game design, instead of just having gameplay for gameplay sake.

    And he’s right, gameplay isn’t everything. It’s just one (significant) part of the whole, which includes things like art design, immersion, pacing, and memorable set pieces. That’s what separates the “good” games from the “great”.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. SlayerGT

    Dyack makes me laugh.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. 2Three

    I agree that creating games is a form of art.

    But gameplay is the most integral element and can’t take a backseat to any other components. Crappy gameplay doesn’t sell, no matter how pleasing a title may be from a visual standpoint or how ambitious the narrative is. Damnation for example had an interesting premise and fairly nice visuals, but sloppy gameplay and issues ultimately sealed its fate: The crew at Blue Omega responsible for the game are out of work.

    Anyway, how come Dyack has popped up again? You can hear the entire gaming community groaning in unison whenever his name pops up.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. freedoms_stain

    This guy is a dumbfuck.

    If anything makes a game art it’s the gameplay. Music, narrative, visuals, they’re all art on their own, wrapping them together with gameplay makes it a game. And if the gameplay is shitty then what you have is an attractive shit game, and that is definitely not art.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. MushroomStamp

    This guy spews more crap than almost everyone except Romero. He should go back and fix Too Human.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Michael O'Connor

    Ironic how you guys respect Kojima then, considering nearly all of his game have been about story at the expense of gameplay for the last 15 years.

    Always easier to follow the crowd then form your own opinions, isn’t it?

    #16 5 years ago
  17. elronathon

    Who are ‘you guys’ anyway? I’m genuinely interested, is it really that easy to make generalisations?

    #17 5 years ago
  18. SunKing

    I was wondering the same thing, elronathon.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. MushroomStamp

    yeah, cuz I’m not a Kojima fan… I don’t really care for MGS, I prefer more gameplay and action.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Michael O'Connor

    “Who are ‘you guys’ anyway?”

    The ones on here who do support Kojima’s game, but lecture Dyack for his point. If you’re not a Kojima fan, you’re obviously not one of the people that’s referring to.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. Eregol

    @ Michael O’Connor
    At least Kojima’s games are actually good. Snake Eater and MGS1 are fantastic games where the gameplay and narrative were blended together beautifully.

    I wholeheartedly accept that MGS4 had more watch than play time, which is wrong.
    But no-one is going to play a game that isn’t fun to play just because it has a great story.
    I would say Too Human proved that, but the story sucked there.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    I can’t handle stealth games…

    MGS included.

    Can’t handle all the sneaking around when just getting a gun out and blasting everyone in the way would make more sense.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Enkeixpress

    Exactly. Graphics are everything, It’s what we see when we’re playing said games.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. SlayerGT

    I would love to know how many of you guys that are talking about MGS4, have actually played it. Because its sounds as though you havent.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. dirigiblebill

    Kojima’s cutscenes are stuffed with odd little snippets of interaction. Characterising them as “story at the expense of gameplay” is a tad harsh.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Dannybuoy

    Good excuse to make a shit game…

    #26 5 years ago

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