Jaffe: Call developers out on artistic pretension

Monday, 14 March 2011 05:23 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Twisted Metal and God of War designer David Jaffe has said developers, gamers and especially games journalists should stop pandering to gaming’s artistic pretensions, so the industry is forced to “shit or get off the pot”.

“These are all surface elements that – while challenging as anything else in games to produce well – do not speak to the maturation of the medium one iota,” Jaffe wrote in a blog post, speaking of mature themes and post-modern aesthetics.

“I’m tired of seeing gamers – and game journalists especially – falling for this. Game journalists of all people need to be calling us developers out on our smoke and mirrors bullshit.

“If we really want to get to the top of the mountain we have to be honest about the current state of the ‘art’. Just because your game wears the trappings of relevancy does not make it relevant.”

Jaffe explained that giving gamers and developers an unrealistic sense of the medium’s achievement is like telling a child their art couldn’t be improved – encouraging complacency.

“The very nature of something being artistic and important means that – except in rare cases – its power is evident without anyone having to tell you that it is,” he added.

“And the sooner the people who write about games for a living start reporting on this angle of the story, the sooner us developers will be forced to shit or get off the pot.”

Responding to comments, Jaffe went on to explain his chain of thought.

“Tell us game makers we’ve arrived and before you know it, we’ll think we really have (some of us already do),” he said.

“As will the fans and the press. But we really haven’t arrived at all and it all just seems like this bullshit, backroom, secret-handshake kind of club where we tell the press how important and meaningful we’ve become in order to stroke our own egos, and then the press (SOME, certainly not all) goes off and writes about how important games have become in order to convince themselves they are doing important work and not ‘just’ writing about the number of guns in the latest shooter or the size of the levels in a hit game’s expansion pak (sic).”

Thanks, PS Beyond.

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