Monday, June 25, 2007

'Tale of Tales' Contrasts Digital and Traditional Games

Michaël Samyn of Tale of Tales lists ten ways in which computer games differ from traditional ones. "We believe," he writes, "that only the exploitation of these unique properties will lead to the maturity of the medium."

I don't agree with a number of his points, but he provides some interesting ideas. Here are a couple you may enjoy reading:

5. An artistic medium
Some people try to defend games as an age-old art form. But this is not a widespread belief. Games have their function in society but they are generally not considered very high on the cultural ladder. Computer games are different. They have an enormous impact on their users. They can lead to life-changing events. What we experience in computer games, stays with us, becomes engraved in our memory, becomes part of who we are.

[...]

7. Aesthetics are more important than systems
You can play a perfectly satisfactory game with a few rocks and some sticks. It’s the activity of manipulating those objects that constitutes the experience. But computer games have such a strong desire for beauty, that they are one of the main driving forces behind the technology of the century. Hardcore gamers may pretend that the looks of a game don’t matter to them, but you won’t find many Halo-owners playing Wolfenstein3D. We want our games to be pretty so much that competition in an entire industry is based almost exclusively on how beautiful the products are.

Tale of Tales makes the enchanting micro-world The Endless Forest, an artistic online environment where each user is represented by a deer. Tale of Tales has used this space as a performance tool, most recently in celebration of the summer solstice.

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