I’ve decided to start a second blog, as not all of the readers of Black Book Project are gamers, I wanted to separate this.
There’s a lot of game critics out there, but I find the majority of them are focused on reviewing. They tell you if a game is good or bad, if you should buy and play it or not. These guys are vital, and I’m glad they’re out there, doing what they do.
But I’ve come to realize, I have the skills to help further the view on the medium of video games. We’re struggling, trying to show the world that video games are art, and not just toys for kids. As a medium it’s probably most closely related to movies; major productions that put out a single product after years of work.
No one assumes all movies are for kids. Movies that aren’t for kids are kept out of the hands of kids, but if, as an adult, I want an R rated movie, it takes a real extremist to say that shouldn’t be sold. We’re the generation that grew up with video games, and we still want to play them, and while more adult themed games are coming out. The problem is games have trouble exploring adult themes, whether ironically, exploitative or with honest appraisal, are seen as marketed for children.
Movies went through the same thing. They weren’t seen as art until a generation of critics, such as Roger Ebert, started talking about them as art. If we treat our games as art, if we hold up those that have artistic merit, explore and discuss them, we’ll start to change that view.
I know I’m not the first to do this. I just think I can contribute. I have a degree in English Literature, and it’s not like I’m doing anything more important with it right now than writing about video games. So I’ll mostly be looking at things like plot, characterization, themes, and literary concepts like that. I won’t generally go into graphics, or control, or sound, except when they add or detract from the more literary themes. I may mention them, but I won’t analyze them in the same depth.
There will be spoilers: If you’re concerned about spoilers, you won’t want to read the blogs on any of the games you haven’t played. I won’t be hiding information that I think is important. I’ll be revealing important plot points because if I’m treating games as literature, I need to go into the important parts.
I can only talk about what I’ve seen: Lots of games have multiple paths. If I don’t discuss them, I haven’t seen them. I encourage you, if you believe I’ve missed something important in my limited perspective, to comment and add it to the conversation. It matters.
Anything I say is open to debate: If we’re treating the medium as art, your view matters. Maybe not as much as mine, but it matters…
I’ll be talking about older games at times: I don’t generally play the newest, shiniest games. I’ll talk about the ones I think have something to say, and a lot of those may be two or twenty years old. I’ll still be talking about them.
Not all games are art in a literary sense: Not every movie is either. I like Army of Two. It’s fun, and I’ve played through it several times. The story, the dialogue, and the characters make me cringe every time. There’s value to the game, but not in a literary sense, and so if I bring it up here, I’ll probably be derisive.