David Jaffe criticizes media praise for 'art' games

11:00 AM on 03.14.2011

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

David Jaffe, ever a man after my own heart, has slammed the praise that people pour on "art" games. He claims that most art games aren't as compelling as people pretend, and focusing on them only serves to devalue the medium. 

"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.

As David Jaffe says, it's "smoke-and-mirrors bullshit" and I'm glad some people can see that.

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