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Rockstar's Dan Houser hopes it's a long time before videogames are respected

10:00 PM on 01.28.2009 // Jonathan Holmes

In a recent interview with the The Telegraph, Dan Houser, writer of GTA IV, was asked if he thinks it'll be long before videogame writing is as respected as writing books or films. Dan responds, "I hope it's long. It's really fun at the moment because we're not in any Academy and the medium's not codified. There's no accepted way of doing anything so that give us enormous pleasure because we can make it up as we go along."

After reading the full article at least five times, I still don't get it. Does Mr. Houser think that if videogame writing becomes more respectable, then videogame writers won't be able to experiment as much? That makes so little sense that I can't help but feel that I must be misunderstanding him.

As novels, movies, and comic books gradually began to be perceived as "real" forms of art, they simultaneously gained acceptance as appropriate methods of storytelling for "serious" work. Before Maus won the Pulitzer, most people thought that comic books were only good for telling sci-fi/fantasy stories. After Maus won the Pulitzer, dramatic, reality-based comic books started popping up all over, with many gaining critical and financial success.

I mean, has Mr. Houser ever even heard of the ESRB, and how their lack of respect for gaming as a medium has led to so much needless censorship? Hasn't he noticed that the same content that gets a film an "R" rating tends to get a videogame an "AO," and that "AO" games are basically treated like they're as abhorrent and destructive as child pornography?

[Thanks to Joe Burling for the tip; I apologize for mentioning his name right after bringing up child pornography.]



Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
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