A little while back Format Magazine interviewed a few people from various gaming sites about gaming
. They asked some really interesting questions and then publshed our responses. You may have read it when Jim [url =http://www.destructoid.com/format-does-a-videogame-feature-our-boy-chester-does-us-proud-110593.phtml]posted about Nick doing it[/url]. They kind of edited down our responses and because of my inability to type single paragraph responses plenty of mine were cropped out, especially on what I thought were the more interesting questions. Anyway, I thought I did a pretty good job responding and figured maybe some other people might want to read the answers. Actually getting to do an interview about games was pretty much a dream come true, and then finding out that I was questions alongside the
Nick Chester pretty much blew my mind.
So for the full interview read on:
Format: What's the difference between an art game and a game with good art?
Woh. OK, now you’re asking some deep questions here. On the surface of it a game with good art is simply a game that looks pretty. A graphically powerful game can be the prettiest thing we’ve ever seen but that doesn’t make it an art game nor does it make it art. An “art game” is a game that is art. What I mean by that is that, like all other forms of art, it challenges our perceptions and displays something worth seeing. An art game is a game that has meaning beyond the gameplay and looking good and tells us something about ourselves or the world around us. A game with good art simply looks good an art game does good.
Digging a little deeper though you get into an argument about if gaming can be art at all because of the interactivity of the medium. Obviously this has been up for debate for a while and while I come firmly down on the side of videogames being art not all games are art. However, a game with good art is art because it has taken creativity and work to create that art, but an art game is also art because it is creating a message and also requires thought and creativity. The two can easily overlap and be one and the same. So while game’s with good art and games that are art are different they are both still art.
Format: Between 2D and 3D art, what is more condusive to artistic games and why?
As explained above it depends on what type of game you’re talking about. The simple answer is that it doesn’t matter what kind of art it is as long as the game is creating a message and presenting it to the gamer. If you’re discussing an art game it doesn’t matter what it looks like but how it does what it does. It’s the message not the style that matters in a game like this and thus the graphics need to actually be condusive to the game whether that be 2D or 3D.
Now, if we are discussing games that are artistically good looking than I would argue 2D, simply because it gives a closer representation to what we are use to calling art. 3D graphics cab be beautiful and highly artistic but when we look at something in 2D it becomes far closer to what we as a society perceive as art. Thus at the moment I would say that 2D gaming is more condusive to artistic games.
Format: To what extent do graphics matter in gaming?
I’m just going to put on a broken record that says “depends on the game” over and over again. The flat out answer here is that they don’t matter at all. What matters is the story, gameplay, mechanics and whether or not the gamer enjoys themselves or is challenged (physically or emotionally) by the game. Some of the most emotionally powerfully game’s I have ever played have been in 8-bit graphics. Looking at the grand scheme of things it matters not how great the graphics are or how many pixels are crammed into every character.
That being said some things are just better with better graphics. I just got through playing Dead Space for instance, and while the game would have been a blast without the high end graphics that were present it was better because of them. Graphics don’t make a game good they can just make it better. Dead Space was scarier because it had better graphics, but it still would have been scary and fun to play had it come out with less impressive ones. On the other side the graphics in Super Mario Galaxy were fantastic but I wouldn’t say they made the game better, it was all about the gameplay there. So it really depends on the game itself and what it is trying to accomplish. In some games great graphics matter, but there are no games where they are absolutely necessary.
Format: To what extent does your passion for gaming affect the way you dress?
Phew, back to the simple questions. The only way my passion for gaming affects the way I dress is by the fact that I have some shirts that are related to gaming. It hasn’t made me sloppier or messier and if I do say so myself I’m a very good dresser. I game, I represent, but it doesn’t dominate my wardrobe.
Format: Do gamers have a 'look'?
Not anymore. Maybe at some point, when gaming just started, there was a gamers look, but asking this question now is like asking “Do people who watch movies have a look?” or “Do people who read books have a look?” The answer is no. Everyone does these things and everyone plays games. The difference in fashion tastes between me and my gaming friends is vast to say the least. Some dress just like me and others prefer a more punk slant. There is absolutely, positively no look to gamers.
Format: If you could make over a video game character, who would it be and why?
Sonic, Sonic, Sonic! The poor blue hedgehog has gone from being one of the most bad ass characters in gaming to a parody of himself. He use to be cool and now he’s just lame. He hasn’t updated since he was created and looks like a joke next to more modern game characters no matter how child directed they seem. I’d love to have Sonic get a total make over that improves his character (and his games) a bit. Hopefully the upcoming Sonic Unleashed will deal with a few of his current problems.
Format: What console had the best brand image and why?
I can tell you what console has the worst brand image. That would be the PS3. Sony has fallen and they didn’t do it gracefully they just fell as fast and as hard as they could. Before the PS3 Sony could do no wrong, now their system often looks like an expensive paperweight. As for the best brand image it depends on if you’re talking to the hardcore crowd or not. Most “hardcore” gamers would tell you that the Wii sucks and is for kids, despite plenty of evidence to contradict this and thus the 360 would have a better brand image. On the flip side most other gamers would tell you that the 360 is nothing but FPS shooters and bloody games, despite evidence to the contrary, and thus the Wii has the best brand image.
However, if you were taking a poll today I would have to say that the Wii comes out on top. They’re everywhere and everyone loves them, even the grumpy gamers sitting in the back row complaining that everyone is now crowding in on their past time.
Format: What video game character has the best style?
Man, that is tough. I’ve always been a fan of overalls and a plumber’s cap, but I can hardly say that that is good style – it’s just unique style. I love the lack of clothing on most female fighters in games but once again that’s not very stylish. Wait, I’ve got it: Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. Not only was he obsessed with looking cool but one of the side-quests was to collect some of the most badass t-shirts I’ve ever seen. Plus, if you want to talk about a game that is art without having the best art there’s a perfect example right there. The bad art was actually part of the game’s statement!
Format: What games should we be looking forward to in the following year?
How much space do we have? I mean looking a year down the road is dangerous stuff. I’ll assume you want us to skip over the 2008 holiday season and dive right into 2009, which is hard because all the big games launch in the next few months. Let’s see we’ve got MadWorld, Killzone 2, Alan Wake, House of the Dead: Overkill, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Ninokuni, Mario and Luigi RPG 3, Wolfenstein, Splatterhouse, Faith and a .45, Doom 4, Call of Duty 6, Bionic Commando, Street Fighter 4, Halo Wars… this list goes on forever and I was just pulling out a few I could think off the top of my head. Every year in game is full of awesome games and disappointing let downs, that’s one of the best parts of being a gamer; there is just so much to look forward to.