Nocturnal Omissions: art game trailer forgets to be interesting (surprise)

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 WHOOPS: the trailer isn’t loading.  Troubleshooting now…

 A link to this trailer for the game “Night Journey” was sent to Ectomo a few days ago, by faithful Ectomite, kid icarus. Paraphrasing his email would castrate its enthusiasm, so I include it here:

I heard a rumor this weirdness was coming to PS3. Reminds me of Ico, so for the monstertrucking* sake of the elder gods, I hope it’s true. Regardless, enjoy the possibility.

 p.s. I love you freaks!

kid icarus

Thanks, kid. But I must admit to a certain dubiousness. After watching as much of the above trailer as I could stand, I was no closer to understanding exactly what about it excited you, and drove you to the bizarre comparison with the prestigious Ico. Ico was indeed an artful game, but it was not purely purposed with being an artwork, as Night Journey seems to be.

To be fair, I have not played Night Journey, and there are plenty of instances of horrible trailers doing their products a disservice. But come on.

 Hit the jump to hear more chin-stroking speculation about the nature of art and video games.  Again.


This brings up the troubled marriage between art, games, artists, and gamers: if a game is meant to be artful, it almost always ends up boring, aggravating, or both. Why? The exceptions to this are famous: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, blah blah blah. You don’t need to read that list ever again; I know you know it by heart and rattle it off at cocktail parties to skeptical non-gamers, sweet readers.

I get the impression that the artists who work in the embryonic medium of art-games fear that the presence of Fun Itself will invalidate the statement they’re attempting to make. The act of play is considered non-serious and non-educational. This is a baffling error in judgment, and can be demonstrated as such by simple observation: kittens practice hunting and fighting by stalking and tussling with their littermates. The US Army trains soldiers for combat by putting them on a well-designed first-person shooter. Children create games of the things they want to learn and aspire to become: astronaut, artist, unicorn queen, video game blogger. These things are the very definition of “serious games”, and they act as marathon training for the brain.

Need I remind you that the brain is a muscle? Video games are a targeted workout.

So I maintain that triggering Fun Itself should be considered an artform. If it were easy to make a fun game, we’d never have to deal with games like Lair**. I touched on this issue briefly before, in “Games are not supposed to be fun”, and I’m going to keep saying it until the day I see public opinion shift, or I’m able to buy a stately pleasure dome on Mars. Whatever comes first.

* Cussin’ removed, because if Dtoid gets an AO rating I’m out of a job.

** Shame on me, I haven’t even played it.

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