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Artistry

This entry was posted on Feb 25 2011

Today, Anthony brought to my attention two things:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2794-An-Open-Letter-to-EA-Marketing

and

A Philosophy that Extends Eastward: Social Games Zynga-Style

After reading and watching these, I couldn’t help but think of my friend Begoña, whose father hand-makes flamenco guitars.
Stuart Mewburn Guitar

I am sure many (or both of you) are wondering what on earth does this have to do with gaming?

Extra Credit’s open to letter to EA complains that EA is pulling the medium of gaming backwards into the realm of juvenile fantasy. In a sense, Extra Credits feels that EA is turning gaming into this:
Ancient Lyre

Sure, this thing may be easy to construct, neat looking, and even fun to play…for awhile, but it is not going to have the complexity a guitar brings. The same is true with gaming.

In the Gamasutra interview, Andy Tian talks about bringing metrics to the forefront for determining game design, and downplays the importance of creativity and artistry. In guitar terms, what is he talking about is kind of like tablature:
Guitar Tablature

This may be technically correct, but its not music, and, by its own admission, isn’t art. You do not get innovation or anything exciting from playing the same song again and again. Sure, it’s fun at first, and doing it well does lead to a certain sense of accomplishment, but if a player doesn’t do anything new, eventually they lose interest. It takes being able to create your own thing, or having something new put before you in order to maintain interest.

The other thing is that games are a medium of not just craftsmanship, but of art. Both have incredibly important roles. With art alone, all you get is something neat looking, and with craftsmanship alone, you only get functionality and lose innovation. Games are a medium that require both to work hand in hand with one another in order to create something spectacular, and when you do that, you get this:
Stuart Mewburn Guitar

Something that is not only functional, and not just beautiful, but versatile and teeming with possibilities.

-James-

(pics courtesy of Stuart Mewburn Guitars, Clinton-wi.com, and Paul Smyth Guitars)

About jkempf


James Kempf, CEO of Cliché Studio, has made two games for Mercury Retrograde Press, learned from managing the comics at Criminal Records that John Stewart is the best Green Lantern, and once happily played a 12 ft. dwarf in Rifts.