From a recent book review at The New York Times:
If photographs are â€œexperience captured,â€ in Susan Sontagâ€™s phrase, then video games are experience created. The medium can be so engaging, so addictive â€” Bissell compares playing games to his time using cocaine â€” that many game makers get away with fiction that makes Stephenie Meyer â€œlook like Ibsen.â€ A novel or a movie that is poorly written is relatively easy to abandon. Well-designed games that feature bad writing â€œdo not have this problem,â€ Bissell notes. â€œOr rather, their problem is not having this problem.â€
The book in question is “Extra Lives” by Tom Bissel. It’s an interesting thought – that games can be so engaging, even when some elements of them are lacking. What’s more interesting – the thought of what games will eventually become – an experience so engaging and immersive that “escape” from them won’t be possible. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
The guys over at gaming community/news site “We The Gamers” are running a contest called “Week of Extreme Violence”. As part of the violent fun they’re discussing violence in video games, giving away some cool prizes, and just being “violent” – just like video games taught them!
It amazes me still when mainstream press pays so much attention to “violence in games”. Every time I see the concept mentioned I want to mail a copy of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” to the naive reporter. It’s not that violence is necessarily good, always necessary, or to be encouraged – but it almost always contains lessons, even when it might be labeled “pointless”. But hey – why read my blathering on the subject when you could head over to We The Gamers’ Forums and blather on about it yourself?!
The Spicy Horse Logo
Brian Ashcroft from Kotaku has presented a really great interview with me and a few others from Spicy Horse. It details the history of my move to China, the formation of Spicy Horse, and our vision of the future of games in China. From the article,
It was 2007, and China was buzzing â€” with optimism and energy. “Chinese contemporary society is like a whirlwind,” says McGeeâ€™s business partner and art director, Ken Wong. “It seems to have changed in 10 years as much as America has in the past 40.” McGee and Wong, started boutique studio dubbed â€œSpicy Horseâ€ or â€œMa La Maâ€ in Chinese. Initially, they worked out of their homes on an island off the Hong Kong coast. “We moved into some really low-rent warehouse space in Shanghai upon our initial landing in the mainland,” says McGee. “From there we moved a few more times, ever growing the company, taking on more people, and evolving the culture.”
Be sure to check out the full article.
Many thanks to Brian for crafting such a cool article. And thanks to Kotaku readers for supporting interesting interviews like this 🙂