Thursday, October 27, 2011

Games As Art: PBS Off Book

Just a quick post to share this sweet video that I found over on Kotaku. It's the latest in a series called "Off Book" by PBS Arts, and it features a number of people in the video game industry talking about why they see video games as an artistic medium. They raise some interesting points, particularly about the meaning of interaction and emotional inspiration, that are great contributions to the ongoing debate about games as art. Plus they describe Portal in a way that I completely hadn't considered but that is so interesting it makes me want to go back and play that incredible game all over again for the umpteenth time. That alone would make the video worth posting, but here it's just a minor point in the larger discussion.

One thing in the video I found particularly interesting was the description of the Jason Rohr's game Passage. The basic gist is that the game presents a world that you are free to explore, but only for a short time before your character dies; in that time you can get a partner who explores with you, but eventually dies shortly before you do. The concept and execution are simple and yet the game invites an emotional reaction by emphasizing a sense of the impermanence and unimportance of human existence. This use of interactivity to present an emotional concept is an elegant demonstration of the potential/truth of games as art, and demands further investigation. I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy of Passage, it sounds like a short but worthwhile experience/experiment.

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