God of War’s David Jaffe rants about pretentious video games. Again

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David Jaffe, designer of PlayStation favourites God of War and Twisted Metal is an outspoken man. Recently, he made headlines for comparing Sony’s PSP successor, the NGP, to female genitalia. He’s also moaned about pretentious game developers who insist on trying to deliver high art instead of making video games what they should be – fun.

Now he’s having another go at the pretention found in the videogame industry – this time at game journalists who pander to pompous pretention of deluded developers.

Speaking about more mature themes in gaming in a blog post, Jaffe said

“These are all surface elements that – while challenging as anything else in games to produce well – do not speak to the maturation of the medium one iota. I’m tired of seeing gamers – and game journalists especially – falling for this. Game journalists of all people need to be calling us developers out on our smoke and mirrors bullshit”

“If we really want to get to the top of the mountain we have to be honest about the current state of the ‘art’. Just because your game wears the trappings of relevancy does not make it relevant.”

He explained it all by saying that if developers are continually, and unrealistically lead to believe that their favoured medium is at the pinnacle of high art, they’ll believe it; and there’s little reason to strive further.

“The very nature of something being artistic and important means that – except in rare cases – its power is evident without anyone having to tell you that it is,” he added. And the sooner the people who write about games for a living start reporting on this angle of the story, the sooner us developers will be forced to shit or get off the pot.”

Responding to comments, Jaffe justified his thought process :

“Tell us game makers we’ve arrived and before you know it, we’ll think we really have (some of us already do),” he said.

“As will the fans and the press. But we really haven’t arrived at all and it all just seems like this bullshit, backroom, secret-handshake kind of club where we tell the press how important and meaningful we’ve become in order to stroke our own egos, and then the press (SOME, certainly not all) goes off and writes about how important games have become in order to convince themselves they are doing important work and not ‘just’ writing about the number of guns in the latest shooter or the size of the levels in a hit game’s expansion pak.”

I can’t help but think of Braid creator Jonathon Blow reading Jaffe’s comments. While I loved the hell out of Braid and its mind-blowing time-warping mechanics, its narrative, such as it is, is a load of pretentious waffle. Great game, but it didn’t really need to be an allegory on the development of the atomic bomb (or your favoured “deeper” explanation) did it?

Source : PS Beyond

Last Updated: March 14, 2011

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