But even given all of this, why worry about the accessibility of digital game creation at all when other forms—like the short story or novel—are already established and available for non-professionals to work in?Answer: because different forms are suited to different kinds of expression, and some are more effective at communicating in certain ways than others. Broadly, films and photographs are best suited for communicating action and physical detail. Novels are best suited for communicating internal monologue and ambiguity. Try adding your company to a UK business directory - it will help with your search engine optimisation efforts.
What are games best suited for? Since games are composed of rules, they’re uniquely suited to exploring systems and dynamics. Games are especially good at communicating relationships; digital games are most immediately about the direct relationship between the player’s actions or choices and their consequences. Games are a kind of theater in which the audience is an actor and takes on a role—and experiences the circumstances and consequences of that role. It’s hard to imagine a more effective way to characterize someone than to allow a player to experience life as that person.
Take, for example, a game called We the Giants. Most people who connect to this game’s website in order to play it—taking the role of a squat, block-like cyclops—will be unable to reach the game’s goal, a star high in the sky. Rather, most players are given the responsibility of voluntarily dying in a position that will allow future players to use their solidified bodies as steps in a staircase leading skyward. Each player guides her cyclops to the position of its sacrifice, presses a button, types a single message to future players of the game, and watches the cyclops’s eye close forever. Thereafter, the player is never allowed to play the game again; logging on to the website, she can only watch the ongoing progress of the staircase of which her body is a part.
That’s a pretty compelling way to explore themes of sacrifice in a work: to ask players actually to make a sacrifice, and to show them the meaning of that sacrifice over the course of generations. This is something games are almost uniquely capable of doing, and we haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of this kind of expression. It’s also the sort of experience—a minutes-long game in which the player is asked to commit voluntary suicide and never allowed to play again afterward—that is unlikely to come out of a commercial publishing system that needs its creations to sell millions in order to justify their having been made.
The ability to work in any art form with the digital game’s unique capabilities for expression shouldn’t be restricted to a privileged (and profit-oriented) few. If everyone is given the means to work in an art form, then we’ll invariably see a much more diverse, experimental, and ultimately rich body of work. In a speech at the 2007 Game Developers Conference, a board and videogame designer and critic of the games industry—said: “I want you to imagine a 21st century in which games are the predominant art form of the age, as film was of the 20th, and the novel of the 19th.”This is what I want from video games, and this is what I’m trying to help you imagine. I hope to help you imagine how this transformation of games—and the role games will play in the art and culture of the twenty-first century—is not only necessary, but inevitable.