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68 comments

  • sandraudiga - March 17, 2012 7:47 p.m.

    The argument is very well presented, and has some very indisputable facts behind it, but be that as it may, there will always be people asking the medium to "grow up". And Mr. Groen is correct, they will be the artsy, semi-obsessive 2% that traffic websites like this, and there's nothing wrong with that. All mediums, even those that are losing their relativity are being asked to push the envelope by those that view the medium as an art-form. Painting enthusiasts do it, fans of literature do it, and so do film fanatics. The majority of the world may accept games as grown up, but just like other mediums, they'll still mature, just more slowly, and in less noticeable ways.
  • Andrew Groen - March 17, 2012 9:13 p.m.

    Thanks for the kind words. I think the "games need to grow up" crowd selectively focus on the most juvenile games rather than viewing the medium as a whole. Does film need to grow up because there are entire movies devoted to staring at tits (read: porn)?
  • Moondoggie1157 - March 18, 2012 6:43 a.m.

    I guess on a level I could be called that 2%... But, I don't focus on the juvenile games, in fact I hold them a bit higher than others due to the fact that they can be mature while keeping that juvenile, humorous nature. I would argue that any and all forms of creative media are still under going growth, from video games to painting (both are things I am serious about). Once a medium does fully grow up, I think it has lost all potential to become more. Let's enjoy the fact that these mediums still have not found a linear path that defines them. I really did enjoy this article though, regardless of whether or not someone agrees with it, the fact that it sparks these conversations proves its success, keep 'em coming Groen!
  • revrock - March 18, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    Good point and the answer is a solid no. Because people have been making dirty movies ever since movies could be made. There have been "mature games" since the 2600, too.
  • revrock - March 17, 2012 6:16 p.m.

    Bah... This is more a comment on the comments than the article (which was well presented) but why are we still batting around the whole "games as art" argument???? It is already settled (proven by my donation to the Smithsonian exhibit on the art of videogames) I gave because I frickin' love videogames and support them in every way I can. I could care less about "proving they are art anymore" that ship has sailed people! BTW I read 100 classic books on the DS and use Korg DS-10 plus twice a week in public (once for a synth-pop service and once for intro music at a heavy metal service in church)... Books, music, games, movies. The line has continually become less and less distinct and will continue to do so. The war is over, the bums lost!
  • Druupwnz - March 17, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    I've gotta agree with this completely, but I like to think that our hardcore niche market of gaming isn't entirely out of tricks, but will continue to grow and develop - I'd like to see it "mature" in article's terms. Also, respect to Mr. Groen for defending his point against all the naysayers and making it clear to people. Good article, sir.
  • Danomeon - March 17, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    I feel that gaming is certailny out of its adolescence as a form of media - we've got the basics nailed down and pretty clearly understand what we're trying to do as a medium. However, I feel like certain aspects of our medium (Specifically storytelling) are still undergoing some growing phases. I feel like there has been a lot of "growth" in gaming's storytelling recently with the introduction of games that tell their tales entirely through gameplay. Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead, Limbo, Journey, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and many others that I can't name here have pulled off telling an entire story without ever resorting to cutscenes. I think that using the assets of this medium (namely: the abilit to control what is going on in the piece of entertainment we are experiencing) can lead for games to have stories unlike anything else. we've certainly come a long way since the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era, where cutscenes were prettymuch expected from a game. Now games like Bioshock are commonplace where developers will try to tell their stories AS the player is playing. That wasn't all too common back then. I think we'll be looking back on gaming in this age many years down the road and be seeing a ton of similarities in terms of how we enjoy this form of entertainment. However, I beleive our perceptions of game storytelling will be very different. Just my personal opinion, especially considering this is all just speculation until the actual future comes. FUTUREEEEEE.
  • bilstar - March 17, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    Niiice article, enjoyed that. I believe gaming hasn't fully got ALL of its tricks and possibilities nailed down just yet... and hopefully it wont have any time soon. I think it will continue to evolve and change in a way that will see us or future generations look back on these times and think "they weren't quite there yet". But I do agree that gaming has passed it's "adolescent stage" and is existing on its own, without need to crib from the "older brother" of other media such as film (although its very free and welcome to do so) and such. More can be done, but it's going very nicely.
  • - March 17, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    Well said. I agree entirely.
  • revrock - March 17, 2012 6:21 p.m.

    Me too. Great points in the article. Add me to the list of people that "got it."
  • closer2192 - March 17, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    There are some games that are close to being real stories, and there are games that are little more than action with a lame narrative slapped over them. But why should games try to be like movies? These are two different mediums - one passive, where the audience experience is almost totally dictated by the writer/director/actor, whereas games are an interactive medium that combine what the creators make with the decisions of the players to create a kind of experience that movies cannot equal. Maybe games will never match movies/books in terms of story, but they can certainly provide an interactive experience that movies/books can't even begin to deliver.
  • - March 17, 2012 10:38 a.m.

    The article agrees with you 100%. It said that games have been humping film's leg for decades, and now that they've largely stopped doing that we're much better for it.
  • Moondoggie1157 - March 17, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    For the most part, I agree with DCSniper. It is openly accepted (I think) that modern film and literature has been dumbed down for the lowest common denominator, thus in turn dumbing down all those who read/view it (I'd go as far as to say that this is intentional). Why is it so hard to believe that video games have done the same thing? After all it is no longer an adolescent medium, right? There are definite examples of games which have broken this mold, Deus Ex:HR is the quickest that comes to mind (probably because I have it running) That was a game that invoked a strong response from me, emotional and intellectual. I know that the moral and ethical battle between human modification to acquire the sublime is nothing new, but it still made me think, at least long enough to forget games like CoD (which yes, I play for the zombies, shove it) or Halo. I see video games to be no more adolescent than film, they are both in the awkward stage of not knowing what they want to be, so they are still trying their hand at everything. They are both re-doing past games/films, and both trying to find their "roots". I know Groen doesn't like that comparison, but honestly? What other mediums are as closely related, visually, materially, and in terms of content? To argue the "big brother film" idea, It's not like video games had a choice to be closely compared and reminiscent of film, I think that was inevitable; They are too similar as mediums. To say that because gaming has escaped out of the shadow of film, it has grown into itself, well, I just can't buy that. Both mediums are going to emulate each other, and they do this more and more as time goes by, and because of this there is no "big brother" feeling, they both take from each other. Anywho, maybe I'm just spilling out trash here, but there are always going to be games that appeal to the masses and usually like Michael Bay films, we can call those the adolescent types of games if we want (Cod, Halo, Killzone, God of War). But, there are always going to be a smaller demographic of games that, even though sometimes silly (Shadows of the Damned, Bayonetta, Lollipop Chainsaw) show a spark of maturity, just for being so damn original and well made. You could compare these to the old Tarantino films. Games like Deus Ex, MGS, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy (just for storytelling and graphical advancement) are going to be considered the "Grown ups". They are no better, quality wise, but they are more mature content-wise. Compared to the "Bay-ish" games, they will always be a minority. That's just the way it is, with any medium. It is easier to appeal to the masses because, well masses of people are pretty dumb. "A person is smart, but people are dumb" - I can;t remember where I heard that. Are we waiting for a specific linear direction for games to run before they are considered "grown up"? I don't think so, gaming is the grown up, who hasn't let go of its childhood creativity and imagination, and that's a good thing. Sorry if that made no sense, it did in my head. Deal with it.
  • lilbuddha - March 17, 2012 6:15 a.m.

    Story about gaming "growing up" No correlation made to industry becoming more about the money than the actual money (which could easily have been wrapped up in the movie industry comparison) No mention that these games "going back to their roots" isn't because gamers wanting that, but that there are millions of new gamers becoming part of the market / People are too stupid to play a complex video game. The mass popularity of video games has done exactly what it did to movies...hold back the format from growing for another 10, 20, 30 years...
  • lilbuddha - March 17, 2012 6:15 a.m.

    *more about the money than the actual game
  • reach110 - March 17, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    I agree with you entirely. Why else would Avatar have been re-released so quickly after it initially came out? Why else would Titanic be getting the 3D treatment. And let's be honest, why did Halo Anniversary come out? At some point, every art form becomes a business, and we've reached that period with gaming.
  • - March 17, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    This is so wrong on so many levels. "Stupidity" of modern gamers"? So they're stupid just because they like a different style of game than you do? Absolute, ridiculous nonsense. Your definition of "Gamers" in this mini-rant is limited to "people who like the same games as me." Get over it, Farmville players are gamers.
  • lilbuddha - March 18, 2012 2:09 a.m.

    Watch some of the Daniel Floyd videos on game design and you'll start to get a concept of real games, and "games" like Farmville.
  • CitizenWolfie - March 17, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    Really good article, very much enjoyed it. And I've got to say, I am pretty happy generally with gaming as it is (except DLC but that's another matter). It seems that games have become much more accepted now in mainstream culture. It's no longer a "geeky" thing and so long as games such as Farcry, Portal, Bioshock, LA Noire and Heavy Rain (to name just a few) exist I find it so much easier to justify gaming when defending it against the Thompsons and Titchmarshes of this world. But even for all those great games, you have things like Lollipop Chainsaw come along and I really would have trouble arguing that games have already grown up. It's a good job those sort of games stay relatively unknown as it'd kill any point I could make about gaming being a "respectable" medium. And before I get the fanboys raging, I'm not saying that LC is (or is going to be) a bad game - enjoy whatever you like. I mean that it's sort of like saying British newspaper journalism is serious business when we have big pictures of boobs of the third page.
  • taokaka - March 17, 2012 5:59 a.m.

    Lollipop chainsaw will be a master of narrative, it will single handedly end the argument of whether games are art by making games the only form of art. But in all seriousness LC looks great and I have to disagree with that it's good these sorts of games are unknown, just what exactly do you mean "those sorts of games"?
  • CitizenWolfie - March 17, 2012 9:10 a.m.

    I mean unknown in the sense of having a small fanbase compared to other games. For instance, Vanquish, Shadows of the Damned, No More Heroes, MadWorld are all good games and the people who bought them love them to bits - Those sort of games. They aren't afraid to be a bit crude with a cock joke or two. It's not good that they're unknown in terms of sales, I agree it sucks when good games don't get recognised. However I could shout about "Games as Art" from the rooftops but my argument is fucked if someone brings up the fact that Shadows of the Damned has a character/weapon called Boner. Or even worse... Madworld's Black Baron! I mean in that sense, it's a good job ignorant video game bashers don't know about "those sort of games" as it'd just fan the flames.
  • - March 17, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    Take heart, CitizenWolfie. Just because something is a little juvenile or stupid has nothing to do with whether or not the medium is art. People make this mistake a lot. They point to Soul Calibur's copious boobs as evidence games aren't grown up. That's as big of nonsense as saying film isn't grown up because of the jerk-off frat comedy I watched on Netflix. It's not the subject matter that counts. Shakespeare made a ton of dick jokes. Anybody who says games are infantile because of stuff like that isn't giving them a fair shake. Look at the best games have to offer, and there's your answer. Journey, Far Cry 2, Dear Esther etc. The medium is incredibly sophisticated.

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