We Interrupt this GDC retrospective…

I still need to finish writing up my thoughts about GDC (assuming anyone still cares, given how much time has passed since the show!), but I had to get something out there first:

The latest online issue of The Escapist magazine includes an article by Brenda Braithwaite called “The Myth of the Media Myth.” It’s quite good, a nice, personal, but generalizable look at the way “normal people” and the media see us, see games and gamers.

My attitude toward the “Games are evil” dialogue is to ignore it as much as possible — I see “us” winning in the end, as the population of people who don’t play games…er…go away (as in, well, to be frank, age and, eventually, die off…). The enemies of games aren’t, by and large, kids — they’re not even young adults. The folks who fear games and their effect on society are older, non-gamers, and like similar populations of the past — anti-movie folks, anti-TV folks, anti-rock-&-roll folks — time passes, the older folks go away and the medium the kids love and adults hate becomes mainstream. Then something comes along that the erstwhile kids don’t understand and the up-and-coming kids love and the cycle repeats itself.

This is all a long way of saying, “Wait. Games will become mainstream. The grownups can’t kill the medium. Time heals all wounds.”

At least that’s my attitude.

Brenda’s article takes a somewhat different view of things and I strongly encourage you to check her article out. But, the thing that really go me going was Clint Hocking’s closing comments on the subect, which I quote here (apologies to Brenda for blowing the Big Idea with which she chose to close her essay). It’s Brenda talking about Clint talking about the anti-game folks and what he’d like to see happen with them:

Clint Hocking says what I didn’t think to say at dinner that night. “If I had a choice, I would want to include these distrustful folks in finding solutions. I would prefer it if they understood. I would prefer it if they could see the long sequence of events that is going to address their fears and create the medium they will inevitably love and participate in, whether they expect to or not.”

“What’s sad is that their ideological, ignorant, hostile, one-dimensional attitudes oversimplify one of the most beautiful problems in human history. It makes me very sad that many of these people will diefearing games. I would so rather include them, but they have to meet us in the middle or become sad, lonely, reclusive luddites.

“In the end, we will stamp them out if we have to, but it would be nicer if we all tap danced our way into the future together.”

Reading this, I felt kind of ashamed for counseling an ostrich-like approach to the situation when we could actually be doing something proactive to bring people into the fold. Damn, Clint’s a smart guy.

7 Responses to “We Interrupt this GDC retrospective…”

  1. Where the hell is this coming from Says:

    […] Même Warren Spector en parle sur son blog… quand je vous dit que cet article est bon! //OBSTART:do_NOT_remove_this_comment var […]

  2. JulianP Says:

    As much as I admire Clint, I prefer your ostrich-approach. Trying to get the pesky luddites to change their views is a wasted effort as far as I’m concerned.

  3. thephotoshopwhore Says:

    Isn’t the casual scene already halfway toward doing this? So many soccer-mums and secretaries who’s gaming experience does not extend past Solitaire are now Peggle addicts, Bookworm Adventurers and Sims aficionados. I think much of what we see as fear on their part is actually a misinterpreted lack of interest in the kind of games we put on such high pedestals. This demographic doesn’t want the latest shooter or epic role-playing game or mind boggling strategy experience but a more laid-back, easy and enjoyable gaming experience. We need to stop looking at what we want from games and applying it to them, and instead look at what they want from games and how we can apply it to our industry.

  4. dspair Says:

    Good afternoon, Mr. Spector,

    A few months ago you posted a link to one of the recordings from GDC discussion (Preserving Games: Saving the Past and Present Now (Day 1)), which I believe is as follows: https://www.cmpevents.com/GD08/a.asp?option=C&V=11&SessID=6405. Unfortunately, this link doesn’t work for me, it says that there’s a ‘Microsoft VBScript runtime error ‘800a000d”, so I can’t listen to the recording.

    This issue is very interesting for me, for it seems that there are really few people in the industry who actually think about problems of games preserving, and with such things as the development of new hardware and issues with backwards compatibility between old software and newer hardware, it’s getting more and more pressing as time goes by.

    I would like to listen to the recording, but I still can’t find the right link. Do you know if there is an alternative link to that recording? I would be very grateful for any information.

    Thank you so much for your blog and your games!

  5. paulpac Says:

    Hi Warren,

    I am making a game and would love to get some of your thoughts on it.

    It’s a basic flash game (similar to Tactical Assassin), but it’s going to have a lot of different game play aspects. I am thinking of ‘skills’ that can be reassigned mid game but can’t find a way to make it ‘click’ properly.

    If you have any suggestions, shoot me an email at paulmclaugh at gmail.

  6. hernaez Says:

    Hi Warren,

    I have been waiting for a while for the Master Class videos to pop up again and I was wondering if you knew what’s taking so long. I didn’t get to download ’em all and I find they very interesting and educational.

    my mail is dhernaez (blip) gmail
    Big Fan!

  7. Samuel Dane Says:

    Hi hernaez,

    You can download all the interviews via torrent. Just google “Warren Spector master class torrent” and you should find what you’re looking for.

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