A New Metric of Game Artistry

Not long ago, I declared Jeff Vogel one of my heroes. The man's quite good at what he does and although I personally think his games are vapid and boring, I celebrate what they represent to the general games industry.

He took a bit of a sabatical from blogging but recently picked it up and has had nothing but meaninglessness to say since. His latest post brings up a sore spot for me. Not because I give any more than zero damns about game critics or Grand Theft Auto or critics' opinions thereof but more because I think it's wrong that anybody does.

There are plenty of game critics/journalists/afficianados out there who ove to talk about culture, games, the artistic substance of games. The problem with the vast majority of them is that they are almost entirely focused on the characters, the stories, the themes, motifs, and the culture that surround games. They are not so interested in talking about the substance of the games themselves.

Just as Greg Tito does in his review of GTA5: babbling on about the narrative bits, the characters and depth the morality thereof. Not that these things shouldn't be considered in judging the appreciability of the game; just that it says nothing about the game's mechanics. It says nothing about the choice networks that the players navigate in every moment of the game as they play.

This is partly because the Grand Theft Auto series is a small amount of game stretched very thinly over a large amount of voice acting and nonsense. Without much gameplay, any attempts to review GTA must either be short or stray into topics other than the actual gameplay.

Games like Grand Theft Auto are not art. If I wanted to be generous, I'd just say they were terrible art. I wouldn't even go so far as to call Grand Theft Auto a game. It's more like a toy that also comes with a narrated story book. Like Teddy Ruxpin for criminals and sociopaths.

This is why I now propose a new metric for measuring the artistic quality of a game: A game's artfulness is inversely proportional to the amount of inane social commentary you find game journalists projecting onto it.

Go ahead and let me know how wrong I am.

Date: 2013-09-18 17:38

Author: Anthony "Ishpeck" Tedjamulia

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