Joy Versus Violence: When Child-Like Play is More Mature Than a Gruesome Gunfight
There's a gem of a post by Leigh Alexander up on Gamasutra today, and while it's rather lengthy anyone who found themselves a little uninspired by the guns, guts and goreshow at E3 last month should take the time to read. In it, Alexander presents the idea that the games with content labelled as "mature" may actually be more juvenile than the games that give us beauty, creativity and good old fashioned joy but get labelled as casual or kid-oriented.
Alexander's interview with fellow critic Michael Abbot was particularly interesting, and seems to crystallize a sentiment picking up steam among developers and consumers alike:
"What concerns me about the avalanche of shooters we see at E3 every year is the way they're showcased as the very best the industry can do," Abbott tells Gamasutra. "We’re told these are important groundbreaking games, but we can see for ourselves they aren't. This year the endless stream of violence felt more like pandering than ever, and I felt bored and alienated. And old. Every E3 is pitched to the same 14-year-old adolescent male as the one before. And every year I have less in common with that boy."
But why is grit and viscera often our primary way of proving our "adulthood?" Shouldn't the pleasure of play be ageless, independent of a particular domain? Says Abbott: "Ironically, as that 14-year-old seems to want ever more 'adult' and grisly games, I find myself yearning for more 'adult' games that enable joyful imaginative play. Violence in games feels played-out. I’m hungry for experiences that tap into other human impulses. I’m not offended by violence -- Suda 51 intrigues me because he explores and exploits violence in ways other designers don’t -- I just don’t find killing simulators very interesting anymore."
Don't miss Alexander's full article over on Gamasutra.Tweet
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.