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Blood Type

posted Mar 14, 2011, 9:56 PM by Jake Spencer
...or how "B-Positive" can some times "B-Negative."

Okay, obtuse wordplay aside, let's talk about the writing on this page - it doesn't paint the most flattering picture of the video game industry. There is a part of my mind that often reminds me, "Hey - you'd like to get paid to make games. Be careful what you say."

It's a legitimate point. At the same time, I strongly believe in progress. I'm not a fan of cynicism, arrogance, or undue rudeness. I don't pick fights for fun. I don't bite the hand that feeds me. I believe in honesty, though, and sometimes that means pointing out the messes that are all around you.

And in the video game industry, messes are all around us. There's so much to love about this field, but if you tell me we don't have serious problems, you're either ignorant or a liar.

Negativity is good, but only if it is constructive and has a purpose. If that purpose is the betterment of my field, then I will be negative. I don't think my stance is hard to understand or defend, but it does need to be directly stated.

Nick Lowe and Bill Shakespeare would both agree - sometimes, you gotta be cruel to be kind.

That's obvious, but what's less often acknowledged (but equally true) is the inverse: Being too kind can be cruel. Here's a recent quote from gamemaker David Jaffee:

"Adults and kids are- in many ways- not that different when it comes to maintaining their motivation. So If I tell one of my daughters- whose current obsession is learning to draw a photo realistic unicorn/Pegasus hybrid- that her art is perfect and her image looks like a photo realistic magical horse AND if this is NOT ACTUALLY TRUE (and instead I only wish that it were true), then am I really helping my daughter? Am I really respecting her? Am I really DISRESPECTING the craft of art, in both the medium and long term? Because best case- assuming she cares what I think- and I think she does :)- she'll think she's a better artist than she really is and lose some of her ambition. WORST case my lie will make her think she's achieved her goal when she really hasn't, and she'll no longer want to improve at drawing. It's not that different when it comes to the 'games as art' issue."

To put it succinctly, Jaffee is sick of the overstated, damaging praise that's been dumped on pretentious art games, and I'm with him.

Of course, as the lengthy quote above would suggest, there's nothing succinct about Jaffee's rant, and I suggest reading it all. Turns out that dude loves pizza!