“Oh, Boy” Part 1: In Defense of Attacking Spielberg

Well, that escalated quickly.

All right. Let’s take it from the beginning. Yesterday, I wrote an article titled Lucas and Spielberg: Games Can’t be Art . I was kind of satisfied. I was hoping some of the jokes were decent, and I kind of thought that there was a point in there, somewhere.

Right. Let’s just skip to the end: Lots of people read (saw) the article. It actually went kind of viral. Some people liked it, some people didn’t, and a lot of people thought it was a serious news piece. Even fairly serious gaming news sites thought it was the real deal, which is really weird given that I link to the actual article in case anyone would go as far as looking for a source. However, let me just set everything straight for the record and tell you what’s real and what’s not.

1. Lucas and Spielberg did in fact host a panel debate some time ago, but at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, not at an independent film festival they had dedicated to themselves. (They’re not THAT self-absorbed, yet)

2. Spielberg did say that he thought the controller was a problem for games as an art form. He actually said “The second you get the controller something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport.” Pretty much every other quote he did in fact not say.

3. They did say they thought Kinect could help gaming overcome the challenge of the controller.

So, when I wrote the article/lame blog post, I wanted to do a couple of things:

1. Make the point that these two have their territory: Film. Spielberg has indeed tried his luck with games in the past. Boom Blox being the most recent example of this, if I’m not mistaken, so I wanted to poke a little fun at this attempt.

2. Make the point that there are definitely artistic experiences in the gaming world. Lucas and Spielberg might not deny this, but making a broad claim like ‘as soon as you pick up a controller your brain is set to competition mode’ is just silly. I don’t know about Spielberg, but for me that simply is not the case. A good rebuttal of his argument would be a simple “no”.  Certainly, many games with artistic appeal have been very successful, so his notion hardly has any root in statistics. Hence the bogus quote “Studies on the human heart confirm this”. Naturally, there’s no such study, at least of which I’m aware.

3. Make fun of Kinect’s current position as an artistic medium. Let’s be honest, this is really not where the art games are at the moment, so I thought it was kind of weird that this kind of technology was being pointed out as the saviour of games as an art form. Maybe in the future, but right now we have very little else than Child of Eden, not much more. The indie scene, however, has conjured hundreds of art projects. I thought it’d be funny if Lucas had the experience a lot of us have come to relate to Kinect and still insisted that this was art.

4. Basically say “Who cares? Those two don’t know stuff.”

Did I expect all these points to reach the reader? Hell, no. However, they do motivate the satire. In other words, the points are in there somewhere. I do try not to make mindless jokes all the time. Only some of the time. I wanted my text to be humorous, light reading, I wanted to have some video game references in there and MAYBE make a point. Oh, and I wanted to start a debate. Which I actually did. Kind of.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you liked the article. Stay tuned for Pixeled Courier to get itself into more trouble (hence “part 1″)!

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