Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Monday, January 29, 2007

Slamdance/Super Columbine Fallout On New York Times

Kellee Santiago, part of the U.S.C. team that made flOw, a sort of New Age Pac-Man that was among those pulled from the competition, said: “It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that games still are not considered a valid creative medium. It’s like saying that games aren’t allowed to cover serious subjects, and if you do, you must be doing something tasteless.”

To Mr. Baxter, though, it’s not that simple. “Games really are potentially a far more powerful medium that film, aren’t they?” he said while sitting at the Morning Ray Cafe just a few feet from the underpopulated gaming room. “In films you play a more passive role. You’re sitting back looking at something. Because of the role-playing aspect, games literally take the level of our participation to a whole other level. You are actively engaged in the outcome of your actions. Games are going to affect us in different ways, in ways we don’t fully understand yet.”

As he sipped his coffee, Mr. Baxter then said exactly what he had studiously avoided saying for two weeks: “Absolutely, games should be judged by a different criteria than film. I just don’t accept a direct comparison.”
-- Video Game Tests the Limits. The Limits Win.

The Times also goes into details about the finalists who withdrew and mentions that Sam Roberts and the attendees have voted not to issue any awards this year.

Baxter certainly isn't winning any points with me (not that he has to) by pulling out a Thompson-like "games are too powerful a medium" excuse. The notion that simply because games are participatory justifies a much, much harsher level of "acceptable art" smells of cowardice to me. It screams of "we don't really understand this medium - so maybe it should just keep playing Space Invaders".

In other words, did Baxter, in part, pull Super Columbine because he bought into a BatJack "Columbine Times Ten" scenario?

If so, maybe Slamdance should stick to movies. I'm willing to accept that as different mediums - games and film might not utilize the same basic concepts of judging them. That just makes sense. But Baxter seems to be suggesting that games have a much higher moral obligation than a purely visual medium. That they need to "play it safe" because they are so powerful.

What kind of art contest is that?

tagged: ,

No comments: