Can games learn from 19th century art?

Katherine Cross has written a wonderful opinion piece at Gamasutra grounding some philosophies of game development in the movements of art history:

What made Caillebotte’s work unsettling to those already disdainful of the Impressionist wave was that unlike his contemporaries, Caillebotte was showing how old methods could be used to tackle new subjects in a stunningly expressive way. None of Monet’s hazy studies in color for him, nor Seurat’s pointillist moods; he painted modern Paris as if he were painting a Greek god.

What does this have to do with game design? Consider the fact that the methods and visions of games like Journey, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Gone Home, Sunset, and Dear Esther all use tools derived from the “triple-A,” big-budget market—the domain of tradition-bound games—to tell new stories about new people, in the process creating something stunningly different.

Cross writes at length about how independent game developers have done interesting things in smaller games by using the creative techniques and tools of some “higher-end”, bigger game-makers, just like some avant-garde impressionists once did. It’s particularly useful to compare the arc of game development to that of art history, since this field, being both young and insular, tends to have a short memory, frequently re-treading the same lessons.

Read the full column here.

Categorised as: interesting

Posted by: Morguitainne

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