Thursday, 2 February 2017

The sequel to "Homogeny"

Some of you may be aware that I recently released the game "Homogeny", which a few people seemed to enjoy. Seeing as I have an inability to not constantly have a project running, I've got a sequel in progress, named "Banality".

Unsurprisingly, this is in the same vein and art style as its predecessor. Devoid of particularly interesting mechanics, but saturated in analytical value and artistic expression.

Hmm.

I was going to continue this post with an explanation of Homogeny's themes, maybe detailing some of my influences, maybe even an early screenshot of Banality.

I'll leave that for another day.

This post is now about my view on artistic expression in video games.


"Artistic Expression" in Video Games

Followers of my work might have realized by now that I am one of the strongest subscribers to the idea that video games are art, perhaps to a fault. 

I say "to a fault" because the games I have produced so far have been primarily walking simulators - not very marketable to most. Of course, games like Proteus or even Dear Esther have been successful, and to varying degrees have earned their successes. 

The games I have and will continue to create are saturated in cryptic interpretations and messages, some more obscure than others, as anyone who has played Homogeny or Yet Another Puzzle Game can attest to.

The question most worthy of debate, "How much of this avant-garde bullshit artistic saturation is too much?"

First, let's explore the term "artistic saturation" and what I mean by this. I am referring specifically to the kind of avant-garde bullshit cryptic messages and implications that are placed in certain video games.

A fairly popular example is that of Bloodborne, which is highly inspired by H.P Lovecraft's work, and unsurprisingly shares the theme of demonization of humanity. 

In Bloodborne, this is conveyed by the ways the beasthood curse is explored -- exact examples of this are left as an exercise to the reader, in part because I don't want to spend half of this post talking about Bloodborne and in part because I believe the game is best interpreted by the individual on a very personal basis.

The most interesting part of the question are the words "too much".

What exactly defines "too much" artistic saturation? Is it when the mechanics of the game are compromised for the art's sake?

Surely, the reverse situation is just as unacceptable - this leads us into a terrible paradox, where neither can coexist. 

Maybe it's not about compromise of other components of the game. Maybe it's instead about its accessibility to the players?

This comes down to the game's purpose. If the game is designed to be mass-marketable and should be accessible to its players, then this becomes a consideration. However, if the game is made by a small hobby indie team, it has no obligation to be mass-marketable, assuming they are not financially dependant on it. 

Ultimately, it seems that there is no such thing as "too much". What a pleasant result, given that the way I develop games is nearly Souls-like in the way it tells a story or narrative while rarely directly divulging information. It requires analytical thought and some imagination to create a story that can be truly enjoyed.

I suppose that what I'm trying to say is quite simply that I'm developing the Dark Souls of walking simulators.
^this is sarcastic


In any case, if you have done, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more avant-garde bullshit interesting content.

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