Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why there is no "Citizen Kane" of video games.

Video games as a medium are fundamentally different from any other sort of art. Imagine you're writing a great novel. Now imagine you're trying to make that great novel into a choose-your-own-adventure story, without losing the quality of the story. Can you do it?

The big difference between video games and choose-your-own-adventures on the one hand, and paintings, sculptures, literature, and film on the other, is that in traditional media the artist has total control over the work. The sculptor sculpts, the writer writes, and then you look at the work. The programmer, however, must create an outline for the player to fill in however they wish. The artwork must be a collaboration between total strangers. This is new and difficult, and people are still trying to figure out how to do it.