I hear Bill Paxton in ALIENS whenever movie-makers and movie-lovers start bitching about the rise of the video game industry. As revenues continue to rise for the latter, ticket sales at the multiplexes keep dropping. Maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but you just got your asses kicked, Hollywood! Rather than bemoan the changing of the guard like radio-play enthusiasts lamenting the emergence of television way back when, perhaps it’d be wiser to look for the positives in the new medium and how it might complement the old. Sure, there are some similarities between the two show businesses — an over-reliance on blockbuster titles and their sequels and spin-offs and an obsession with opening week numbers — but in both there are also exciting initiatives, artistry and hope to be found among the independent communities.
INDIE GAME tracks a handful of designers who toil tirelessly, re-imagining game play and narrative in colorful, radical ways. Jonathan Blow, Phil Fish, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes are the prime quartet captured in action (and inaction) by documentarians Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky. Even if, like me, you don’t own a game console, you can still admire the dedication of these folks, and, maybe even find yourself drawn to their work. Frankly, much of it appears far more compelling than a Bradley Cooper romantic comedy.
Winda Benedetti aka MSNBC’s Citizen Gamer has immersed herself in this world. Her Season 1 visit to The High Bar was almost mystically edifying, like listening to an astronaut radio back from a distant planet.
Back on Earth, Brian McDonald, author of the Invisible Ink blog and several books on screenwriting, also has some strong opinions about the evolution of storytelling in videogames. He dropped by The High Bar during Season 2. Do you agree with his take on new media narratives?