David Jaffe Just Sent Me Spiraling Into An Existential Crisis

David Jaffe loves to talk; we know that, and we love him for it. And today he’s going after the “games are art” apologists. I’m not going to bother pulling a pile of quotes and summarizing the whole thing, because his statement, which he makes in a post on his blog, is quite long, and his points can’t be fully appreciated until you read the whole thing.

But the gist of what he’s trying to communicate can be found in this graf:

So this idea of a story/games/meaning/art mashup seems very odd to me because in all of the time we’ve had games (analog and digital), if games COULD have been ‘about’ something and could have easily supported both narrative and play mechanics as a single unit, don’t you think at least a FEW of those older, analog games from the past 5000 years would have AT LEAST hinted at such a thing? And in all that time, if STORIES could have used more interactivity to make them more meaningful to readers, don’t you think at least a handful of stories (beyond CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE books) would have hinted at this? Don’t you think readers from thousands of years ago would have naturally come to this conclusion/desire?

I think this is kind of insanely misguided of him, but it does emphasize a small crisis of thought I’ve been having this year over how to best merge interactive and non-interactive elements of story games. I don’t think anybody really knows the full answer, but I don’t think the answer is that there is no answer so f–k it let’s just go home now, aight?

Also, it’s worth pointing out that new things happen sometimes.

Read the rest of his post here. The whole thing will make a lot more sense if you think of it as a drunken sequel to this.

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1 Comment on David Jaffe Just Sent Me Spiraling Into An Existential Crisis


On August 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I don’t know. I agree with Jaffe. I remember as a kid playing the original pokemon games on gameboy. They were silly, pointless, non-interactive fun. But they were so much fun, it’s really an injustice to use words to describe them. Or the classic final fantasies. While a little bit of cinema was cool in 7 and but then you got to X where the cinema (while beautiful) was easily the weakest part of an otherwise very good game. I would have preferred another dungeon or a better balance of power throughout the game so that Kimahri was actually usable or Lulu didn’t become worthless by the end of the game. Plus with fewer cinemas I would have been less annoyed with Titus and Wakka.