前几年，Wii达到了标准—-虽然是属于产品设计类别，但是对于 Media Molecule的《小小大星球》以及Area/Code的教育类Flash游戏《Sharkrunners》能够在过去获取荣誉我真的很自豪。但这却远不足以代表21世纪最大的文化形式之一。
Are Games Design?
By Edge Staff
I’m sitting in the cafe of the Design Museum in London, writing explanatory text for my two accepted nominations for its Designs Of The Year exhibition.
I had put forward three nominations. The third, unaccepted, design was a game. It’s the third year that I’ve been asked to nominate and the third year that the console game I’ve submitted as an exceptional work of design has been left off the long-list.
Previous years have seen the Wii make the grade – albeit in the product design category – and I’m proud to have managed to get both Media Molecule’s digital toybox, LittleBigPlanet, and Area/Code‘s educational Flash game, Sharkrunners (in which players track actual GPS-located sharks in the Pacific), into the honours in the past. But it’s meagre representation for one of the biggest cultural forms of the 21st century.
Why is that? Is it the subject matter? I mean, I’ve nominated Left 4 Dead and BioShock, which I guess could be seen as a little… dark. But I don’t think so – adult themes and content in the graphic design and fashion submissions are often notable.
Is it perhaps the old prejudice against games and gamers – the view that they are marginal ‘spotty teenager’ preoccupations? I think not – the design industry/gamer Venn diagram probably has more of a healthy overlap than most other sectors.
I think the issue’s a little more subtle. I think it’s that games are seen as ‘media’, rather than designed objects. They are seen as a commodity to be experienced – like a movie, an album or a book – rather than an apparatus or container for experiences.
Which I guess can be seen as a perverse thing to complain about.
After all, haven’t gamers and game industry grandees alike wanted videogames to be seen critically as an emotional and experiential peer to other, more established, media? And, despite games overtaking other media in both complexity and commercial appeal, those cries can still be heard. So, a good thing, right? Games should be honoured with BAFTAs, not Brit Insurance Designs Of The Year gongs.
Well, I’d love to think it’s both/and not either/or. The rich, unique and intriguing thing about games as a form is that they are both worlds and stories, architectures and adventures at the same time. This is a feat of design primarily – of design, engineering and aesthetic attainment balanced. A feat at least as complex and coordinated as that of a Jonathan Ive laptop or a Foreign Office Architects building.
I must admit to being a fairly hardcore ‘ludologist’ when it comes to appreciating games. The scenery and backstory come a very poor second to the physics, mechanics and ‘toyetics’ (as Gary Penn has dubbed it) of the world I get to play in. So as a result, for me, games really are frameworks for fun, rather than ‘interactive stories’.
I tend to see them as having much more in common with the approach of an architect or landscape designer in terms of shaping and creating flows, confluences and possibilities for enjoyment. Whether it’s Molyneux, Wright or another guru of gamespace, the language and argot used to describe what they are trying to design often leans heavily on that of architecture – and of course architects have often been involved in or crossed over into world-building, concept art development and even level design. As a result I really do think that critical appreciation and commentary from the world of architecture and design could be illuminating and progressive.
Another parallel with architectural criticism is that those versed in architecture can look at a drawing of a building plan and section, and be able to read it – allowing them to comment on the intention of the architects, and the possible qualities of the building without experiencing its constructed form.
Similarly, a seasoned gamer or game critic might be able to read a videogame in abstract very quickly – seeing patterns, references or even clichés in the mechanics and dynamics offered by its designers. But to a less familiar eye, games are hard to appreciate without playing them and experiencing the physics and laws of the world they present. Without such literacy in games, and without the prompting to simply play games, it’s little wonder that mainstream design critics tend to ignore their charms.
It might be quite an easy bridge to build between the lush three-dimensional worlds of leading console games to those of architecture. It’s perhaps easy to cast a more esoteric critical eye over the possibility-sculptures of god games. But I’d also argue that the same critical appreciation should be given to the elegant minimalism, the exuberant joy-giving and often beautifully crafted bottle universes of so-called casual games.
After all, one can see their analogue in the everyday objects – spoons, chairs, staplers, kettles – reified in design museums the world over for their immaculate balance, simplicity, deft detailing or just whacked-out joyfulness. Why should pocket calculators be put on a pedestal, and not Peggle?
Games have made occasional in-roads into design magazines such as Blueprint or Icon in past years but their place as designed objects – as achievements of architecture, technology and sheer aesthetic gonzo awesomeness – has yet to have a real critical footing outside of the games industry itself. So, I guess I’ll try again next year.(source:edge-online)