To Jim Sterling, Who Hates Art Games

By: Derek Yu

On: February 19th, 2010

Jim Sterling of Destructoid

Ah, art games, the lightning rod of indie gaming… Jim Sterling (pictured above) recently wrote a couple of inflammatory articles about art games. The first one is titled “Indie games don’t have to act like indie games” and the second one is titled “Art games aren’t innovative and innovation isn’t good”. The headlines are clearly sensationalistic, but Jim does a reasonable job expressing a common view about art games: they’re stupid, boring, pretentious, and not very innovative. If you scroll through the comments on Destructoid, you’ll see many a “Hear, hear, Jimbo! Preach it, brotha!” People are sick of art games.

But Jim and others, here are some important points that I think are missing from these articles (after the jump):

1. Art games are a relatively new concept, and like anything new, they are primitive by default.

2. People do genuinely enjoy these games, and find meaning in them. Even if a player is simply filling in what’s intentionally vague or abstract about the game, that’s valuable. By analogy, there’s value in a cup or a bowl.

3. Jim, you tore apart Edmund and The Marriage, calling them “boring”, “horrible”, and “intellectually lazy”. These are free games made as experiments, as prototypes – the video game equivalents of doodles or sketches, and just as necessary to making games as to making paintings. You railed on two little experimental games for half a dozen paragraphs, and failed to mention that Edmund’s creator, Paul Greasley, also made Zompocalpyse and The Marriage’s creator, Rod Humble, is the executive producer for The Sims (the lazy bastard)!

4. Your argument is the same argument people have used for centuries against artists trying to do new things. Here is what art critic Louis Leroy wrote of one of Claude Monet’s paintings around the dawn of Impressionism (1874):

“A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more finished than this seascape.”

Impression, Sunrise

Does that sound familiar? He thought it was lazy, sloppy, and unfinished. In fact, it was the start of something entirely new – something that many people couldn’t imagine living without today. (By the way, there are a lot of other parallels between Impressionism and many of these new experimental game movements.)

I actually agree with some of the things you’re saying, like how AAA mainstream games can be innovative, and how games can be artistic without being unfun or pretentious. But with the attitude you took in your articles (fuck this, fuck that, sarcasm), you may be remembered as the Louis Leroy of this generation+. Food for thought.

Art games will always have a place here on the TIGSource front page, and I will never ever tell people to stop making them.

+ (Although, to be fair to Louis, he at least coined the term “Impressionism”.)

  • Blade

    @ paul eres-

    The GTA series (and imitators) were actually the games I had in mind when I mentioned exceptions. So we’re on the same page there. :)

    As far as the other examples you mentioned, games that revolve around assassination (the Hitman and Tenchu games come to mind) task the player-surrogate with eliminating some pretty unsavory characters. Even if the protagonist’s actions in those games wouldn’t be legal, they’re justified in the context of the setting. It’s not just the game rewarding the player for gratuitous acts of murder in their own right.

    With more abstract depictions of violence, or games where you’re fighting nonsentient enemies, I’d argue that we’re moving away from what most people would consider murder. Squishing a koopa by jumping on its head is an act of cartoon violence, and no one’s going to equate the imagery involved with somebody putting a gun to a person’s temple and pulling the trigger. Likewise, though animal rights activists would probably disagree, the average person isn’t going to equate killing a bear or deer with killing an innocent human. We collectively place a premium on sentience – on personhood.

    I think it all boils down to this: A lot of people take it as a given that artists, when given the chance, create the sort of art that they themselves like. (It’s one of the reasons character studies of artists and authors based on what their works supposedly reveal about them will never go out of style.) So when someone makes a game where the player’s goal is to rape women to ‘win’, be it an art game or an erotic one, the *perception* is that this is something that the author countenances and/or finds appealing. (The exception to this is when the work in question depicts the protagonist/player-surrogate suffering unpleasant consequences as a result of those actions. Then the work becomes an interactive Aesop and the moral rectitude of the author is confirmed.) That’s not necessarily *true*, but there are always going to be people who assume an author’s work reflects their deeply held views on a subject. So while there’s nothing inherently *wrong* with making a game that deals with the subject, it’s inevitable that there are going to be people who are squicked by the subject matter, and who also feel it reflects poorly on the creator.

  • Anarkex

    Extended, I think at this point whether or not Minecraft is an art game is fairly key to my point. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not, as it is not trying to communicate anything. I don’t know why you would say it is, since if Minecraft is an art game, so is Morrowind or Dwarf Fortress.

    I was under the impression that art games by definition are made to communicate “meaning” rather than entertain. Is this the definition everyone else is following? If we don’t get the semantics down, we’re just screaming at each other. I’ve said before that art games by definition sacrifice mechanics for aesthetics, and this point was met by no contention, so I thought this definition was accepted.

    I just said that I didn’t love Bioshock, I was using it to state a point, so yeah, whatever. I still think the AI was moderately entertaining until I figured out its patterns, as it was unlike the enemies I’d run into in, like, Halo or something.

    >You can like art games. You admitted that much. So why argue against them?

    It can be said, as I have said recently, that in essence neither me nor Jim Sterling are arguing AGAINST art games. I’m not trying to make them go away. I am recognizing that they have a fundamental weakness, and trying (evidently failing) to tell people about this weakness so that A) Criticism of art games can be improved, and B) All games can be improved. By the definition I’ve stated above, art games DO have this weakness: it practically goes hand in hand with that definition. Games are, first and foremost, games, and if they are bad games, they are not good games. Is this really so complicated? This isn’t telling art games or indie games or any games to stop.

    All Jim Sterling is doing is pointing out a flaw in game design that’s just as prevalent in commercial game design as it is in indie design: the overuse of aesthetics at the expense of mechanics. Art games are just the most obvious offender. That’s the only reason they’re criticized, by Jim and by me. I KNOW I’ve said this already not four posts ago, so please, if you’re going to respond again, make it something I have to think about. This is getting boring.

  • Anarkex

    Unless of course you feel like singing my praises. In which case I’m all ears.

  • Extended

    So what do you and Jim criticise when you call those who make them no life basement dwellers while ignoring their works that have nothing to do with art games, if not art games?

    Now you say that wasn’t against art games. What was it against? Art games you PERSONALLY don’t like? Should every developer out there spend every bit of his spare and work time to please you (since, again, those no life basemenet dwellers did work on conventional games, but apparently what stuck with Jim is their disgrace of games, their art games)?

  • Extended

    Shit, the headline alone is pretty pretentious. Art games aren’t innovative and innovation isn’t good. Why not Art games aren’t always innovative and innovation isn’t always good? Wouldn’t that be a far more valid argument and actually in line with the way you’te trying to twist what Jim actually said into a subtler version of it? I’ll tell you why: It would be stating the obvious and make for a boring article nobody would care about, while all out trolling is sure to generate hits. That is what you’re sympathising with. His writing is as bad and as guilty of going for the cheap thrills as the rape game he describes. He’s a hyprocrit and you stand by him. Good job.

  • Dodger

    First of all, I can’t wait for Heavy Rain. At the same time, I just finished mopping the floor with my Sniper Rifle in MAG. If Heavy Rain is considered an Art Game by some of the “believers” and “non-believers” (People who hate one side or the other – then I think Heavy Rain is a great example of what Art has done for games. However, it’s not really my opinion that Heavy Rain even is an Art Game. It’s an adventure game, plain and simple, a very atmospheric adventure with a truly engrossing story. It’s also much like an interactive movie (which is still a game) but it’s much deeper than that. The actions and choices you make have real consequences in the game, so it’s not at all like the crappy FMV adventure games that were out in the 90’s. And even then, there were great games like The Pandora Directive which many adventure gamers still love.

    Back to Heavy Rain though, I was a big fan of The Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain definitely seems like a moderate step forward. It takes the things that worked and from what I’ve played, it tried some of the things that didn’t work have been rectified. Does that mean I think it is the end-all-and-be-all of all adventure games? No, but I’m certainly impressed by the demo and how easily it drew me in. I’ll be buying the game this Tuesday as soon as it hits store shelves. I can’t wait to experience the game in its entirety. I still wouldn’t call it an Art Game though, *BUT*, if it is an Art Game, then I like Art Games – and every other genre and sub-genre of video gaming out there. :)

    The great thing for me is, two weeks later, I’ll be picking up God of War III as well. :)

    I don’t like anything simply because someone else does or does not. I like things that make me feel things such as joy, pleasure, sadness, anger, fear, and sometimes confusion (as long as there’s some sort of resolution – even if it requires discussion). I can’t simply hate something or love something for that matter, based on what other groups of people hate or like. I might talk about something I like while trying to show the appeal and reason as to why I like something, but I certainly can’t force someone to see that something the same way. That’s why I believe there has to be a space for all of these games and interactive experiences, regardless if I like them or “get” their meaning, somebody else may. That doesn’t make me any better or any worse a human being, but perhaps if I don’t get something someone can instead tell me what it is that they did get from the experience that I didn’t or what they felt and why. Games can be simple fun, but they can also be memorable experiences, and sometimes just memorable instances. I think there’s room for all of that.

  • C.A. Sinclair

    @Anarkex: Indeed I was trying to make a different point. Even though I didn’t enjoy Monster Hunter (and it’s a game I really [i]wanted[/i] to like and tried hard to get into), I don’t come to the conclusion that because I think it’s a tedious and heavily flawed game, it’s absolutely impossible for anyone else to genuinely enjoy it.

    Also, keep in mind that things you perceive as “flaws” in a game might just be what other people like about it.

    And lastly, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a game “tricking you into thinking it’s good”. If a game successfully manages to do that, it’s a good game in my book. I think questioning the reasons why you like a certain game is pointless. If you judge everything by a set of faux-objective criteria of what constitutes “good” game design, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of games because you think you’re enjoying them for the “wrong reasons”.

    Note that I’m not really saying this in defense of art games, hell I don’t even like most art games, it’s just your “it’s wrong/impossible to like this game” attitude that gets me riled up.

  • paul eres

    @blade: ” Squishing a koopa by jumping on its head is an act of cartoon violence, and no one’s going to equate the imagery involved with somebody putting a gun to a person’s temple and pulling the trigger. ”

    true, but isn’t edmund largely ‘cartoon rape’? i mean, it’s not realistic, it’s abstract, nobody would confuse it with real rape. if mere cartoonishness is an excuse for violence in a game, it could also be an excuse for rape in a game.

    @ana: “Extended, I think at this point whether or not Minecraft is an art game is fairly key to my point. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not, as it is not trying to communicate anything. […] I was under the impression that art games by definition are made to communicate “meaning” rather than entertain. Is this the definition everyone else is following?”

    no, that’s not the definition a lot of us are using. i described the different types art games a few hundred comments above, and mentioned several times that conveying meaning isn’t the point of all or even most art games. to think that art games can be defined as games which are about conveying meaning is ridiculous to me, considering the wide variety of art games out there.

  • Anarkex

    Extended: Now you’re using what Jim said against ME. I’m not responsible for how shitty his arguments are. I’m just telling you why he’s right, and he *is*, even if he’s being a douche about it.

    Dodger: Adventure games are fine by me, though the genre kind of died out and I personally think it mostly did for a reason. Telltale’s recent entries are my main argument: though occasionally funny they feel kind of soulless as they’re nothing but fetch quests and retarded “I DON’T WANNA USE MY GUN ON THE BAD GUY” goofballery. I thought Machinarium was a HUGE step in the right direction, but I’m not sure how well that sort of thing could be improved or even reproduced.

    However from what I’ve seen of Heavy Rain it strikes me as not only an awful video game but an awful story as well. I was one of the first to criticize the Mall gameplay trailer and obviously not the last. The voice acting was awful, the writing was awful, the graphics were buggy, and characters did absolutely stupid things. Heavy Rain strikes me as a story that could only be told in video games, simply because patrons of any other medium would never put up with it. But then, I haven’t even played it and I’ve only watched a few trailers, so maybe I’m wrong.

    In any case Visual Novels and whatever you’d call Heavy Rain occupy the absolute far end of acceptable game design with regards to mechanics. Essentially they’re just phases on electronic choose-your-own-adventure books, and my opinions vary wildly on them specifically.

    The golden rule here is that when a game is all about story/ themes/ whatever at the expense of mechanics, it IS still potentially enjoyable. However, it is only enjoyable if the player is willing to tolerate the lousy game for the story’s sake. And the fact that the lousy game must be tolerated for the story’s sake dilutes it – Brevity is the soul of wit, as they say. I’ve used the Mother series as my prime example. These are pretty awful games because they’re boring to play and broken as all hell, but I do love them for their themes, stories and characters. However, I would give all three games to read one book by Itoi, their creator – as he is a writer, not a game designer.

  • Anarkex

    C.A., I don’t believe I said it was impossible to like these games. In fact, I think I just answered your qualms in my last post about adventure games. Twist it a bit and I think you’ll find the answer good enough.

    There are plenty of games that, mechanically, I can’t get into. If asked, I can give you the reasons, hell, a lot of the time they’re shortcomings on my part. I am unable to learn Dwarf Fortress, no matter how hard I try. I don’t think I can play RTS games, simply because I freak out when forced to multitask. But I don’t see that as a shortcoming on the game’s part. The mechanics just don’t appeal to me. But I think I can say with some certainty when a game is simply poorly designed or regressive, and a majority of artgames are. Sound good?

  • Muz

    I do like art games, but many are just bad. Today I Die, and many others by the same creator is still a favorite. Games are supposed to make you feel more satisfied after completion.

    He has a point though in art games being lazy, when you have a bad game that claims that it’s bad because it’s art. This is exactly why a lot of people hate them.

    It’s not that art games will always be bad, it’s that they’re often worse off because they try to be artistic, and a lot of game lovers just wish that they weren’t.

  • Anarkex

    Oh yeah, Paul, I missed that thing you said up there about my definition being wrong. I guess I can accept the definitions you put forward, with the exception of the third, “breaking a convention”. All games feature a reinvention of rules set forth by a previous game, so that doesn’t necessarily make a game an art game.

    By your first two classifications, conceptual and ambient games, my argument still holds water. Both imply a deficiency in player control and mechanical complexity. Also I argue that Minecraft is neither. The music is somewhat ambient, but come on dude, I’m building castles and fighting zombies.

  • anothergol

    >>(..) and claims they get more praise than they deserve. They do not

    Exactly. If the said “artists” were to be interviewed for a blog, with pics & reviews of the artist’s shitty games like, for example, a worthless shmup that would delete files, then it would be different. But that would never happen ..right?

    I do understand that a blog is about writing articles, and it’s easier to write about the controversy around a game rather than about the game itself (there would be absolutely nothing to write about the content of the game I mentioned), but it’s still giving undeserved attention to artsy attention whores who put zero effort in their game.

  • Dodger


    Just to quote you again:

    “However from what I’ve seen of Heavy Rain it strikes me as not only an awful video game but an awful story as well. I was one of the first to criticize the Mall gameplay trailer and obviously not the last. The voice acting was awful, the writing was awful, the graphics were buggy, and characters did absolutely stupid things. Heavy Rain strikes me as a story that could only be told in video games, simply because patrons of any other medium would never put up with it. But then, I haven’t even played it and I’ve only watched a few trailers, so maybe I’m wrong.”

    I’d have to say that you’re very wrong. Have you never read a fantasy novel? People both read and watch fantasy and fiction in books and on television. To say that Heavy Rain would never be accepted by patrons of “any other medium” is a pretentious statement when you try to group people based on their opinions.

    I’ve played through the Heavy Rain demo 4 times now and each time I have made different choices. Some choices mildly affected the outcome while other choices made huge changes to the way the game and story played out and unfolded. I seriously can’t wait for the full game.

    The story may take place in a real world setting (a familiar theme) but it’s also based on fictional events and characters (much like many other games out there – and even movies and books). The story, atmosphere, voice acting, and gameplay all work very well for me. I could definitely see how the pacing may not be to everyones liking, but after actually playing the demo and these snippets of chapters from the game I can honestly say that I’m impressed with how well it comes together and unfolds. It definitely keeps me interested and the mechanics kept me engaged in the story. It’s not going to be for every gamer, but then, no game ever is. Your point about patrons of other media has left me a little dumbfounded because I don’t believe any person could actually say that and have thought about it for very long. Again, it sounds more like a knee-jerk reaction, rather than constructive thought or criticism.

  • Dodger

    As an added note,

    if I did have one complaint about the game it would be the mechanic used to make the characters walk. It can be a little annoying but it’s definitely not a deal breaker – I think people who have played the original resident evil games (1, 2, 3 and CV) will have no problems dealing with the mechanic. But that was really my only gripe.

  • paul eres

    “All games feature a reinvention of rules set forth by a previous game, so that doesn’t necessarily make a game an art game.”

    i meant where the entire purpose of the game is to experiment with breaking a convention, not merely a new game that breaks some convention as part of its design.

    the reason i think minecraft is arguably an art game is because there’s no gameplay in the usual sense: no winning or losing. the game is just about creating a world, building it with some friends, and having that world evolve. it’s a very world-centric game, it’s not game-centric: no score, goals, etc. those are qualities usually characteristic of art games. it has rules, but most of those rules are not related to any goal or purpose, they’re just rules of the world, like grass dies in water, or water fills empty places, and so on. in a sense most of the rules of minecraft are purely aesthetic, because they don’t mean life or death, they just influence how things look.

  • Anarkex

    Dodger, I said I might be wrong, I haven’t played the game. I’m just telling you what I thought of it so far, and I have seen a lot of the material in this game. It looks pretty contrived to me, but if you don’t feel that way, it’s all good. You’re the one buying it, not me. Sorry it bugged you so much.

  • Dodger


    Your comment about the game didn’t bother me, it was your comment about “patrons of other mediums would never put up with it”. That’s a broad and general statement and one that makes me believe you haven’t read many books or watched many movies, or played any variety of games. I’m not saying that’s how it is, but comments such as that only show a closed mindedness which would lead me to think something like that. Not to say that you’re closed minded, but when you decide to speak for other people you cannot speak for one group and put down another. It doesn’t work and only comes across as pretentiousness. So that’s what bothered me about the comment, not the fact that you didn’t like what you saw of Heavy Rain. :) That I can live with, since I am greatly looking forward to it, and especially after my brief experiences with the demo. We can agree to disagree, but we can’t speak in broad spectrum’s in regards to, and when referring to, groups of other people and their opinions when such things are for the most part out of our control.

  • Anarkex

    Actually Paul, the in-development versions of the game are tests on a survival mode, and this is the version I’ve been referring to. You actually can die in this mode, and it’s what I’ve had the most fun playing as of late. The rules have been reworked to operate with a crafting system that lets you create tools and weapons to help you survive. Of course, creative mode isn’t going anywhere, but compared to what’s in the in-development version even now it’s very bare-bones. I think it’s clear that Notch is working to turn this into a fairly complex game.

  • ctankep

    Read both of the articles on Destructoid and got to say am a little disappointed, even saddened with the kind of mob mentality that seems to present itself given the efficacy of comments come pile-up in general. Arguably, if you’re going to critique an ‘experimental’ game then you absolutely need to be able to understand the purpose + rationale for different game design choices, and be able to speak about them in an interesting context instead of wedging everything into one-size fits all F-pants.

    Contentions for and against ‘art games’ are also a little backwards and non-sensical given that games are a subset of interaction design, and not the other way around.! So I love and find it invigorating that independent developers are willing to explore the bounds of interaction + game design given the paucity [and difficulty] of new ideas in professional production. Even then I tend to feel that we’re generally a little lazy in not going far enough, challenging people, or simply offering up more of ourselves, meanings and personal thoughts in games rather than trite stereo-types or coagulated teenage fetish.

    Suppose the meta-game of starting a business and being self-sufficient is quite an aspiration; though are the two aims of innovative design + accessibility really all that oppositional? I just hate to think that this frontier’s weighed down with the same gravity that bogs down commercial game design when its a fantastic space to really reach and try fresh ideas.

    As an interesting aside, related to this idea of getting a macro view on things: our concept of computer games so far has totally been shaped by technological constraints both in terms of hardware in the computer loop + interactions existing in the player loop. Is not to cleave to these limitations, or defining moments, markers in time, classic Nintendo gameplay or whatever you might want to call them just being retrograde for the sake of it? Let’s just say that fibre optics networks developed 10-20 years earlier, then possibly the whole canon of single player games from the 80s would not have been designed and we would have gone down another path [sic] in terms of game design and what we know as computer games.

    Props to Mel Croucher, Paul Woakes, Ian Braben and all the other pioneers though. Maybe I was just a weird kid back then, but the tangible feeling of excitement playing Elite, Damocles et al was just phenomenal and famously being able to travel to the programmer’s home planet [and kill him to end the game] in Mercenary was super cool with regards to player agency. Somehow I just don’t get that same joy from traversing dialogue trees in Mass Effect 2. To answer Derek’s question, alot of these games right up to the Amiga period still inspire because of their willingness to try new things out. Hopefully we don’t lose this kind of freeform experimentation with everybody set on going semi-professional. It’s a shame that Sterling’s article has rendered the world flat.

    — Chuan

  • paul eres

    ah, i haven’t played that type of minecraft, just normal mode. i find the idea of a survival mode that you can be killed in with tool crafting kind of unappealing, since the game already works so well as just a world creation and world sharing engine, but i suppose i’ll eventually try it. regardless, i think you’d agree that if the game were purely about world creation and sharing rather than having the mode you describe, it’d be an “art game”, yes? and what you described earlier, as it being immersive (digging tunnels and such), would still apply to creation mode.

    anyway, my position on this is that i don’t care how games immerse me, sure it’s great if it can do so through mechanics, but i don’t think i’ve ever played a game that was immersive solely through its mechanics, there always seems to be at least some aesthetic skill involved too. i don’t think games should ignore that. both are important though: for instance, the ecosystem mechanic in blueberry garden increased the game’s immersion, but so did the soft piano music. either alone wouldn’t have worked as effectively.

  • Nicol

    Same as in music “industry”:

    There is Lady Gaga vs some indie punk bands. It is impossible to judge what is art, what is commercial bullshit and what is artsy by intention. Some bands are exaggerated in their indie-like behavior and others are industry whores. Some are both. I suggest to listen to (play) what you like.

  • Extended

    @Anarkex – you say “he’s right” and constantly try to deconstruct what he said into a subtler version of it that isn’t “against art games” when his headline alone and many instances in his posts are in fact against art games, and when confronted over his insane statements you say that I use what he said to attack you? Of course I do, you keep saying “he’s right” ! So, read those last comments and respond. Or don’t, I don’t care, you’re being a hypocrit yourself right now.

  • Anarkex

    Yeah, I know, Paul. Mechanics and aesthetics usually and ideally work hand in hand. And if it were purely creation mode, I probably still wouldn’t consider Minecraft an art game. I mean, do you consider Gmod an art game? But whatever, all that’s really kind of irrelevant.

    Extended: Dude, Jim mentioned in the first article that he really likes what Braid did. It seems pretty apparent that he isn’t trying to end art games forever. He’s just played a ton of them and is sick of the wasted potential. Any ad hominems he throws out are basically just there for the lols, and even if he’s relying on shock value to get some of his message out there, the message is solid and constructive.

    Also a hypocrite is someone who acts contrary to his stated beliefs. I don’t really know how that would apply to what I’m doing.

  • DalaranJ

    @Derek, (A bit late but,)

    Thanks for your’ response.

    There were some good points there. Plenty for me to consider.

  • Extended

    @ Anarkex dude, again, the majority of games in general is shite so I don’t see the need to bash art games in particular because he played tons of crap ones. How many of the hundreds or thousands yearly releases of games do you find worthy of playing? 50? 100 if you had more money to spend on them? Surely there’s a fuckton of bad games left. But I doubt you’d make an article bashing “video games” in the way Jim bashed “indie” and “art” games. And if you would, you’d be wrong as well.

    And you’re a hypocrite because while you claim Jim is “right” when I bring up how Jim’s statements are wrong. you say that doesn’t apply to you. Then don’t state Jim is right, just state what you think instead. And sorry but saying he liked this or that doesn’t somehow make the rest of his shitty arguments easy to ignore. If anything it shows he can’t even write an article without contradicting himself, making his goals ever more obvious.

  • Anarkex

    Extended, is this seriously all about the frigging “no-life basement dwellers” comment? It’s a stupid ad hominem that has nothing to do with his main argument. It’s just there for chuckles. He made very specific statements about what elements of art game design he was against, and the example of Braid isn’t there just as an “exception”, but it’s there as an example of an art game that isn’t so far up its own ass that it’s no longer fun to play. And for the last time, he’s not “bashing art games”, this is all over a very specific element, the sacrifice of mechanical complexity for artsy fartsy goofballery, that is more or less ingrained into the concept of art games. This is something I’m sure Jim would agree with me that these games could easily move beyond, it simply takes effort on the part of the devs and criticism on the part of the community, something that yes, eventually snowballs into a criticism of every last one of us, devs, critics, and players. Is this seriously that hard to follow?

  • Flamebait

    Some people seem not to understand hyperbole.

  • swamipat

    jim is a troll, making the argument that The Knack are more important than Black Flag. i miss the days of ron workman at dtoid. now its just a poor mans Kotaku.

  • Ryan

    Derek, I thought you knew better than this. Sterling is a professional troll, and that’s all he’s ever going to be. Ignore and move on. He doesn’t even deserve the muscle movement your fingers made to type up this article.

  • Extended

    There are plenty more instances than just that. Again, if his title, and the rest of his “””article””” (one pair of quotes isn’t enough) had the tone of “art games aren’t ALWAYS innovative, innovation isn’t ALWAYS good” then there would have been no argument in the first place. Yet, he chose to make tons of stupid claims both in the title and in the rest of it, in order to actually cause this argument, and hits to that website and you said you agree with him. End of.

  • Extended

    Also, as said a billion times before, don’t play art games if you think they sacrifice too much of what games mean to you. There are plenty of makers making games you want, why do you want to seemingly force the rest of them, or hell, even those same developers, since plenty of them work on conventional games as well, to spend their creativity only in ways that please your very personal gaming habits? Not all movies are comedies and action flicks, not all games are about putting a grin on your face as you master the mechanics and come out on top. Deal with it, your disapproval isn’t going to make anyone realise your truth is the one truth and that all games should be the best games in their genre ever, and hell, even fit in a genre. You didn’t enjoy something? Move the fuck on than claim the developer was so wrong to displease you. Especially since most of them are free, and as said before, often necessary for experience and ideas to grow and be turned into a better convetional game.

  • Derp

    Yeah, this is akin to complaining that flipnote animations all suck and are the reason their creators live with mom n pops, and that if they had real talent they would be making just Disney productions or Mona Lisa-esque paintings, lol.

  • infinite

    @Extended: Let scrubs and casual gamers kill gaming? I would rather die then ever let that happen.

  • infinite

    Mastering game mechanics is gaming. These scrubs and casual gamers who have no internet in actually playing games, much less making them, who enjoy movies more than they do games need to stop perverting the medium and dumbing it down even moreso than the mainstream games industry already has.

  • Derp

    I bet most of the games you play don’t even require any sort of mastering and are in fact casual games like Modern Warfare, GTA and the like. Those types of games do indeed kill gaming, unlike what you mean when you say casual and the art games that you loathe so much, yet are from and for people who have little to do with other types of games, and therefor cannot destroy those. It’s a different market that cannot and will not replace the rest of it, whereas crap like Modern Warfare and GTA did in fact replace actual games that did require mastering like Quake. Or actual thinking like ye olde adventure games, when most of the current are mindless click the win button affairs, or kill x enemies to progress (RE5 again).

  • Derp

    If you’re like Jim you should spend less time mastering gameplay mechanics that have no room for mastering in the first place, and more time mastering life, otherwise all that fat will in fact kill you within 5-10 years by the way. Not that many will miss you, I imagine the anger issues of both of you stem from that fact, in fact, but yeah, I don’t imagine you’ll particularly enjoy it when it happens, heart attacks and strokes are rather painful and can leave you crippled if you survive. Start today!

  • Anarkex

    Derp: Nice to know you guys can rise above my mindless namecalling. At least mine has a point.

    Extended: How about throwing something at me I haven’t heard before. LOL YOU HAVE NO RIGHT, CRITICISM IS NEVER WARRANTED, LEAVE INDIE GAMES ALOOOOWNE.

    Soak your head. If ANYONE takes what I’ve said to heart, it’ll have been worth the time I wasted posting here. Regardless, though, I’m done with you, as the goofballery has obviously come full circle. Until next time, TIGsource.

  • Dodger


    Is that you Jim??? LOL

    @Ryan (comment #280),

    Well said, but he actually might have had some valid points in his first article, unfortunately for him he threw any credibility out the window when he wrote his second article considering he contradicted himself… I guess proving your point in a way, though you’re probably more familiar with his work, or habits, than I. Either way, I kinda made himself look foolish by responding to himself.

  • agj

    I won’t dare read all the comments that are above me, but I agree with you, Derek, and appreciate the post.

  • salade

    why do we even try to create art? why not just try to create good games…

  • Dodger

    Why fly a kite when you can just pop a pill?

    *jk* Sorry, but I couldn’t resist that classic line.

  • infinite

    >implying that Modern Warfare takes no skill


    Cod4:MW has been a staple of the MLG for years now. Where the hell have you been Derp?

  • infinite

    And a lot of people like to use GTA as an example when guess what? Actually doing the missions under a set amount of time or finding out the best way of doing them does in fact take skill. Only a complete scrub who has never tried to set a record in anything would use that as an example with a straight face.

  • infinite

    >If you’re like Jim you should spend less time mastering gameplay mechanics that have no room for mastering in the first place, and more time mastering life, otherwise all that fat will in fact kill you within 5-10 years by the way. Not that many will miss you,

    Now this is just retarded. If you think keeping yourself in shape and playing video games both are hard to do, you just suck at managing your time. Look at Fatal1ty. That guy does at least two hours a day of cardio, and he’s a master tournament level player at Quake.

    Second, I’ve won more money at gaming tournaments than you probably make per month or even year at your day job.

  • Turnips

    Well, I skipped right to the end and I must say that if all the replies are like that I’m glad I did. Internet kids bragging about winning video game tourneys and how hardcore they are because they play some of the most mainstream titles out there that any non gaming redneck can enjoy (and going by Xbox live voice chat they do so)? How did discussion devolve like this?

  • Krystal

    What he said. What the fuck are those people doing on an indie games site anyway? Did all of them come from that shitblog linked at the top or what? No wonder with that attitude.

  • infinite

    I don’t discriminate between indie and non-indie. Only games that have gameplay and games that don’t (and still try to pretend to be games because people are too ignorant to question them otherwise). And no, watching a screensaver where you can make a person walk around isn’t gameplay, you know what you call that? One word: shallow.

  • Dodger


    That’s the kind of tirade that actually turns people off and comes across as “shallow”. You sound like a young kid, so I want you to know that I’m not trying to insult you or anything, it’s just that by being brash and abrasive for no other reason than to be loud in a comments section of a public forum just for some attention is the equivalent of a child purposefully spilling their milk to gain that needed attention. If you’re not a young kid then please grow up. Again, I’m not trying to insult you but considering the tone and context of your comments they came across as immature. Everyone has the right to a point of view, and perhaps you have a valid one, you’re going to have to express yourself with some consideration and thought first though, if you want anyone to take what you have to say seriously.

    Just trying to help.

  • infinite

    You’re the one saying I have no life. Now you’re backtracking because I just proved you wrong.

    Just trying to help.