Michaël Samyn, July 15, 2012
Videogames are a popular medium. What I am trying to do with Bientôt l’été is ridiculous. I’m approaching the medium wrong. I’m too idealistic. I’m looking at the technology and seeing its potential and then acting upon that as an individual. This individual happens to have greater love for high literature and deep art cinema than for pop music or television. So when I follow my heart I make stuff that doesn’t really fit in a popular medium.
It’s a bit embarrassing. Like reading poetry on MTV. Or a comic strip in which only ordinary things happen. Or an honest pop song. One might think it is heroic to do such things. But they miss their effect on the audience of such popular media. And if one is not willing to address its audience, one shouldn’t use a medium.
A medium is more than a technology. It’s also a group of people with access to it. It’s still possible to create meaningful art in a popular medium. One should just not be too up front about it.
To be effective, there needs to be a clear appeal to the sensitivities of the audience. Clear, and simple. Don’t overwhelm them, don’t confuse them. Give them a rich top layer that can be thoroughly enjoyable without any thought or reflection. Chances are, more of your art will get through to them this way than if you simply confront them with it (even if they are part of the intellectual connoisseur elite!). And even if not, at least they enjoyed the ride.
I don’t regret making Bientôt l’été. I’m immensely proud of it. It’s something I needed to do. Maybe even something that needed to be made. But I think after this I’m ready to address the medium with its baggage. I think I have found an approach, an attitude, a state of mind to use this medium, in a sense, more respectfully. More respectful of the audience that already exists for it. And I don’t think this requires violent graphics or rigid game structures. People have been sick of that for ages.
Chances are no one will notice the difference. But for me it’s night and day. Instead of fighting the medium, I’ll just use what it already does well and mould that to serve my purpose. It’s a happier way of working, more positive, additive. To make something nice, and add a little bit of spice.
I think I am now old enough for that. And I will lean back in my rocking chair and nod encouraging smiles to a new generation of creators who will make fools of themselves, like I did -at least I hope they do, because somebody should!