This is a thought that I wanted to elaborate on later but a recent post on Raph Koster’s blog prompted me to talk about it now. The post is about that really good violinist playing in the subway ignored by a thousand passers-by. Somehow, Raph thinks this is relevant to games. And I can see how he would think that.
I think this is about the apparent conflict between the goals of a game and the enjoyment one might find along the path, in those “little niceties” that the artists in the basement of the game developers have added to fluff things up. This conflict is another case of mistaking an opportunity for a problem. Remove the goals from games, and the problem disappears. It’s as simple as that.
Silmple is obviously relative. It’s in fact probably a lot harder to design an environment where people can enjoy the journey instead of hurrying towards the goal. In the case of music, this environment is a concert hall in which performances are organized. A lot of work, indeed. But well worth it, if you ask me. As opposed to walking from the metro to your office in the morning, sitting down in the opera with your wife in the evening is a very convenient situation for enjoying beautiful music.
The original thought was this:
Everyone enjoys a beautiful photograph, a beautiful drawing, a beautiful painting. So why should a realtime piece need to be a game before you can enjoy it? Can it not just be beautiful?