Realtime beauty

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?

4 thoughts on “Realtime beauty”

  1. I read a comment on JoyStiq regarding “The Marrige” where someone said “I can’t play art, I play games.”

    I think its really an audience thing, not a design problem. In other words, an audience opporunity. So I basically agree with you, in other terms. Design problems do exist, however, but I think design space in general is too wicked to have generally solve-able design problems. They exist in terms of specific designs only, and I quite enjoy solving them.

    As far as goals go, you’re really talking about explicit goals, everyone forms some kind of goal (however fuzzy or short term) implicitedly, or by induction with the aesthetics.

  2. I just started reading Tale of Tales blog and I am really enjoying it. Every entry brings some very provoking thoughts. Congratulations to everyone involved.

    I have just one complaint about the yellow background. I have to disable css to be able to read it.

    Regards from Brazil.

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