In April 2009, we had the honor of interviewing Japanese artist Fuco Ueda, thanks to Miss Ellie Nagata’s kind offer to translate. Miss Ueda’s work has been a great source of inspiration and strength when we were creating The Path, as her work also seems to deal with the pleasure and pain of being a girl. In a way, the Red Girls are some kind of estranged cousins of the skinny contemporary nymphs in the pictures by Fuco Ueda. So it’s only appropriate that it’s our girls who do the questioning in the interview.
Enjoy the short but sweet interview (English and Japanese)!
When creating the art style for The Path, we were influenced by several wonderful artists. We are trying to interview them all. Our interview with Lisa Falzon was published a while ago. And the interview with Ray Caesar was done in that same period. But we never got around to publishing it. What better moment than the first anniversary of The Path to share this very insightful and inspiring interview with one of the world’s most imaginative contemporary artists!
People think I paint pictures of children… I don’t! I paint pictures of the human soul… that alluring image of the hidden part of ourselves… some call them ghosts or spirits but I see them as the image of who we truly are, made manifest with all the objects and bruises that filled the story of each life.
I look at the game industry today and see only one game… it starts the same and ends the same and it’s sold in a variety of names and packages and has no mystery because it is not utilizing creativity as well as it could…
Area/code‘s Frank Lantz makes all sorts of games. He worked on web games with Gamelab, created a real life Pac-Man on the streets of Manhattan and has people park cars on Facebook. He also has strong opinions about game design. Opinions that he’s not shy to voice at conferences. Opinions that are more or less diametrically opposed to our own. And that we actually, oddly, agree with, wholeheartedly. Frank Lantz thinks that games should be more game-like, that they shouldn’t even try to become a medium, that they are worthwhile in their own right and that computers are just a minor detail in their evolution.
Photo from Flickr by A*A*R*O*N
Chris Bateman is the designer behind Discworld Noir, Ghost Master, Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition and many others (videogames as well as board games). With the exception of the independently developed Play with Fire, he works mostly as a designer “pur sang” in the sense that he seldom initiates a project or comes up with the basic themes for a game but instead works in a much more applied fashion, like a furniture designer would or a fashion designer. We hired him ourselves in that capacity when we were working on “8” and he did a spectacular job,
saving us from having to design the actual gameplay ourselves (which, as you may know, is something we detest 😉 ).
That being said, by now, Mr. Bateman is probably much better known as a provocative games theorist, philosopher and even economic analyst on his fascinating blog Only a Game. He’s currently finishing up his second book on game design. But it is reading his first book “21st Century Game Design” that prompted this interview. In this book Chris Bateman and Richard Boon map the play behaviour of different people to their psychological profiles and come to the conclusion that different people play in different ways. As logical as this may sound, it is one of the most ignored aspects of the medium in the videogames industry. So much so that one company who recognized this was able to outclass and outsell two other companies while they were comparing the size of their consoles and with products that were technically inferior. That company was Nintendo and the success of its strategy was predicted by Mr Chris Bateman.
To learn why there’s more to videogames than first person shooters, what the commercial opportunities are in experimental games and why the Sims and Grand Theft Auto remain unrivaled and unparalleled:
Time for another installment in our ongoing series of interviews with people we feel have something important to say about the past, present and future of game design. And this time it’s with one of our big heroes!
We can’t help but feel that the career of Takayoshi Sato so far illustrates what’s wrong with the games industry. While everyone’s talking about making artistic games, rivaling cinema, turning the medium into a mature art form, etc, Mr. Sato simply goes out and does it. With Silent Hill 1 and 2 (1999 & 2001), he has made some of the greatest contributions to the creative development of the medium that anyone has. So what does Electronic Arts do when he goes to work for them? They build a team of experts around him, reserve a nice budget, give him plenty of time and tell him to Go! Create a masterpiece!? No. They put him on some licensed IP and forget all about it. Et tu, EA!
In the mean time, Sato has left the building and is now working for a “serious games” company. We feel that this is a shame, but Mr. Sato doesn’t agree. He talks about how the commercial games industry is stagnating, how the way production is organised stiffles the creative spirit, how game after game is just a re-skinning of a stale old concept. How we need new areas to experiment and express ourselves in this medium.
We met with Jenova Chen and the team at Thatgamecompany for the first time at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last February. Their games Cloud and flOw had of course attracted our attention. And their new game under development, Flower, is looking very very interesting too. Unsurprisingly, we hit it off extremely well. But there was still much to talk about after the conference. An interview seemed like a good start to continue the conversation.
This was the fastest interview we’ve ever done. We hope you’ll find it as enjoyable as we did.
Photo by jenovachen
It took about 4 months to finalize this interview. We’re all very busy, I guess. But here it is. Chairman of the Independent Games Festival and publisher and editor of several websites and magazines about games and games development, Simon Carless is a busy bee. Which doesn’t stop him from dropping by other forums and blogs to participate in this often turbulent community. Or giving interviews to the likes of us.
Photo by simoniker
Alex Mayhew is an artist. It is not often one gets to say this about somebody who works in interactive media. But he is one of those very few whom we can call an artist without ifs or buts. As such, the conceptual limitations of game design don’t mean much to him. He designs straight for the core of the matter: interactivity and you, the user. This doesn’t stop him from going on about fishing on the Wii or playing Loco Roco, though.
Alex is probably best known for the fabled Ceremony of Innocence CD-Rom, an interactive adaptation of Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine saga, published by Peter Gabriel’s Real World in the nineties. But he hasn’t rested a single day since and never gave up on his dreams, hopes and desires. I have a feeling we’re in for quite a treat, soon!