Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 17, 2014

Email: About passion in video games

Hello, Master Malstrom

I really enjoyed reading your recent post about “edge” and “passion” in games. It’s easy to pass it off as mere nostalgia they way you see the difference, but I want to believe that you’re right.
I’m just a bit confused in regard to what you really want developers to do.

On one hand, you say that developers shouldn’t enjoy making games and not strive to make games in the way THEY want, because it’s their job, they are not supposed to enjoy it, and it’s only the customer who gets to have fun. I get that.

But now you’re saying that game developers should be more passionate. About NSMB you said: “They didn’t want to make it, and that passion-less is communicated to the gamer.”
So now you are saying the revearsal? That they SHOULD want to make the game?

Please explain how they should be passionate about creating something if they are not allowed to enjoy developing and add things which they themselves want to be in the game.
I’m just curious, that’s all.

They need to be passionate about what gamers are passionate about. Remember how I’ve said that in the early days of gaming, the game designer didn’t really see himself (or herself) as a designer? They saw themselves as gamers.

There are so many corporate walls that we have created a Developer World which is like some parallel society to gamers. A great example of this is found with Nintendo developers. Sakamoto is very passionate about Metroid. So are gamers. However, Sakamoto’s passion is not shared by the gamers with his Other M. Why can’t Sakamoto be passionate about Metroid the same way gamers are? Why can’t Aonuma be passionate about Zelda the same way we are? Why is Miyamoto so passionate about 3d? Why can’t he be passionate about 2d Mario for once? Everyone would love to see a big budget 2d Mario adventure. Why does 3d Mario only get the big budget?

It is very important for an entertainer not to lose touch with the audience. They have to be passionate about what the audience is passionate. It is very easy to get isolated and be passionate about something the audience doesn’t care for.

I think one reason why video game developers are getting isolated in their passion is because they are getting old. Has there ever been a hit game directed by a 50 year old man? Like rock-and-roll, video games are for the young in spirit.


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