Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Gaming Renaissance? Stop Holding Your Breath, It’s Here

He could play Double Dash by himself with all those arms. There’s a great quote up on MTV Multiplayer from Flower and flOw creator Jenova Chen –he says, “I think right now — in the future, when people look back, I think it’s the renaissance of video games.”

When asked about how digital distribution is affecting the world of games, Chen responded favorably, mentioning services like WiiWare, Steam, and Xbox Live. He also said that “it’s a time where a lot of people who study games start to graduate and come into this field. It’s a really good time for all these people to really push the boundaries of what games can be.” He’s got a point there, I think. Portal came from a team of college kids. Check out the recent entries in the Global Game Jam and you’ll find plenty of teams from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and various IADT locations.

Unlike the Renaissance we all know and love, this gaming renaissance won’t be the result of an unearthing of classic texts. But, similar to the period of the (capital R) Renaissance, game design is seeing a growth in educational practices (cited above as CMU and IADT) that intelligently and creatively address a medium that achieved mainstream success because of a weird genius and his monkey.

Assuming games deserve and need some sort of cultural renaissance, we may very well be part of it right now. Maybe you should give Flower a try and decide for yourself.