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Maturity, skill, and craft: why games as art conversations usually miss the point

Maturity, skill, and craft: why games as art conversations usually miss the point

This is an interesting conversation from Derek Yu (Spelunky), and he attempts to separate theme and craft when we talk about games as art, or try to evaluate them as such. It's kind of an abstract conversation, but the problem is that we tend to evaluate the "maturity" of games based on themes, and not the craft that goes into them.

You can have an incredibly immature game that was made with an insane amount of skill, and likewise you can have a game that explores grown up themes that's made poorly. Yu brings up Dragon's Crown, and that's a great way to think about this designation. Amazing craft, childish theme.

Once you distinguish between the two, conversations about games can become much more interesting. The original Duke Nukem 3D was immature, it made no concessions to good taste, but the craft behind its creation is top notch. There's sometimes more to be gained discussion those titles are there is from dissecting games with a more "adult" theme but less proficient mechanics or understanding of player behavior.

I love these discussions, because it opens the door for a different sort of game to be thought of in artistic terms. I still consider Rock Band to be the best evidence of games as art.