Monday, November 06, 2006

a video game designer on Mythopoeia


I occasionally read Gameustra , a game developer's magazine. I recently discovered that most of the articles I enjoyed were by one man: Ernest W. Adams. Take this article for instance, on the Silmarillion and Beethoven's ninth:

"Tolkien's creation myth irresistibly brings Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to mind, so much so that I sometimes wonder if Tolkien was inspired by it. The Ninth Symphony consists of five movements. In the first three, the orchestra explores three very different themes. But in the fourth movement, a conversation takes place between the cellos, which are clearly a teacher, and the violins, which are the pupils. One after another, the violins start to play each of the themes of the first three movements. Each time, the cellos cut them off with an emphatic negative. Finally, timidly, the violins introduce a new theme. The cellos encourage them, and the theme expands into the soaring Ode to Joy that is the fifth movement."

-Tolkien, Beethoven, Vision

Who would expect to read that in a game designers magazine?
Some of his more interesting looking articles are:

Will Computer Games Ever Be A Legitimate Art Form?
The Role of Architecture in Video Games
In the Beginning Was the Word
Dogma 2001: A Challenge to Game Designers
What’s On the Designer’s Bookshelf?

Besides quoting Tolkein, he's a fan of my fav. writers on architecture, Christopher Alexander.

Anyway he pointed me to this book which I quote:

"A beautifully designed videogame invokes wonder as the fine arts do, only in a uniquely kinetic way. Because the videogame must move, it cannot offer the lapidary balance of composition that we value in painting; on the other hand because it can move it is a way to experience architecture, and more than that to create it, in a way which photographs or drawings can never compete. If architecture is frozen music, then a video game is liquid architecture."

-Steve Poole, Trigger Happy: the inner life of videogames

But, to link this to the previous post, I think video games can often help us appreciate nature as art, because you are suddenly aware that everything in that enviroment is designed and controlled and crafted for beauty, and it's not different in our world.

2 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

but you do realize that video games are a major culprit in pulling young kids out of trees and gluing them to a screen inside. right?
just the same, this post makes me want to reconsider my total negative stance on vid games.

11/07/2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Stejahen said...

Perhaps, I'm not much of a gamer, but my favorite games, seemingly ironically, have driven me outside to climb trees and inside to read books.

11/15/2006 10:39 PM  

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