Ian Bogost is the guy behind a lot of newsgames and training games – and has managed to attract enough attention thanks to some high profile partnerships that he’ll be appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report this coming Tuesday. He’s also come under some hefty criticism from people both inside and outside the gaming industry – most recently, in a Slate article titled (in part) World of Borecraft. Bogost has already responded to the Slate article, but he digs a little deeper in a new Gamasutra piece that explains his reasoning for just not really caring what the more traditional forces in industry think. Namely, games aren’t some monolithic construct that are either/or: either fun or educational, either fun or a total snoozefest, and dammit, there’s room for all of them.
I love video games and I love the games industry, so I used to worry about this a lot. I wanted my games to find a home in the traditional commercial sector. I wanted to delight or impress my big league colleagues. I even thought that maybe one day my style of game would justify a place on the shelf next to their games. And maybe some day it will.
I still have nothing but respect for my more traditional industry colleagues, but I’ve stopped worrying about impressing the games industry and its pundits. Or at least, I’ve stopped worrying about impressing them first.
I gotta give a lot of these guys credit – defending a position gets old – so hopefully this issue will be put to bed for a while. Not every ‘edutainment’ game needs to aspire to Civilization, and a little more diversity in opinions and creativity rarely hurts.