Jonathan Blow's Montreal Int'l Games Summit Presentation

braid.jpg Jonathan Blow pops up occasionally on the news radar, either in relation to his game Braid or in regards to his view on the nature of games today (frequently both in combination). He's ever so helpfully provided a zip file including the full audio of his Montreal International Games Summit presentation (given a couple of days ago) entitled "Design Reboot" and all his slides from the lecture. The presentation clocks in at one hour, a not insignificant time investment - Blow complains in his blog that "a number of news sites have written stories about it and people have started commenting on what they feel is the validity or the invalidity of the arguments," but the comments are only taking into account 2% of the whole speech. I'd venture a guess it's because that 2% is the stuff we've heard before, and the most likely to spur discussion (and calling modern MMO design "unethical" will usually do that). Rock, Paper, Shotgun sums up one of the hot points of the lecture thusly:

Blow attacks World of Warcraft, describing the grind of leveling and the reward system inherent in that as "lying to the players", and even suggests that designers should be ashamed of exploiting illusory level-based mechanics. He argues that games are, like film and literature, becoming a powerful medium in which creators will be able to make choices they can be ashamed of. He wonders whether games as they are currently executed could lead to a "societal problem". Gasps and nervous laughter rises from the audience as Blow delivers his ideas, an audience which reportedly included uncomfortable-looking reps from Blizzard ....

There's more, of course (including going after the 'moral dilemma' of the Little Sisters in Bioshock that has been much discussed), but if it sounds interesting, you can head over to the Braid blog and snag the files.


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