Awwww…aren’t those words just vigorating? They’re not my own, ofcourse, it’s Tappan King who’s uttered them to Greg Costikyan. It’s so revolutionary, isn’t it?! Games are setting fiction free to the people!
“the Artist creates, the audience consumes. Games, contrariwise, allow individual players to participate in the creation of their fictional experience. The developers still shape and constrain that experience, to be sure, but there is no experience without the active engagement of the player; the player may well do something with the construct that the developers had not anticipated; and the ultimate experience is a collaboration in which both sides participate, not something handed down from On High by the Great Artiste. It is, in other words, the antithesis of aristocratic; games are a way for everyman to participate in creating his or her own narrative experience. Games are a democratic artform for a democratic age.”
But alas, I’m not ready to say that ‘play’ is fiction or that playing fiction is democratic and nonlinear. It’s just a nice and powerful notion. I suppose I fell for this completely because it is right at the core of my arguments on MMORPGs. There is a sense and a feeling of democracy, but come right down to it, it’s all an illusion. One could maybe compare it to the illusion of democracy in Iraq! Or the freedom to say whatever you want in your e-mails!
But, then again, this is not really what he’s saying either, is it? Democratization of fiction! We’re creating fictions that people can interact with. But we’re not exactly creating a collaborative art form are we? Or are we?
Either way, Mr. Costikyan does a fair assesment of how the industry has yet to democratise! And his answer is the Internet! Isn’t that lovely?
“Just as games are essentially democratic in nature, perhaps the way in which games are sold should also be democratic. That is, gamers should be the gate-keepers and taste-makers, not intermediaries; and the two sides of the equation that actually love games should talk and communicate directly. Rather than the industry being structured in a broadcast, top-down model, it should be structured in a many-to-many, networked model.”
It’s funny, but ever since I got into this whole gaming world scene I’ve always loved the way the communication channels are so incredibly open! Computer game academia is always welcome to comments – well…at least the majority. There are so many lovely blogs out there! Terra Nova for example is such a brilliant gathering of intelligent minds thinking about MMORPGs. Game designers are really starting to come out too and I love that!! Although I find it distressing reading about closure of blogs because gamers are being a tad too hateful towards their game designers. All of them, game developers, gamers and game academics are thinking about some serious things!! EVEN BETTER!!! They’re reading each others blogs, discussing! Now it may not be a true democratic process as of yet, but definitely getting there, I think!! But then I’ve been accused of being too optimistic about these things before!
But this notion of democratising fiction, needs to be chewed on a bit more, I think. And I find it only positive that we’re thinking for democratising the gaming industry as well!