I seem to have a lot going on this year, and I needed to make a list to keep myself straight so that I don’t do something embarrassing like miss a speaking engagement. While I am doing that, I might as well make the list public. If anyone out there wants to meet up at any of these and talk about interesting game design topics, I am up for it.
They don’t have the list of games posted on their page (here is the link summarizing the exhibit), but the list has been emailed to me, so I am sharing it here.
The exhibit seems to be split into four parts: classic / genre-defining games, current experimental games, machinima, and films about games being played.
Braid will be on exhibit, with other interesting games, at the Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Center in GijÃ³n, Spain. The exhibit runs from March 30th until about June 30th, 2007. Here is the main web page for the event.
Babelfish does a pretty good job of Spanish-to-English translation, and I quote:
The Gameworld exhibition explores videojuego as art form and presents/displays contemporary work examples of art related to videojuegos. By means of that double line of investigation, the exhibition explores the videojuegos and computer games like entertainment, form of art, agent of innovation and cultural force.
So, score another point for the Games as Art team. Laboral has not yet posted the full list of games in the exhibit; I’ll announce it here when they do.
Recently, a game about the Columbine High School shooting — in which the player takes the role of the killers and wanders through the school shooting students — was kicked out of the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition, due to pressure from sponsors.
The game lacks compassion, and I find the Artist’s Statement disingenuous. But despite this, the game does have redeeming value. It does provoke important thoughts, and it does push the boundaries of what games are about. It is composed with more of an eye toward art than most games. Clearly, it belongs at the festival.
So, in protest of game’s expulsion, I have dropped Braid out of the competition as well.
This decision has been difficult. Festivals like Slamdance are important to the continued deepening of the independent games movement, and the competition organizers are very hard-working people who understand games. I don’t want to hurt the festival or undermine the efforts of the organizers.
But games should be taken seriously as an art form that can expand the boundaries of human experience. Games can help us to understand situations in a fully-engaged fashion, as participants and co-creators, which the passive media cannot do. As an art form they contain a tremendous power to shift perspective and to heighten wisdom. For the art form to achieve these potentials, game developers need to explore the space of possibilities in earnest. But if games are denied their appropriate level of societal recognition, growth of the form will be very difficult, and human culture will be the lesser for it.
If left unchallenged, the expulsion of the Columbine game sets a precedent in the wrong direction. Dropping Braid out of the competition, while not a huge act, is the strongest protest I have the power to make.
This may seem paradoxical, but I do respect the sponsors’ decision to pressure Slamdance into dropping the Columbine game. They are just preventing their money from supporting something they consider morally reprehensible. So, good for them.
In the unlikely event that Slamdance re-admits the Columbine game, Braid will consent to rejoin the festival as well, assuming they still want it.
Slamdance has announced the finalists of their 2007 Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition and Braid is on the list. So if you are in Park City, Utah, USA between January 18th and January 23rd of 2007, you’ll be able to play the most recent version of the game, as well as attend a talk and Q&A session about the design. Plus you get to see a bunch of other interesting games, and films too.
We’ll provide more details about the day and time of the session as they become available.
Braid will be showing informally at the Texas Independent Games Conference in Austin, Texas, USA on July 22nd and 23rd (Saturday and Sunday). This isn’t an organized thing — developers will be there with the game on their laptops, and will be happy to show it, make it available for play, etc.
Braid will be on exhibit at the Australian Center for the Moving Image, in the Games Lab, from 2nd August through 19th November. This is an exhibition of select games from the Independent Games Festival 2006, so if you stop by you can see lots of interesting work. Braid will be fully playable, but the version of the game is not final — the graphics are still place-holders.