The lights are on
PAX East was a hotbed of intriguing new concepts sprung from the minds of independent developers. At the Indie Megabooth, we had the chance to play the stellar Transistor, the terrifying Outlast, and a clever adventure/puzzle game called The Swapper. While these titles drew attention at the Megabooth, independent developer Will Brierly stood on his own across the floor, demonstrating the daring Soda Drinker Pro (billed as "The most advanced first-person soda drinking simulation in the world"). He was kind enough to sit down with me and share his thoughts on the industry, and you can read them here.
Are video games art?
I’d say so. I think art is all in what you’re trying to do and how well you accomplish it. It could be anything. I think you could make doing taxes an art, if you do it with passion and with your intent on trying to create something. Sometimes it’s about moving someone. Sometimes it’s about not moving them, or making them laugh or cry. But you can do that with music, you can be a hairdresser and do it, or you can do it in video games, and I think a lot of people do that in video games.
Do ESRB ratings provide enough information to parents about potentially objectionable content?
I remember when the ESRB first came out, with Mortal Kombat and all those things. I’m not a parent, but if I was a parent I wouldn’t really think about the rating as much as trying to understand what my kids are into. That way, they can make the decision for themselves. I can see it being helpful at a quick glance and being like, “Oh, my kid’s playing a game where they’re shooting people,” or whatever. I think it’s more important to understand what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking about when they’re playing the game than whether or not they’re going around shooting people. You see it in TV on the news. I remember the first time I shot someone playing as Bond in Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, and I felt really bad. That felt a little too real. It’s an interesting topic.
Do you think that Soda Drinker Pro could model any unhealthy behavior?
I got a message shortly after the release about a woman who drank four 2-liter soda bottles a day, and she died. She was what some would consider the ultimate soda drinker, but she took it to the max. I hope it doesn’t encourage that activity, as it’s all about moderation. That’s the nice thing with playing Soda Drinker Pro – you can experience it without having to do it. I’ve had great responses from food websites who think this is a great activity instead of drinking soda. Other people say it quenches their thirst, but I think it’s whatever you make of it.
Is a download-only future inevitable?
I think we’re headed in that direction. I love getting apps on the Android market and I don’t really buy CDs anymore unless I’m at a concert and I’m getting it right from the band. I really like Steam, I really like all these [download-only services]. I don’t want to have stuff. I like the feelings you get from it. I don’t need pieces of plastic unless it’s a giant arcade game.