Brainy Gamer: Dissident designer

Michael Abbott over at Brainy Gamer (which happens to be a great, great blog on video games you should be subscribed to) wrote a great profile on Jonathan Blow.

For those who don’t know, Blow is the radical game developer who opened our brains and poked at it with Braid.  I thoroughly enjoyed Braid both inside out and backwards forwards.  He is now working on a new game called The Witness and that looks set to be another mind-opening puzzle adventure.

Abbott writes of Blow as having a very significant role to play in the industry, by fervently voicing out a strong loathing for the way the industry is currently handling video games and its consumption by the public.  This is the bit that sums up the article best:

Jon Blow expresses contempt for mainstream games and the industry producing them (“The de facto reference for a video game is a shitty action movie…”), because reinforcing torpid conventions is antithetical to his existence. When Blow says, ”I think the mainstream game industry is a fucked-up den of mediocrity,” he feels it as much as he thinks it, and the resultant indignation fuels his drive to make something better.

That’s what progressive artists do. They get worked up. They express outrage. They see great untapped potential suffocating in a toxic cloud of derivative convention. Their determination to move the art/medium/industry forward carries with it a kind of messianic zeal that some perceive as presumptuous. But it comes from a principled fervent place. An artist must love a thing before he can hate it enough to want to save it.

The video game industry is still in its infancy, and in order for it to reach maturation in the “right” way, if Blow is to be believed, it will require more “dissident designers” and a well-informed public to effect a change.  Not everyone is going to agree with Blow’s point of view, and that’s fine, because we wouldn’t want only a singular point of view, but at the very least, I am comforted by the thought that with people like Blow, we are finally coming out of the game industry’s very own Dark Ages, and is on its way to Enlightenment.