Paradigm Shift: How Neil Gaiman just proved, irrefutably, that games are art
My friends, we have just witnessed a paradigm shift. Nothing will ever be the same. "Games are art" is not an ambiguous, subjective statement anymore. Neil Gaiman has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are.
A few hours ago, a video was posted of Neil Gaiman, celebrated and critically acclaimed author, introducing his upcoming videogame, Wayward Manor, created by indie developer The Odd Gentlemen. This video is, quite possibly, the most exciting thing I have seen in my history as a gamer. In it, Gaiman talks about the basic concept of the game, and exhorts us to help fund it and support it. Now, for us gamers, this kind of video is nothing new, but if we analyze the video, we realize that this is an incredible document. Allow me to illustrate how:
-Gaiman said he had the idea for the story, but that as he wrote it, he felt that he could not find a medium to properly tell the story in until he decided to make it a game. This means that he didn't write the story FOR the game, the game was made BECAUSE of the story. Which means that the story, instead of being made with the limitations of gaming in mind, is being developed with the limitations of OTHER MEDIA in mind. It is being made as a game because no other medium would do. This is a powerful statement about the potential for storytelling gaming has over other media(and Gaiman himself, in the video, refers to himself as more of a storyteller than a writer).
-The game is being made by an indie developer, The Odd Gentlemen. This shows that indie gaming is a MUCH more valid enterprise than people give it credit for, and that it's a field that can easily attract high-profile creators. Not only that, but Gaiman acknowledges The Odd Gentlemen as fellow artists and storytellers. Coming from Gaiman, who is considered one of the greatest authors of modern media, this is a powerful endorsement.
-The game will have a Kickstarter-style funding campaign. This means that Gaiman and the developers are putting the success of the endeavor in our hands. This is further proof of the very real connection between fans and creators that gaming has beyond any other medium. After all, there may be fans of, say, painting, but how many people actually go to a gallery and actually BUY a painting? How many people actually pay an artist to commission a painting. That kind of direct support to artists is the purview of the rich. Gaming, on the other hand, has fans of all stripes and income groups who are willing to give support to what they see as a genuine work of art.
We, as the community of gaming, need to support this kind of endeavor. We have an opportunity here to prove to fans of other media the validity of our medium of choice. And we need to thank Neil Gaiman for not only wanting to bring us one of his wonderful tales through our medium of choice, but also for, whether purposely or inadvertently, giving gaming the greatest endorsement it's had in decades, if not its entire existence as a medium.
Let's make Wayward Manor a success. It'll be a clear message that gaming is here to stay, is valid as an artistic medium, and the nay-sayers need to deal with it.