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Default Gamasutra - Is the Industry Ready for Its "Game Noir"?

December 28th, 2007, 22:54
It's a bit quiet out there so we're roaming further from home. Gamasutra has a piece that asks if it is time to break away from the industry's hit reliance and establish a "B" game movement, like Film Noir:
You have to bring millions of dollars to the table just to qualify, which leads to extreme risk aversion by publishers and developers, and a tendency over time to lose players who are tired of the same old thing dressed up in more and more expensive clothes. When your game is backed by tens of millions of dollars, you can't use it as a testing ground for wild new mechanics and dynamics never tried before; however, when you're building a low-budget 2D platformer, even your successful experiments won't make an impact on the medium at large, the "big games" that get everyone talking.

What we've got left is a huge gulf between popular, full-experience 3D action/adventure games that need to be financial blockbusters to survive, and marginalized casual/handheld/movie licensed games that don't register on the mass consciousness radar.

We need our B films. We need that freedom to explore truly meaningful new avenues of interaction, quickly and nimbly, without the pressure of an eight-figure budget and multi-year dev schedule weighing down on the whole enterprise. Noir already scouted this territory for us.
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December 28th, 2007, 22:54
Don't we already have our film noir developers? Jeff Vogel, Bay 12's Dwarf Fortress, the recklessly original hybrid games coming out of Eastern Europe, Matrix Games and Battlefront.com…
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December 28th, 2007, 23:15
Of course, but perhaps the author was too busy playing Bioshock or another AAA title to notice this.
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December 28th, 2007, 23:55
Originally Posted by Stormwaltz View Post
Don't we already have our film noir developers? Jeff Vogel, Bay 12's Dwarf Fortress, the recklessly original hybrid games coming out of Eastern Europe, Matrix Games and Battlefront.com…
I think the issue is that those games do not function as a part of the industry, they work outside of it. They're like independent films, while film noir as a sub-genre was not a part of independent filmmaking.
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December 29th, 2007, 00:21
I fully acknowledge this quotation from above.

We need such a thing. Definitively.

And I do hope that with this absent of anti-risk game development/policy, we might see fun again, a thing that got lost beneath heaps of money.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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December 29th, 2007, 06:52
i don't know i think its kind of already there with 'budget' games which have been released lately that are much less buggy and have alot more potential than those of the past. in the past couple of years i've played a number of theses games which are much more niche games kind of like a b movie than wide reaching big budget games. some examples of these games are: neuro hunter, shadowgrounds, alien shooter vengeance, alpha prime. all of these are akin to the cheesy b sci fi movies out there except these excel in the fact that while they may be just as unrealistic they actually have some really good gameplay which i'm not sure what a movies equivalent would be.
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January 1st, 2008, 17:43
While B-games certainly exist, just like B-movies, Brother None's point about those games existing outside the mainstream industry rather than being part of it is spot-on. The B-games are out there in droves, but they are not incorporated into mainstream coverage and consideration, which is the point I believe the article is trying to make, they don't exist on the mass audience radar.
I think the mainstream press could certainly find room for these games, and in small ways it does happen here and there (GfW magazine often has coverage of lesser-known games for example), but it's not all up to the press. The audience needs to recognise the games as well, and all the press coverage in the world won't matter if people don't care. Which is kind of the tricky part, people need to look outside the latest flashiest AAA graphics extavaganzas. Once that happens, "game noir" has a fighting chance of acceptance and acknowledgement.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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