Realism vs. Style

“The larger question at hand, however, is perhaps unanswerable: Is the point of gaming to recreate reality, or should it go beyond realism, into the realm of art?”

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An article at Slashdot debated on this issue by analyzing a very well-known game such as Zelda.

We all know how Nintendo tries to struggle against their karma of “kiddie games”. For sure, that may have been an important fact to mature the looks of our hero Link.

Yet the debate on Style vs. Realism is an important one. If we take a look at the history of pictorial art, it took several centuries for artists to get the necessary knowldege and technique to paint realistic landscapes and human figures. It wasn’t until the renaissance period that fundamental concepts such as perspective and the chiaroscuro where discovered. Since then and till the late XIXth century, realism was the norm. Modern art, broke all those concepts and brought us abstraction, simplified forms, style.

Videogame technology has been obsessed with realism almost throughout all its history. As we discover the techniques that we must master in order to express ourselves in this new medium, realism seems to be our main concern. Yet, once we may achieve this goal, abstraction and style shall emerge. Movies have went through this same process and not only in the visual sense, but also in the narrative styles of their screenplays.

As independent developers, we have to be vanguardists. We shall see further and try to experience with our own particular style. We must not be part of the industry’s main obsession with realism, but a true alternative. Plus… considering not every indie developer has the budget to get a “realisitc” engine, we have no other choice. Smile

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