Saturday, February 03, 2007

Great Entertainment in History

Shakespeare wrote some good stuff apparently. He did it on his own.
J.K.Rowling wrote the Harry potter books on her own. They are very very popular.
War and Peace is huge, and very good, and was written by one guy.
Jane Austen wrote pride and Prejudice on her own.
Beethoven came up with some pretty cool stuff. he did it alone. A long time later, people still think his stuff is pretty cool.

Generally, people think that you can't make a good video game on your own. They think you need at least 100 people, and 10 million dollars. If you can get patrick stewart to do the voices, and licence spongebob squarepants, it's a sure hit.

I'm pretty convinced none of the people in the above list ever thought they needed any of that crap.
The general consensus is that great pieces of entertainment in written or orchestral form *must* be the work on a single individual, or (at most) 2 people of similar skills or tastes. The thought of 20 people collaborating on a decent bit of drama, or a symphony, is just laughable.

It's true that some games have a single designer, and many more people just doing art / code, but surely all of the contribute towards the final design, be it visual, auditory or in terms of interaction. Every single icon in World Of Warcraft contributes to the effect that game has on the player, every texture, every sound, every nuance of game mechanic. It's 100% impossible for the creative mind of one person to filter perfectly through the eyes and hands of so many people to create a consistent vision.

Big Movies, Plays, TV shows and most video games are an imperfect form of creative expression. They are a mish-mash of different ideas, seen through different eyes, stapled together and sold as a consistent vision.
Have you seen those composite CGI images people make of what people consider (when answering surveys) to be the 'perfect woman' or man? It's always something that looks quite weird, and (ironically) ugly. Consensus does not equate to inspiration or high quality, consensus equates to compromise and mediocrity.
Fine art is made by individuals.

That's my thought for the day, as a lone-wolf game developer :D.
Tell me I am wrong.

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