THE SURREALIST VIDEO GAME MANIFESTO
(This manifesto is partly a joke, so don't take all of it seriously, specially where I say video games are better than every form of art, and that gamers shall rule the world)
Video games are the newest form of expression, video games allow us to exist in more complex ways and to experience basic things such as movement and looking around in a whole new level, this is why we need to push this new medium to find a unique voice and to distance himself from the lowest forms of art, such as cinematography, painting, and uh, literature.
This manifesto is intended to push a kind of game that breaks reality and a whole new level, than even Buñuel and Dali could never imagine to do.
1. Games should aim to break reality, Love the glitch, embrace the glitch, the glitch is the only thing that breaks the reality of the player and making him face his existence in a completely different way.
2. Movement and decisions are the language of video games, not simple interaction. The machine, contrary to a normal software, is not passive but active and part of the DIALOGUE (creating a double interaction) between the player and the machine. Games are a dance between two individuals.
3. Just as there are indie devs, there should be indie critics, and most importantly indie players. If games are existence, then playing is the art of existing, and indie players should excel at existing in games, rebel, confront and exploit the game in ways that the developer did not intend you to do it, but most importantly, be irrational, never think about what the dev wants you to do, never think, never, stab the game. Scream, and, just like a dancer, or like a figure of a mannerist painting, stretch and distort your body as humanly possible, for is the only way of proving your existence, rebel.
In conclusion, games should aim to break (not deny !) the reality of the human experience, allowing us to enrich the human experience in ways unique to our medium, this will allow us to transcend humanity. Through the constant reinterpretation of the space surrounding us and the way we impact that space we shall be able to look at the world in a way only plausible in the XXI century, a way in which the gamer shall rule the world babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
Leaving all the fascist irony behind, I do think that video games, just like theatre, has the capacity of breaking the reality of the actor/player, the difference being that theatre is always confined by the "rules" of this world, and games are not. This is why games need to strive to sub-verse rules and systems, instead of just creating others that push us further out of our already alienated lives.
Art is life, and every form of art is here to close the gap between us and life, we shouldn't be looking at different kinds of art as mutually exclusive mediums, because, if anything, that's where the strength of video games (or digital interactive media) is : in its capacity to enhance all the other languages and potentially "break" them, making them move in ways that they couldn't before, not only in the production (the usage of new technology to produce traditional art (like digital painting, 3D animation, etc...), this would be the part that enhances old media) but also in the way we experience them, this is where it "breaks" them.
This seems obvious, but what I am trying to say is that, even if studies in game design are great (really, they are !), I think it is important to understand that the specificity of this art lies in its capacity to combine different languages in a system in which the player exists. However, this for me is really frightening, because the conclusion that I reach in the end of this semi-ironic manifesto is the conclusion that most of people that think "deeply" about games reach; games are a total-art, they surpass all other experiences, because you can now "truly" live (and leave) these experiences (this world). The gamer hates life, it despises true experience.
This view of the art world shows our very escapist view of life, but also a very reductive knowledge of art itself, as many movements (such as DADA and surrealism, but even De Vinci and Plotin said it) specially find that art finds its uniqueness in the fact that the spectator gives meaning to the work of art, and not only the author, and that art is not here for the beauty (l'art pour l'art) but as way to something bigger.
I think I'm getting off the trails here, so let's try to conclude, what I'm trying to say is that people act as if the diffusion of the barrier separating spectator and author is something that games invented, but theatre has been exploring it since the beginning of the XX century, and Duchamp dedicated his whole life to this same idea of the co-author, the player.
Now, don't get me wrong, this is not to say that games are not art or some shit like that, in any case I don't really care if it's called art or not, I just think that by acting as if games are this brand new, spawned out of nothing, form of art, we're shooting ourselves in the foot, as this history (just as net-art, and installations) is also ours, and the comparison to more mediums than cinematography and literature should be made. Compare video games to all sorts of things, architecture, dance, music, the avenues are gigantic, and all this signs and languages belong to us ! As games are as broad and powerful as we want them to be, because before being an art form they are a whole new existence, a system (or multiple ones) in which we already live in (after all, the majority of our social interactions are mediated to the games called "twiter", "facebook" and all these social media), this is why it has a liberating, almost revolutionary power inside of it, but it wont wake up if we hide in our shells of already approved notions of what a game is (that tend to be formed from a few number of companies), notions that most of the time tend to want to sells us the idea of existing in a world separate from ours.
Few games try to remind us of our place and that all of this is happening in our computer at all times, I'm not talking about breaking the fourth wall (notion that was invented by Diderot to describe an illusory wall that was created in the stage that separated spectator and actors, proving that theatre is way closer to video games than what we would first think, since you can't actually break the fourth wall in any other media), but of completely denying it's existence ! Something like RUNONCE(remember_me), where since the beginning the game points constantly to the fact that this little guy is really living inside your computer, and that by opening this program you're killing him, hell it even forces you to go to the task manager to "kill" your friend, it doesn't simulate windows interfaces just as ARMAGAD did, it literally just uses those of your computer.
Anyways, I do not know where I am getting with all of this, I do want to say that I don't think that I am the beholder of some unknown truth, maybe video games do need to be more abstract from reality, but as I see it art and life are very much the same thing, and setting us further apart from it would only cause us great, unmeasurable amounts of pain.
-Electrick pancakes, BigBlack00