I am one of those pathetic souls guilty of agonizing over the issue of whether computer games can ever become real art. Yes, I dared give voice and ask questions like:
>> Can Mafia Wars ever come close to leveling up to the emotional tension and soul of the Godfather Trilogy (well, okay, let’s limit it to I and II)?
>> Will the Grapes of Wrath ever be harvested on Farmville?
And so, rather than lock myself in my basement with a flask of cheap bourbon and write yet another one of those why can’t games be more art-like whines, I sneaked away from the kids for a few weekends and made an actual game — something that says something about something.
I won’t ruin it all by making a “statement of artistic intent” or somesuch. I won’t cow-tow about the meta-meaningfulness of satire. But let’s just say that games mean a whole lot to me… and that I’m less than thrilled with the direction the medium is taking since the undeniable triumph of social network games. Also, Moby Dick means a lot to me. As a literary agent I once conned into a meeting once scolded, “You think your novel is experimental? All experimental fiction written since 1850 is just Moby Dick in drag.” That comment got me to carefully re-read the boring brick I had been assigned in High School… and I realized he was right.
If this game exposes a glimmer of what a Great Book can Do to even one person, I will be Happy.
If it hits an ARPU of $0.10 I’ll be even happier.