If Games Are Art, Sententia Is A Jackson Pollock Painting

And now for something actually (kind of) different. It’s not about Kickstarter!

I haven’t given up on tearing apart stupid Kickstarter projects. In fact, I’ve been meaning to post about David Crane’s abomination, but I missed the moment of death, so now there’s just no rush. And there’s something else that recently caught my attention. And history has shown that when something catches my attention with regards to this blog, it’s never a good sign for that thing.

If you are unaware (as I would be, were it not for my YouTube addiction), there is an event, of sorts, going on called the Indie Uprising. The idea for this event is to give exposure to the very best of the Xbox Live Indie Games, which Microsoft has shut away harder than Harry Potter. Not that I can blame them. I was excited about the Indie Games channel until I saw the filth that came out of it. Even the very best of XBLIG is worse than most of the Flash games you’ll find on Newgrounds. So maybe the Indie Uprising was doomed from the start. Or maybe really pretentious assholes just shouldn’t run it.

I’m just going to paste the first sentence of the description for one of the games.

Sententia is an “art game” that explores the challenges we face to keep our imagination alive as we grow.”

You know this game is a piece of shit already, right? How could it not be? It calls itself an “art game”. Look, you’re either in the camp that games are art, or that they’re not. I think they are. If you say they’re not, then I just think you’re stupid, and we move on. The developer of Sententia, however, seems to be saying that only some games are art, and Sententia is one of them. I don’t just think he’s stupid. I know it.

What distinguishes an “art game” from other games? If Sententia is any indication, it’s fun. Art games aren’t fun. It’s the perfect excuse to have a shitty game; you weren’t trying to entertain, but to present a deep experience. It’s the same logic that Chris Crawford used with his “educational game”. It wasn’t supposed to be fun, because it was educational.

Don’t buy games from these assholes. These aren’t brilliant game designers revolutionizing interactive entertainment, they’re just the same pretentious dipshits that every industry has. They look down on your “fun” games as not being serious, mature entertainment. And they think that the answer to making games a serious form of art is to remove the element of fun. If it’s not obvious to you why that’s completely retarded, get the fuck off my blog.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way about Sententia. But I feel that I should note that during the research for this post, I found out that the developer of Sententia, Michael Hicks (under the appropriately pretentious pseudonym “MichaelArts”) is only 19 years old. You may think that I’d cut him a little slack because of that. You’d be wrong, because that only makes it worse.

This isn’t some old man *cough*ChrisCrawford*cough* yelling at kids to get off his lawn with their merrymaking and fun video games. This is a fucking kid, who should be all about having fun, and making games because they’re fun. Not to mention, the game is about growing up – something (most) 19-year-olds don’t know shit about. And it utterly fails at its goal anyway – Sententia is about imagination and growing up in the same way that this is about autumn rhythm. If at 19 you’re already as pretentious and misguided as Chris Crawford (one day I’ll get tired of making that comparison), then all hope is lost. Just start charging $150,000 for your environmental simulator, and leave the “art” to the people who understand that it can still involve fun. And, in fact, that it should.

Also, get the fuck off my lawn, you damn kids and your Calls for Duties. Just drive around listening to raps and shooting all the jobs.

9 thoughts on “If Games Are Art, Sententia Is A Jackson Pollock Painting

    • davidgaames says:

      Pretty classic lack of information on where the money is going; just more assets, it seems. Their current art is already better than most indie games, so I certainly don’t see a need to replace those. And $350,000 is a hell of a lot of money to just get some more 3D models in your game.
      I think my problem with this Kickstarter can be summed up from one sentence on their page:
      “We’re small, but we try to do big studio things.”
      My response would be: well, then don’t. A garage band isn’t made better by a multi-million-dollar recording studio. Do your little studio things, and if you are successful based on your gameplay, then go ahead and worry about 100,000-poly normal mapped 3D models. But maybe as an audio engineer, I’m just biased against focusing so much effort on making a game look pretty.

  1. Foyer says:

    Lmao i love reading shit about this game because people have no idea what they are talking about when they do so.

    • davidgaames says:

      The irony of saying that people have no idea what they’re talking about with your sentence structure is not lost on me. To respond to what I think you were trying to say:
      Most of my criticism was of Hicks himself and his apparent attitude toward games and game development, not of Sententia. I simply insinuated that the game isn’t fun. So are you suggesting that I’m missing something there? That perhaps I don’t understand the depth and complexity of its art?

      • My blog isn’t cool enough for trolling comments yet. Someday.

        I thought your post was great, but abrasive as always. You only add the details to make the insults more sincere.

  2. […] but the game itself is stunning in every way. This is a criminally under-exposed game. Unlike Sententia, this is not an “art game”. It is a work of art, and the only game I recommend […]

  3. […] did that get weird? I’m only two quotes in, and already this Kickstarter page is nearing Sententia levels of pretentiousness. It’s fine if you want to evoke an emotion with your game, but if […]

  4. Bemused Doctor says:

    I’m rather surprised and bemused by the bad press Sententia got.
    Had you insulted the countless deaths and laborious experimentation required to progress through the game, I would have understood. That was the intent of the game, I believe– to show the struggle involved in creative processes– but for a lot of people, the game can become very frustrating as a result of that.

    Your personal vendetta against the creator, based almost solely on his one-sentence game description, seems more than irrational. Please take your Lithium and try to find something worth writing about.

    • davidgaames says:

      This blog is art, Doc, and if you don’t understand it, or you don’t like it, that’s not my fault – it’s yours for being such an uneducated, worthless philistine that you couldn’t look past the lack of subject material and see the brilliance of how my art speaks to the human condition. We’re all mad about something, and sometimes we just don’t really know what, so we lash out at things that don’t really deserve our ire. This is an art blog that explores the challenges we face to keep our rage at bay through reading about shitty games. If you’re not mad, then you’re not paying attention.

      There, I just excused any criticism you could possibly make by calling this blog art. I could make shitty games and do the exact same thing, too.

      The reason that I wasn’t directly criticizing the game is the exact reason you said – it would have just been excused as art; as the intent of the title. I was criticizing that attitude, and saying that it’s a poor excuse to make a shitty game. Is every shitty game really just a brilliant piece of art about struggle? Of course not. But if the creator says it is, then it is? No, it’s still just a shitty game, and that’s it.

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