Sielberg has finished one of the three games mentioned, and has gone on to begin the second (previously). In fact, his call to action has been (at least partially) answered. Jason Rohrer, Spielbergs new advisor, makes a meager living designing games that make people cry.
Not surprisingly, Steven Spielberg invoked film as a "model for the medium to follow", but as I've argued before, videogames can model more than just one medium.
"Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggested that [videogames] are equally close to dance, as a medium of performance, or architecture, as a medium of creating unique spaces."
The articles author also gives some insightful comments on the videogame Industry...
"...the Xbox 360 allows games to look more like movies. Walls have textures; battle scenes show remarkably detailed characters moving independently. Such advanced technology, made possible by increased processing power, also raises the cost of developing games, which now run budgets of up to $25 million, including the expenses of licensing characters and music. This in turn influences the type of games that are produced: Of the 10 top-selling games of last year, all were sequels to successful games, tie-ins to hit movies or both."
I gave my own tirade on the Industry a little while back, but Leland's next question honed in on something a little more nuanced:
"As games gain attention as an art form, it remains to be determined just what sort of art they can or should be."
I have been thinking a lot lately about the effects that videogames have on society, through a cultural lens, rather than an artistic one.
First of all, I believe videogames are a volatile medium. Interactive Media is invasive on more than a sensory level - it is deeply psychologically stimulating. Without presupposing any of the effects they have on society at large, lets touch on the effects that videogames have on the brain. I've always been interested by one study in particular: After playing a simulation, subjects of a relatively recent experiment reported that their dreams consistently modeled their virtual experiences. While this was largely a test of procedural memory, it conveyed the effect videogames can have on the subconscious.
I believe that videogames will soon become the most influential of all art forms. They are psychologically invasive, culturally prevalent, and perhaps most importantly, economically viable.
"...the video game industry [compares] to Hollywood of the 1930's, when studios created standards for their products but also imposed formulas for the movies they churned out, with rising budgets and diminishing creative risk-taking."
The key word here is "imposed". I believe innovation and individuality are sold short. Americans may always be more attracted to violence than to subtlety or nuance, but innovation does sell. While Gears of War and Halo may top the charts, flOw, Mirror's Edge, Braid, and Little Big Planet all experienced market success. Perhaps the most convincing argument for risk is the Wii, which continues to outsell it's competitors combined. While it will and should always be a presence, the Industry currently stifles individuality and innovation, propagating values that I find myself questioning far too often. It's the responsibility of independent artists to counterbalance the industry's broadcast with their own unique frequencies.
"'What you need now is a garage band aesthetic, or independent film aesthetic for games,'"
I see it as an insult to the medium, and to, well, life. Is the real world so dull, or depressing that it should be played out in a simulation bereft of imagination? Why should a videogame abandon all semblances of artistry in favor of realism?
"'You're building the world from scratch. Why does it have to look like the world we live in?'"
Until then, however, I have a few ideas about what games should be like. In my opinion, videogames should always aspire to some level of fantasy, be it a personal aestheticism, dramatic presentation, narrative singularity, or actual elements of the fantastic. Only games set in an historical context should strive for unadulterated realism.