Monday, June 27, 2011

Writers and the Supreme Court ruling.

If you follow game news at all, I'm sure you just heard that the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of video games being deemed "art" according to the law of the land.

Ok, technically the ruling was about if California's law restricting the sale of violent video games was constitutional, but really the debate boiled down to whether video games were protected by the First Amendment.

As a game-player who radically loves artistic games, this is definitely a win. But more than that, as an up-and-coming author, I think this ruling is awesome. It adds credibility to video games, and if current trends keep up that will prove a good thing for all of us authors that, more than likely, will end up working on video games at some point.

Has anyone else noticed how much fantasy authors are working in other medium lately? It's not just that every story these days seems to be getting made into television shows, comic books, novels, movies, and video games. I think what's really happening is that people are starting to realize if you want a compelling story told in long format, you should try a novelist and in particular a fantasy novelist. As Tolkien put it (more or less) in his essay on Fairie Stories: fantasy writers create the same character-driven, gripping stories other genres do, but we add in enormous world-building, and at least in my experience we're the only ones who so regularly work with such giant story arcs where the whole world is in jeopardy, and it's these skills that lend themselves so well to things like video games and television.

It's not just George R. R. Martin who's writing episodes for "Game of Thrones." He invented that world, after all. No, it's more than that: One of the most emotionally moving Dr. Who episodes in living memory was written by Neil Gaiman, and the much-anticipated game "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" was largely written by R. A. Salvatore. As an author, not only would I love to see games made of my worlds, but I'd honestly love to just work on a video game in its own right.

I know most authors don't care if what they do is labelled "art" by the masses, but I for one think the distinction is important. Fantasy novels and video games are some of the most important and influential art forms being worked in today, and I love seeing either one getting the notice it deserves.

So, yeah, that may have meandered a bit, but I really am excited to see video games win in front of the Supreme Court. Now it's time to go write that book that's worthy of being made into a great piece of interactive art.

1 comment:

  1. You really need to play Nier. The game is a bit mediocre but the story is absolutely an incredible testament to how the medium can use its unique position to tell a story. (I say this mostly because the game wouldn't work if it were a book/movie/play/etc.)

    Also you still have my copy of Dragon Age, you punk. XD