Jenova Chen and the human psyche

In an interview with Mashable, thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen discusses his hopes for video games becoming a more respected medium. He feels that a lack of diversity in game design and genre is preventing games from reaching enough people. More importantly, they are not affecting these audiences in a way that is memorable or moving:

“There is more power in these games when you are doing it right. I think certain types of feelings can heal and change people, can make their lives better… We want to make a positive change to the human psyche worldwide, even if you think it’s just entertainment.”

I remember being deeply affected by Journey. As my little wanderer struggled through the harsh elements, I felt a sense of companionship. And more impressively, the journey itself was the only narrative device in the game. In other words, playing the game created the story, as opposed to having discrete cutscenes trigger at specific moments. This is a form of storytelling unique to video games.

I highly recommend reading the original Mashable interview, seeing as this is only a part of the discussion that took place. Chen is a gifted developer who pushes the medium, and as gamers we are lucky to have someone like that making games. Journey and Flower are two strong arguments for claiming video games are an art form. I believe that is an argument worth making if we want our passion to be taken seriously by a larger audience.

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