What do you think of Jonathan Blow?
Pretentious
11.1% (75)
11.1% (75)
Genius
2.5% (17)
2.5% (17)
Douchebag
6.2% (42)
6.2% (42)
Pretentious Genius
3.7% (25)
3.7% (25)
Pretentious Douchebag
52.9% (358)
52.9% (358)
Ingenius Douchebag
2.1% (14)
2.1% (14)
Pretentious Ingenius Douchebag
14.9% (101)
14.9% (101)
Other
5.8% (39)
5.8% (39)
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Poll: Gaming is "...juvenile, silly, and intellectually lazy" says Jonathan Blow.

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This guy has a god complex rivaling mine.

That gets on my nerves.

I believe I speak for gamers everywhere, when I say...

*steps up to mic* *ahem*

Your FACE is juvenile, silly and intellectually lazy!

this kind of generalize is never good. it doesn't help your view of this guy when he says stuff like that. insulting him doesn't help either

Kahunaburger:
Now, don't get me wrong, JoBlo is pretty pretentious, but he's not being "disrespectful of the medium" when he says most games are trying to be shitty action movies. That's not an unfair assessment of a lot of AAA titles.

Seconded. It sounds like a case of glass houses for me to criticize someone with an ego problem, but Blow's message tends to get muddied in this intense demeanor of... I want to say he seems kind of angry at the world in general. He claims to be an existentialist, and while I don't know the guy well enough to say how sincere he is about that, he certainly has the grouchiness I would expect from an existentialist.

He's not technically wrong, but he's also not the rhetorician he thinks he is.

"But the game industry's harshest critic is also its most cerebral developer, a maverick bent on changing the way we think about games and storytelling."

Methinks biased journalist is biased.

IMO Braid is somewhat art-like but compared to something like Bioshock, which has an expansive and in depth critique of objectivist society infused in every aspect of its design, Braid's one line metaphor seems lazy by comparison.

Besides, sometimes I like to come home and take a break from composing symphonies while interpreting abstract art to relax and play something simple.

He comes off as more cynical/dismissive than pretentious/entitled to me. He's pretty much a douchebag, but he has a strong point by pointing out the flaws of mainstream gaming.

Braid is a very good game and it's amazing that he did it all by himself but HOLY SHIT, would gaming be boring if every game tried to be like that.

I'd say he's a super video game elitist, maybe the worst I've come across. Yes, artistic games are nice to look at. They can be innovative and show how impressive games can be. But at the end of the day, video gaming is just entertainment. I wouldn't want to play a game that looks nice but is boring as heck. Is it really all that juvenile and lazy to want be entertained when playing a game?

remnant_phoenix:

Das Boot:
I wonder how long its going to take these "art" folks to realise that the purpose of a game is to entertain us.

Is gaming just an entertainment medium? Or can it be an artistic medium as well? Where is the line between art and entertainment?

Games can be both entertainment and art, but entertainment should always come first. That's true for movies, music, TV, and pretty much everything as well as games.

If I am not moved in any fashion by what you put in front of me, then I couldn't give a tuppenny fuck whether or not it qualifies as 'art'. People who sacrifice any and all entertainment value for the purposes of making an artistic statement are some of the most irritating example of 'missing the point' people I know, because the only way you get your audience to give a shit about whatever kind of 'statement' your making is if you actually get them invested first, and the only way to get them invested is to remember that they came to you to be entertained. Why is this so hard for people like Blow to get when fucking Shakespeare proved this point hundreds of years ago?

If thinking this makes me "juvenile, silly, and intellectually lazy" to Jonathan Blow and his ilk, then so be it. I'll just go back to having my worthless 'fun', and hope he let's me know when he decides to actually create something original and ground-breaking, rather than just Hipster Mario (because those were the two words going round in my head all the time I was playing Braid).

I voted for douchebag simply because he tried to generalize all games as one.

Yes, it's true that there are many games that are juvenile, silly, and intellectually lazy.
But at the same time there are games which are art, deep and push the intellect of the player to its maximum.
Gaming consists of a really broad specter of games. There will be every kind you can think of. From simply retarded to extremely good. Generalizing was never a good idea and it didn't change in the case of gaming.

Anyone trying to generalize something that consists of many units is nothing but a douche.

P.S. Braid is just a Mario game with time manipulation and "artistic" graphics. Even the enemies look like Gumba(is that the name?) from Mario.

anthony87:

EDIT: Skimmed over the first page, got to the Tai-Chi bit. Is it just me or does the writer of the article seem to have a creepily high level of hero worship-or something along those lines-for Mr. Blow?

No, it`s not just you, if you read the rest of it it won`t change. I got the vibe this guy was trying hard to express his gay feelings towards Blow since he hates games in general and doesn`t seem to have any knowledge of gaming at all. I mean everyone here agrees that Braid wasn`t the second comming of Christ. Why should a guy who hates gaming praise Braid/Blow like this if not for being madly in love?

"It`s all for love" is the ultimate answer to me. I just hope this article doesn`t got him any chances and he was left heartbroken afterwards.

...
Another thougt:
Maybe im just not getting it at all since it`s an art thing. Mere gamers fail to understand this higher thinking...hehe, yeah.

Binnsyboy:
I believe I speak for gamers everywhere, when I say...

*steps up to mic* *ahem*

Your FACE is juvenile, silly and intellectually lazy!

/thread

*thunderous applause

*more applause that is totally NOT meant to ward of mods for low content.

remnant_phoenix:
So I found this article...

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/the-most-dangerous-gamer/8928/1/

...and it was an interesting read. It really sheds light on how Blow and his "followers" view the industry as a whole. SPOILER: They are very critical of it. They decry gaming in general as "...juvenile, silly, and intellectually lazy."

Now, I really liked Braid, but the author of this article seems like fawning Jonathan Blow fanboy who strongly implies that Braid is the prime (perhaps ONLY) example of games as art.

Yeah...

So this has the potential for a good discussion. Let's commence.

Isn't gaming in general juvenile, silly and intellectually lazy? I must have missed something, because that pretty much describes most games from where I'm standing.

FargoDog:
And now, Fargo's list of 'artistic' games that are considerably better than Braid -

Ico
Shadow of the Colossus
Journey
Flower
The Path
Dear Esther
Lone Survivor
Electroplankton
Okami
Limbo
Bastion

Dear Esther is better than Braid? DE isn't even a game...

The other game that I've played on that list, Bastion, isn't even comparable to Braid because one is a puzzle game whilst the other is a button masher beat 'em up.

Lone Survivor I have just started and is potentially a contender.

Das Boot:

Is gaming just an entertainment medium? Or can it be an artistic medium as well? Where is the line between art and entertainment?

The line is between boring and WHEEE! There are some games that have made the two into one, but with the ego in that "article" it makes it hard to agree with anything said. Hell he could call me and tell me about gravity and I couldn't agree with him.

So are movies and most other forms of media. Enough said.

Blade_125:

JasonKaotic:
He preaches originality, right?
Take the wheel, Dorkly.


What was his surname again...?

Wow, that is freaking fantastic. Thank you for posting that (although I probably shouldn't have watched it at work. Hard to hold in the laughing).

You're welcome (;
Dorkly's stuff is hilarious. Have moar!
Edit: Looking through, most of the stuff on page 1 isn't that good. Try page 2 onwards.

Yosharian:
Dear Esther is better than Braid? DE isn't even a game...

The other game that I've played on that list, Bastion, isn't even comparable to Braid because one is a puzzle game whilst the other is a button masher beat 'em up.

Lone Survivor I have just started and is potentially a contender.

Why wouldn't they be comparable? You'd be comparing them on artistic merit, since this Blow guy seems to his game is superior in that way.

2fish:
The line is between boring and WHEEE! There are some games that have made the two into one, but with the ego in that "article" it makes it hard to agree with anything said. Hell he could call me and tell me about gravity and I couldn't agree with him.

Quoted for truth.

I just saw an inflated sense of self worth, didn't hold much value for me. It would if he actually made a good game.

Why are people giving so much media space to idiots these days?
Are they so desperate to get more viewers that they need to whore out this much?

Das Boot:
I wonder how long its going to take these "art" folks to realise that the purpose of a game is to entertain us.

Fucking this!!!

So Jonathan Blow is using all his money to make the most intellectually ambitious video game in history?
That's really great if you can do it. But pardon us for being sceptical since I've lost count on how many times we were promised great things.

Yosharian:
The other game that I've played on that list, Bastion, isn't even comparable to Braid because one is a puzzle game whilst the other is a button masher beat 'em up.

Lone Survivor I have just started and is potentially a contender.

So? Are you telling me I can't say that Return of the King is a better movie than The King's Speech because they're from different genres?

Cause boy, do I ever disagree with that logic. (The Academy Awards do, too, but they still gave King's Speech an Oscar or three, so that's neither here nor there.)

Well, it seems to me that Jonathan Blow really does blow after all...

Captcha: in the club (Feeling all Gangsta now ^_^)

Well the article is worthless. The writer is obviously misrepresenting Blow. Very Bias and lacks Method. Waste of time to read it.

The video posted earlier (interview) was interesting. Especially the part about game classification. However I'm not sure his thought was fully formed. Yes games are classified by their mechanics, but that doesn't mean that doesn't translate to the emotion you experience. You don't pick up a survival hoor game and expect light hearted antics do you? There's also the fact that unlike other mediums, games rely on user imput. The type of action involved is an important factor in what a person will chose to play. Someone who is comfortable with a certain persective, control method, etc, will enjoy the game more because they are familier with it. Mechnical classification therefore helps to inform them of what they should purchase.

His second topic about Japanese games fell flat for me. everything he said was true (though generalised in a big way) but he made no mention of who these games were primarily aimed at. Easy games for new players. New players have been Nintendo (the defact standard of japanese gaming) 's prime market for the last few years. It's kind of worrying that he as a game designer is acting oblivious to the concept of audience. The idea does fit with the auteur image he wears.

In fact that's going to be my answer for the poll: he's an auteur (guess that comes under other)

I can respect games made for the sake of art, or for the sake of putting forward unique or challenging ideas. The same way I can respect paintings or film or literature for doing the same.

That said, Braid got about two hours of play out of me before I decided I wasn't a fan of the mechanics and the overblown in-betweeny narrative elements were taking themselves a bit too seriously for my blood, and walked away. So from the perspective of a gamer, Braid failed me.

Being too smart for the room is a good way to make yourself feel good, and I won't deny Braid sold well... but build a track record before talking yourself up as the new savior of gaming intellectuals.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

erttheking:
You know, Notch and Gabe don't go running around shouting about how awesome they are, mainly because they aren't insecure little prima donnas.

And funnily enough, neither is Blow. Funny how people are so quick to respond to what they think someone said, not what they actually said.

Blow has never tried to big up his own worth, proclaim his own genius, or in any way try to say that his games are better than everyone else's. As others have already mentioned, he's already given plenty of praise to other indie games and developers. His ire seems to be reserved for the mainstream AAA gaming industry. And right now, I can't say I blame him. Triple A games are more popular now than ever, yet Call Of Duty and Battlefield are every bit as braindead as Doom and Wolfenstein were when they created the FPS genre twenty years ago.

and this is exactly the problem, right here...

Call of Duty and Battlefield are not the be all and end all of AAA gaming! Seriously, it pisses me off when people talk like this. Yes, those are two huge titles, but there are plenty of other, different, mainstream titles as well out there selling millions, and I could name plenty that have far more to say about far more relevant things than Braid or many other 'art games' ever did, and they manage this as well as being fun of all things!

Yes, we get it. Call of Duty doesn't have a lot going on upstairs, but pulling it, and often nothing else, out every time to make a point about how the whole of AAA gaming is dumb, is as stupid as someone crying "This black guy scored low on a test! This means all black guys must be dumb... right?"

Also, you know what, maybe that dumb kid kicks ass on the basketball court. That's as valid a talent to have as having book smarts no?

So... This "Witness" game... It's pretty much Half-Life without guns, then, judging by the description. Half-Life mixed with Myst.
He's doing it again...

remnant_phoenix:
snip

Actually scratch my last post. Blow certanly is pretentious as fuck, but I mostly agreed with stuff that he said. And a developer who isn't like other ball-sucking developers, that is, at least acknowledges that the AAA industy in not good(to say the least) automatically gets a plus from me.

Well: Godspeed Mr. Blow.
Hope you do make something great.
Disregard most of these butthurt comments. The Escapist is a mellow community, so they have an allergy on outspoken individuals.

anthony87:
EDIT the second: Start of the second page...slagging off Skyrim? Really? I didn't think if was possible for me to take this tripe any less seriously.

Skyrim is a dumb game, the RPG equivalent of COD. Don't know why are you surprised and angered.

Ick. Zoned out when I saw the word 'existentially' and then I completely stopped reading when I saw that he reads Eastern Philosophy.

What a pretentious hipster git.

However, despite being a pretentious hipster git, he is right in saying that for the most part the games industry is full of developers producing shitty, juvenile, silly and intellectually lazy games for shitty, juvenile, silly and intellectually lazy people.

But this is true of all mediums really.

I honestly don't know who the biggest douchebag is, Blow himself or the author. Since this is an article, I'll go with the latter.

EDIT: You know, after watching that interview with him on Gamespot, I'll definetly say that that it's the author of the article that's to blame here. Blow actually has a lot of good points about modern games, like how they hold your hand too much etc. etc.

I don't relly agree with all his points and he does come off as slightly pretentious, but I can live with it.

JasonKaotic:
He preaches originality, right?
Take the wheel, Dorkly.


What was his surname again...?

We need to troll him by flooding his e-mail account with e-mails with this video, or link to this video, in them.

Also, tweet the link to him in mass.

Show him what his pretentious, and unoriginal, attitude gets him.

I can see where he is coming from.......but he BLOWS it out of proportion :D

I'll be here all night.

*walks off stage*

Ahem....well, yes. I wonder how many games John has played growing up. Is challenging not good enough? Games are plenty challenging, but why must they be intellectually thought provoking as well? And isn't challenge and puzzles thought provoking in its own right? I hate this hipster attitude that games are for retards unless its artsy. Someone should force him to play a match of competitive Starcraft, so he can see how little skill it takes to play mainstream games made by THE MAN. I like art games, I really do, but pissing on the entire industry just because you want more-wait...ONLY art games is silly.

The quotes are about 10% of the "interview" and not nearly as extreme.

I think the writer took some freedoms with the text in order to get more article hits.

Well he's not wrong..

Gaming is pretty intellectually lazy and laughable. The things I'd of accomplished had I put all my gaming hours towards something as simple as studying.

he thinks that because he made a good game, that he has the god given right to judge the industry... he made his keep in? what a jerk. at least insult something you have no interest in, not the medium that you made most of your money on.

So who the hell is Jonathan Blow, besides a guy with an innuendo for a name, and why the hell should I care what he thinks.

I want to call him pretentious but the way he thinks about gaming is pretty much the same as how I think about music...
Going with pretentious genius anyway. It is true.

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