Saturday, April 7, 2012

Celebrity Gaming

During my early gaming years, I never knew any name of people related with game making. I don't know if there was not a real importance in those names or if only when I got older I started to notice many people talking about people like Cliff B, Jenova Chen, Shigeru Miyamoto, David Cage and many others. During those early years, games were the stars and maybe the companies who made them. Only in recent times it seems to me that, outside places dedicated exclusively in the development aspect of games, those names were not well known.

Today it seems that every gamer who goes to game sites knows at list a dozen famous developers, and the sites cite by name many people involved in the project. In the old days, it was always 'Capcom said', 'EA stated' and such. Now everyone have a name and many are treated as idols to many gamers.

I dislike a lot and like a bit about this tendency. Different from movies, books and music, were one or a few people can be considered responsible for the success of a project, games are hardly the work of few individuals, and even rarer the work of a single one (at least, nowadays). The departure of a single individual, even the director of a game series, sometimes have no consequences in the quality of the titles at all.

The problem with this is that sometimes we give too much importance to them. Would Nintendo games really take a turn to worse if Shigeru Miyamoto retired? I doubt it, as many games aren't really done by him, just supervised. With this idolization of the developers, we run the risk of seeing games being made only because the names involved are famous. Like many movies we have that are utterly crap, but are made by the creators of that good movie. We run the risk that, like movies, games will not getting greenlit without a celebrity developer in  the team.

The other hand, the bit I like, is that if games got their famous developer, someone so famous that even people who don't play games know, we can finally have a face to put in front of the industry. If anyone threaten the movie industry, people like Harrison Ford, Scarlet Johansson and  Eddie Murphy standing up to defend movies. Games don't have anyone to do that. Mario and Sonic may be famous, but they cannot lead a march on the streets to defend games and gamers.

So, there is things to win and to lose in this situation. I am a bit thorn about it, but I may miss the days were the stars of the gaming world used to be the games and not their creators.

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