Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More on Game Museums

Games and Fun

While some kind readers have picked up on what I said about games and fun, many people commenting on sites where my article was cited haven't. Either I didn't explained what I mean well enough, or I'm fundamentally wrong, or (likely) they never bothered to read the article.

How else, after my statement that games can be an art medium entirely uninterested in whether people buy the game, whether they want to play the game, whether they are entertained by the game, and whether they enjoy the game, am I supposed to interpret comments such as:

"Well, I wouldn't buy a game that isn't fun."
"A designer who doesn't make fun games isn't going to sell many."
"Even is a game isn't fun, it still has to be entertaining in some way. Otherwise no one will play it."
"If I paid money for a game, it better be fun."
"Fun is subjective; you must mean that the game is fun for someone, but not for everyone."
"But if games aren't fun, they won't be enjoyable!"
"Art and fun aren't mutually exclusive."

Well, I mean ... yeah. So? Did ... did you read what I wrote?

As a result, I'm thinking that I'm just going to have to start the world's first games as interactive art museum. (And I don't mean the world's first games museum, as that would be this one.)

Perhaps it would demonstrate a little better what I meant.

I talked already about what an interactive games art museum would look like. Now a little more brass tacks.

To start the museum, I would want at least two experts in games and art to join me as board members.

First step would be to grab a domain and build a site. I figure it would start with:

- Entry page with doors into the museum.
- Pages organized by theme, by subject, or by artist (or all of the above).
- Each game alone on a page, with information about the artist and the work. Space on each page for commenting about the work.
- About the site, about games as an art medium.
- Sponsorship pages.
- Copyright and terms.
- Technical help and FAQs.

Now comes the question of how to acquire games for the site.

I think the museum should be a non-profit. Donations from patrons should be accepted for overall maintenance and for supporting new artist's work. Donaters receive certain gifts, of course, the least of which is a link and a writeup.

I'm tossing around ideas: Works of art an artist submits are evaluated. If accepted, a new artist is paid SUM for displaying the work on the site. This SUM comes from general donations.

Artists who have a work on the site must get commissioned for additional art by patrons who enjoy the artist's first work. The details of IP must be worked out, but at the very least, the artwork is licensed to be displayed on the site.

So what would a patron get for his commission? Name, information and link on the page. Revenues of any money made off the artwork, such as CD sales. License to display the work elsewhere. ... And of course prestige as a patron of the arts.

CDs or static items of particular artists, themes, or topics can be sold for overhead costs or as patron's revenue.

Ads on the site? On the art or artist pages it would seem rather squidgy, even if all the proceeds from those ads went to the artist/patrons. Perhaps on the main page, only, if at all.

What else?

Backlinks on Yehuda

I turned off backlinking on this blog, as spam links have been spiraling out of control. Blogger.com apparently provides no means of dealing with this as they do for spam comments.



Dave The Game said...

I'm not surprised... I've gotten flack for using "the A word" both personally and professionally, and it always bothers those with a narrow definition of what art is. There was a big discussion on Spielfrieks not to long ago about Jackson Pollock, even.

Some of the comments do bring up an interesting point though... if no one but the creator sees a painting, is it art? And thus, if no one but the creator plays a game, is it art?

Yehuda Berlinger said...


I would say it was art. After all, creating art does something simply for the artist.

But I don't mean that no one will play the games. I mean that they will be played with the same sense of formality and attention as an interesting but not pretty painting in a museum would be viewed, but not "enjoyed" or acquired.