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Sunday, August 12, 2007
In an attempt to provide an alternative to what may be considered a typical game review, I am providing an artist's perspective on Nifflas' upcoming release Knytt Stories. Here's a snippet from the article:

Over the last several months, Nifflas' new project has been getting a lot of attention. Not that anyone found this to be a surprise, as the independent gaming community is well aware of his reputation. His previous games, most notably Knytt and Within A Deep Forest, are renowned for their unique style and high quality.

Knytt Stories is the next addition to his portfolio, and we have already previewed and praised it at Indygamer. I personally put WADF at number one in my list of art games, and was happy to receive word from Nifflas in regard to that post. Since then, I was given the opportunity to preview the game itself, and I would like to share my thoughts on it with you.

The most prevalent design element which I see in all of Nifflas' games is minimalism. This does tend to come in varying degrees, but each title that he produces seems to follow the old adage of "less is more." Knytt Stories continues in this vein in all aspects as much as its predecessor, and that is in no small part a contributing factor to its success.

Read the full article [via Mentisworks]

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Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/13/2007 01:34:00 AM:  

mooooooore is more
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/13/2007 04:35:00 AM:  
He means in relation to the art style. The minimalist view is really refreshing.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/13/2007 01:25:00 PM:  
That's what I was referring to as well. Personally I think it looks as dull as the first game was.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/14/2007 12:47:00 AM:  
Gah. I hate it when "artists" disguise amazingly obvious statements behind pretentious waffle in some kind of strange desire to elevate their angle above the layman.
Blogger Michal said at 8/14/2007 05:20:00 AM:  
You assume too much. All this demonstrates is that I love this game for its various elements, and this is why. As an artist I just happen to look at it a little differently, that's all.

Reading this "strange desire" into it, and further devious and ulterior motives is certainly your prerogative. Though it doesn't make it true.
Blogger haowan said at 8/14/2007 05:41:00 AM:  
I don't think you are looking at it any differently to anyone else TBH Michal, I think Anonymous's point was that anyone can see that it's a minimalist game and that's Nifflas's style. You don't need to be an artist to see that. I liked your review of the actual art though.
Blogger Derek said at 8/14/2007 07:44:00 AM:  
"As an artist I just happen to look at it a little differently, that's all."

I... am biting my tongue very hard.

Michal, being able to understand metaphors and see connections between things is a fundamental trait of all human beings.

Declaring yourself to be an artist and separating yourself from other people does NOT make you an artist.

Even going to art school does not make you an artist.

To be an artist, you draw, you make music, you develop a game. You make art!

The review itself is nice, but you need to stop throwing the word "art" around as if it means anything in the contexts you're using it in.
Blogger Michal said at 8/14/2007 09:35:00 AM:  
"To be an artist, you draw, you make music, you develop a game. You make art!"

I have done almost all of those things actually. So, by your definition, am I not an artist?
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/14/2007 09:56:00 AM:  
It doesn't make you different or special.

That's for certain.
Blogger Michal said at 8/14/2007 12:14:00 PM:  
I never said it made me special, and that is a different issue entirely. I have a difficult time understanding why some appear to take this so personally.

You're welcome to write your own articles and present a perspective entirely different from mine.
Blogger Pacian said at 8/14/2007 01:04:00 PM:  
I like what you're trying to do with this and the Art Games list, Michal, but when you act like you're being a great ambassador of aesthetic appraisal to impoverished gamers, it can seem a bit patronising. Prime example:

"This is part of Knytt Stories' charm for me as an artist. I suppose most gamers won't have such a reaction to it, but some of you may."

I think that *everyone* who likes Knytt (and will like Knytt Stories) appreciates it as a relaxed journey through evocative environments (and all that stuff), and acting as if you're somehow different for doing so is going to annoy exactly the group of people who might like your review.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 8/14/2007 01:09:00 PM:  
It's not pretentious to call yourself an artist if you are one. It's a broader subject than many people realize. I hate to say it, but art is something most people are indifferent to. I'd wager all my WoW gold that the reason why your statements are critisized, Mentis, is because art doesn't mean the same thing to each person who reads your critique.

Good art is something intangible, and if you've got an open mind, it will inspire you, enrage you, even make you try to change the world. It doesn't have to be a videogame, a painting, a speech, or a rock concert. Good art is too broad to fit into a narrow subject.

Bad art, most people are indifferent to. IMO. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm right. Who knows. m(^.^)b
Blogger Michal said at 8/14/2007 07:41:00 PM:  
Thank you for your comments. I certainly see your point, Pacian, and I do agree in part.

I realize that it may sound as you have described it, but please believe me when I tell you that this is not my intention. Though clearly not apparent, that statement came about as a result of my direct observations and interactions with many different kinds of gamers over what must be half of my (relatively short) life. And yes, out of the sample that I have met, many would not care for Nifflas' games. But then, I do believe that much of the gamer population is simply not very aware of the indy scene as a whole.

Also, please understand that I am not writing exclusively for people who are into indy games. Or even games that much. A number of my readers are simply not familiar with the subject matter much, so I do have to take them into account. Do I think that I am providing an education service for those people? Well, not really. But I would like to present an alternative perspective.

And yes, art does mean different things to different people. It clearly means something different to me, otherwise people wouldn't be upset by my writing. So when I write something like this, it's as much to try and articulate my views on art and games as it is an exploration for myself.