Chris Crawford

Chris Crawford has been in the news recently. Joystick101 did an article on him. The closing remark:

Chris Crawford is blazing a trail toward more vibrant, meaningful games. On behalf of those waiting for a holodeck, I hope he remains a shrewd rebel.

indicates to me the author has not really grasped what Chris is trying to achieve. Hint: it doesn’t concern photorealistic graphics.

Simon Carless (who seems to single-handedly run Slashdot Games) interviewed Chris for Gamasutra.

I very much liked the following:

There’s getting to be a lot more formal academic study of games, with academic projects such as Serious Games and attempts by Doug Church, Noah Falstein and others to lay out specific elements of game design in The 400 Project and others. How formal can you get before over-pontification sets in? And how far into documenting game design have we, as an industry, got?

Well, there’s already a great deal of nonsense floating around. Some of the people approaching games from the field of semiotics leave me utterly baffled, and there are a bunch of new media people who seem intent on defining games in terms that have nothing to do with games. Some of them flatly deny the importance of interactivity. So we’ve already got plenty of academic bull flooding the airwaves. Fortunately, we also have plenty of interesting and useful academic work being done. The problem is not with academics; it’s with the refusal of some academics to take games on their own terms, and their insistence on viewing games through old microscopes.

If Chris doesn’t get semiotics, I’m not worried.

Chris has also written two books recently: Chris Crawford On Game Design, née The Art of Computer Game Design, Second Edition, and The Art of Interactive Design, which was previously called Understanding Interactivity and came in a much less impressive cover. I shamefully admit I still haven’t fully read either book.

(Chris is not the author of Happiness Is Everything – a common mistake.)

He remains controversial, but, even though I do not agree with everything he says, he is still the guy who has written more high quality essays on game design than pretty much everyone else put together. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to read the library at his website (see the link on the left of this page).