The Art of Video Games: Interview Extras
You may remember that we interviewed a whole bunch of video game designers, artists, writers, musicians, and producers for The Art of Video Games exhibition. We have hours of footage for these interviews (and I mean HOURS), but only a few minutes made it into the final cuts for the exhibition. I thought it would be fun to pull out some of the great snippets that ended up on the cutting room floor. Enjoy!
Video game designer (The Secret of Monkey Island, Psychonauts, and Brütal Legend)
"When I first started on The Secret of Monkey Island, we were writing dialogue for it and we thought it was test dialogue because we were just learning how to program. We were putting together scenes and ridiculous dialogue because we thought it was temporary and it would get taken out. And then Ron Gilbert said, "no, no, no, we're going to use that. That's the dialogue." We were like, "this stupid dialogue where we're talking about modern day jokes and making all sorts of non-pirate references?" He goes, "yeah, yeah, it's funny. We're going to leave it that way."
Video game producer (flOw, Flower, and Journey)
"The more I learned about [the practice of making video games], the more I saw so much potential in it as a creative medium, and it really sort of turned on that side of me that was looking for new challenges as an artist and also the kind of rebel and punk rock in me that loves attacking issues that have no rules yet. There still isn't really a defined set of rules of how you're supposed to make a video game and what it's supposed to be and even what the definition of it is, right? And I just think that's really cool."
Musician and composer (co-creator of the concert series Video Games Live)
"My two greatest loves growing up were video games and music. But growing up in the '70s, there was no such thing as a video game composer. When I turned twenty-one, I decided to leave my parents crying on the doorstep and go out to California. Because that's what you did if you wanted to be a musician. And so I drove out to California. I had no job, no place to stay, no money, no friends, nothing. Just drove out there. The first day I was out there ... I saw a job for selling keyboards at a guitar place. And I said, well, I can do the East Coast Italian thing. I can talk my way into that job. And I went down to the music store and they got me the job.
The first day I showed up for work, one of the few articles of clothing that I brought with me was a video game T shirt. Back then, no one had video game T shirts. The very first person who walked in the store that day was a producer at a company [that made video games]. He asked, "are you into video games?" I proceeded to download twenty-one years of information on this poor guy, and [he said], "do you want a job? We're starting a company right down the street. We'll hire you as a games tester to play video games." I'm like, "you're going to pay me $5 an hour to play video games? This California place is all right."
Video game pioneer (Founder of Atari)
"Anti-aging games are something that I feel very passionate about, particularly I'm getting older and I know for a fact that video games and game-playing delays the onset of Alzheimer's. It is very good for people who are worried about dementia. It keeps mental acuity. It's like exercise, you know, your body will get pretty flabby if you don't get exercise, your brain gets flabby if you don't exercise it. And I can assure you that watching television isn't that. There are several studies that have added ten points to IQs of people who play games... better problem solving, better critical thinking, faster critical thinking. And all of that is not limited to 14-year-old boys. It goes right up to 120-year-old women. I know of a particular woman who plays video games and she is 102. Sharp as a tack."
Video game developer (Death Jr., Halo 2600, and The War of the Worlds)
"When I'm working on games, the most interesting thing to me is where all the ideas come from. For instance, the other day I was driving down the road in traffic, going to work, and the sunrise was so amazing - the colors and everything across the sky - and it just dawned on me, [that this could be the answer to] the thing we're trying to solve in a game we're working on! As soon as I got in the office, we immediately put in a gradient that represented this morning sky, and suddenly, the whole scene changed completely. It was just color that made it work. To me, that's the most amazing thing. You could draw inspiration from anywhere - it could be a movie, it could be a book, it could even be a sunrise."
The Art of Video Games is on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum until September 30, 2012.
Exhibition Coordinator, The Art of Video Games
P.S. Keep an eye out for our next couple of emails... we have a LOT of exciting stuff happening in August and September!