Jenova Says Games Should Be Relevant To Real Life

May 21, 2012

Jenova Chen, that is. He’s the game designer at Thatgamecompany, which recently released the popular game Journey for PlayStation 3. You only have to take one look at Journey to see that it’s a little different to your average game, and if you’re familiar with the company’s previous works (Flow and Flower), you can see that they take an unusual approach to game design. Chen, while speaking to Gamasutra, has come out and criticised current video game releases. He says:

“My biggest complaint for computer games so far is they are not good enough for adults. For adults to enjoy something, they need to have intellectual stimulation, something that’s related to real life. Playing poker teaches you how to deceive people, and that’s relevant to real life. A headshot with a sniper rifle is not relevant to real life. Games have to be relevant intellectually.

Games have to be emotional. People need to experience a powerful range of feelings. I think you’ll always find more artistic games in the indie circle, because with a smaller team working on a game, it’s more likely to be personal, and when it’s personal, it’s very much the same human condition that the developer had when he was building the game. And if that echoes with your own life, it’s more likely to touch you.

Chen wasn’t going to stop there though, as another issue that he’s feeling strongly about is the current pricing structure for retail games.

“Right now, games are so expensive; they’re $60. If they don’t let you kill over a thousand people, the game is going to be dead within two hours. Then they have a problem justifying 60 dollar prices…I think Journey is more artistic because of the rawness of the game.”

He’s certainly not afraid to call out other developers on what he views as serious issues in the gaming industry, and with the success of Thatgamecompany’s titles so far, there may be some truth to what he says. All the same, these are some interesting comments. What do you think of Chen’s opinion? Let us know in the comments below.