Friday, April 03, 2009

Chasing Churchhill

I watched an excellent documentary last night by the granddaughter of Winston Churchhill, called Chasing Churchhill. It avoids retelling all the old stories of Churchhill's brilliant leadership during WWII, and instead focuses on the man as an adventurer and painter. I couldn't find an online gallery quickly, but I highly recommend taking a look at his paintings. They're beautiful and serene. He had a great sense of colors.

The documentary showed many of Churchhill's paintings. Surprisingly, all of them were pleasant. That impression might just be due to his granddaughter's selection, but I don't think so since she said he rarely painted during the great war. The man endured many conflicts. He experienced bullets whizzing by his head in battles, scenes of a hundred war-torn bodies and groaning men, assassination threats while walking foreign streets, and much more. Yet those experiences are not reflected in his painting. He chose to paint, or was moved to paint, only the pleasantries of life: beauty, hope, light-heartedness, etc.

It got me thinking: How many big, triple-A games are so? How many games are about beauty and joy to the exclusion of all conflict and darkness? I can think of many arcade games and small titles like that, but it seems there are few blockbuster titles of this sort besides sports games.

What do you think? Does the industry for big titles tend to emphasize struggle and strife? Do many games celebrate beauty and the lighter side of human nature? Or is it hard to stay joyful and keep your eyes on beauty while writing code?


  1. I think you are hitting at something they would rather you not hit at (were you more influential) and that is that Holleywood and Gameyhood are both very cynical. And they believe because of that (the fact that they are cynical) that only games loaded with dark dark themes and violence will ever sell in big numbers. (And they are also persuaded that all meaningful art forms have sad or depressing messages interlaced throughout) Though they are proven wrong time and again by Pixar and Disney and Dreamworks and Shigeru Miyamoto, they don;t care, they plough on proclaiming that all tuly "adult" entertainment must contain depressing quantities of sleaze and man's unhamnity to man. Ok diatribe aside, I think its really just their attitude. Great games and movies can and ARE made without this tripe, but they are the exception lately, not the rule.

    And you are onto something with Churchill, great leaders know how to emphasize the positive and eliminate the negative in their own lives and find tranquility through the turbulence.

  2. man's inhumanity* to man (excuse me)

  3. @ Thallian - I think it's the ability to produce a game that envolves the player enough to make them WANT to play it.

    Remember movies are pedestrian - no physical interaction is needed. Videogames combine physical & mental elements together. Shamefully the industry has yet to bring the 'emotional' element to the table yet, in anything other than the basic of forms.

    Churchill used his painting to escape the horrors of the real world. Most of us don't ever see such 'evil' first hand & so possibly we need an outlet in our entertainment?


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