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Critical Path: Dev Superstars On Games' Importance

Get yourself a spare day or two and spend it burrowing into this huge, excellent series of video interviews with some of the most renowned/revered/contentious figures in the game industry, all discussing what games mean to them and to the human experience. Ultimately Critical Path promises to become “a transmedia project exploring the art, philosophy, politics and psychology of video games”, which could mean an awful lot of things, but it’s off to a great start with bite-size talking heads including Meier, Spector, Blezinski, Hocking, Kojima, Humble, Rohrer, Wright, Carmack, Levine, Garriot, Koster, Howard, Mechner, Bushnell, Muzyka & Zeschuck, Schafer, Chen, Molyneux and loads more talking thoughtfully, fascinatingly and with clear enthusiasm about many different facets of what they do, why they do it and what it might mean. Also, what games might need to do next.

Here’s the trailer, though it really is worth simply jumping directly to the mini-interviews themselves. They’re a lot less self-regarding than the trailer suggests, as they’re focused on discussing particular topics rather than being a collection of bon mots. It’s strictly devs talking about their work and their medium, and not as much navel-gazing as you might imagine.

As well as the philosophical and social dissection aspects, there’s also more practical psychology – such as why third-person perspectives can mean a greater connection to the game than a first-person one, the purity of 8-bit, how to make cutscenes more effective and the mechanics of Pac-Man.

Splendid, thought-provoking stuff (mostly), though I feel a certain frustration at only getting 30 seconds or so for each topic. This is the sort of thing RPS should really do one day, if we can work out how to operate a video camera and not giggle nervously whenever we meet anyone famous.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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