Interactive Entertainment


To whomever you are, thanks for stopping by. I've posted art at the bottom, so if you don't want to read my ramblings you can scroll down :)

Recently I have been trolling some articles (thanks to "googlereader") about a game called "Six Days in Fallujah". I suppose it IS MY FAULT for prompting the good folks over at google to alert me anytime the name "Tamte" was mentioned online, however...I didn't expect to get so many emails. "Peter Tamte" (coincidentally a relative of mine) and his team over at Destineer/Avalanche set out to make a documentary-style video game based on the battle of Fallujah in the Iraq war.

It's a sensitive subject, and I do have some thoughts about it, but I think G4-TV's Adam Sessler has summed it up well, and his video is here--->

Fun Vs Art-"Six Days in Fallujah"

(if that interests you at all, I recommend you check it out)

My brain churned, bubbled, and ultimately sputtered to a halt. Then after a few weeks I had a conversation that brought back to life what I really wanted to talk about, AND my point.

"the ability to say no"

I'm often upset by how little thought is put into the bigger picture, mostly pertaining to large scale art projects in the entertainment industry, be it games/film/comics/commercials etc. At a certain point the budget of an idea passes the 10million mark, and the project starts to function less like a creative force and more like an oil tanker. It also seems that this is the stage where the "why" question becomes discouraged or tabooed. I am not discouraging large studios as a production model, I have seen them be effective, but I think that at this stage more than ever it is important to have the exact right people in exactly the right positions. It's easy to get caught up in daily tasks as an artist, or a designer or a programmer, but why is the initial drive lost? How does this happen? Like seriously, somebody fill me in?! Is it the art director's job or producer's job to keep everyone oriented in the same direction? Who's job is it to keep an eye on what made the idea good in the first place?

Maybe my frustration is born out of ignorance, and the answer will come at some later stage in my life I dunno. But it's been eating away at my artistic conscience. Doesn't everybody want to fight for interesting and new things? Instinctually my first thought was "put me in charge! I would do it right". Which I realized immediately after wasn't the truth at all. Then my brain spun full circle...

"If I was in that position, could I really see the bigger picture?"

Would I be able to say "no" if someone offered me a job that I didn't feel qualified for if the creative freedom and the pay was substantially better than the job I had? Would I be able to say "no" I was asked to work at a company I lusted after, into a position I didn't? If the right idea gets the right circumstances it moves mountains. Who's lives/ideas would I be messing with if I stepped into a role I wasn't ready for and floundered about attempting competency. Would I rise to the challenge? I have had the opportunity to work under some incredibly skilled art directors, but I've also seen good projects go under due to poor circumstances. But what really gets me in the gut, as an indicator of the dominating point of view is seeing the idea that drove "Six Days in Fallujah" die.

Now, the "dragon-riding post apocalyptic magic ultra-grenade" games will always hold a special place in my heart, and I don't want them to disappear. I'm advocating a change in focus, and critical thinking on a larger scale. I mean shit, I love using the latest technology to sit around drinking beer talking smack to kids in Europe. As illustrated in this painting of my Austin buddys and I playing "Halo" and drinking beer.

"pwning noobs"

...I don't have a doubt that what I am looking for is out there, I just didn't expect to have to look so hard to find it.



Alex Berki said...

Nice! im really diggin this. Is that gouache or >??? Whatever it is its Hella cool

Keep em comin Adam!

Adam Tamte Volker said...

wassup Berki!

it's an oil painting actually, about four feet wide


Lisa L said...

It does stink when you need the money, to complete something you feel strongly against as an idea. I personally don't like any real battles created into a video game. WW1, WW2... The more mid-evil stuff doesn't bother me. But I do feel recreating real battles with close to living relatives, or people who participated is disrespectful. It's like profiting off someone's anguish or death.

Adam Tamte Volker said...

Lisa L,

Thanks for speaking up, It's nice to hear a different opinion than my own. When money is involved it IS definitely hard to stay objective. I think that the game "six days in fallujah" could do great things for gaming's future. However, I see your point, but as I consider games art I keep thinking of it this way.

"If you take an 8 year old to a gallery to see something sexual or violent. Say something like Guernica by Picasso or a Shiele drawing its' likely that he wont understand it, and the message might be lost, but is it important to expose him to?"

now there is a snag when it comes to target audience. Gallery art and video games have a very different audience. I think this is both to their benefit and detriment. Most games ARE aimed at children, and some are not.

I'd be interested to hear what your take on video games in general is?


Lisa L said...


I do enjoy video games! I really haven't had time between commissions to play too much. When I do pick out a game it's more because of gameplay, than if it's violent or cute. My tendency is to go toward stuff like zelda, rpgs, even some starcraft.

I really don't mind the violence aspect to the video games. When it comes to children I think where people mess up, is it does end up on the parent's shoulders to explain it or not buy it. Too many condemn the games thinking they are aimed at like 12 yr olds, when they're aimed at 22 yr olds and 12yr olds just happen to somehow get them.

Your right a child may not fully understand a painting of war, but if you try to explain it you may be surprised as to what they absorb. I see so many parents with little kids looking at weapons/dead bodies exc going... ohhhh ccoool!!! The mother simply drags them along all: don't look at that! There's never the explanation that... hey that could be us! It's cool but remember that those once were real people with families.

I think it is different too....
Like when Pratt was showing all his war art he created after getting into memoirs and the soldier's feelings/lives as compared to those making a game just to bring in some revenue. I'm sure too that is is different when working on a game, to bring someone that is passionate about what they are creating. Someone who appreciates the emotions of the people that joined in a battle, and not just making players blowup people look cool.

In that case it's wrong of me to say most war games are shallow and just about blowing people up.

RAWLS said...

Nice rant bro! I'll tell you how/why it happens...because of $$$. Plain and simple. Lives, ideas, virtues, designs, creativity, morals, thinking...all good things are often tossed aside for the mighty dollar.
But that's why posting info and your feelings about things like this are important. ..Because if artists like us don't stand up for something, who will?
Nice art as well my friend!

Rich Pellegrino said...

Hey Adam,

First of all great painting! Four footer, eh? Must be grandiose! haha.
I want to let you know I mentioned you on my blog after reading bout Pratt researching Soldier's memoirs here on your blog. Reading that inspired me to watch interviews from WWII vets while concepting characters for a new project I working on now.
thanks man!

take care,

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