Jenova Chen says, “Games need more mature content”

That Game Company
That Game Company

Jenova Chen spoke at Develop today about thatgamecompany’s flOw and Flower but also that games need more mature content through emotional engagement not necessarily violence. Otherwise game titles will become nothing more than “toys”.

“I never see that sense of thrill any more in today’s games,” he said. “Yes, today’s games are more real and satisfying but the underlining mechanics are no different from toys. But the human brain likes information – it’s like a sponge that sucks up information and wants more all the time.

“Other pursuits are enjoyed by adults and not viewed as toys. As grown up gamer I don’t want to see the games I have been playing with love turn into toys. I think games need to have more mature content – but not like [Dead of Alive] or [Manhunt], but more sophisticated works.

“Games should make the player think and touch the gamer’s emotion. Gameplay needs to be like any other medium – it has to evoke all kinds of responses. Otherwise our industry will flatline.

“It shouldn’t be about one feeling – like excitement or happiness. Humans have a range of emotions, and life is stressful. Games should reflect that.”

Jenova feels that art should be a component of games.

“Most people in the games industry are jaded with this argument about games being art,” he admitted. “But it is important. I’m not an artist, I’m a computer science guy, and as game designer I think art is a component that is necessary.

“Look at the greatest artists and their works [Van Gogh, Tolkien and Alan Moore], they reflect the time and the world around them at the time.”

Read the entire speech on Develop.

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Wow, this is what I've been feeling for the longest time. Now that I'm an adult gamer, I feel that games should grow up a bit and start giving me more content that feeds my emotion as well as my appetite to destroy things. I've been writing a game that's for grown up gamers, not in the context of blood-n-guts and sex, but content that appeals with sophistication.