I Swear, I Scorn the Term

January 11th, 2003, by Matt
There's a lot of people involved with videogames-- both critics and creators-- who want to bring them up from craft, like macramé or knitting— or anything involving string or yarn— to art, like scotch taping a picture of a vagina onto a papal miter and setting it on fire. I say to them: you're stupid. The easiest, beaver-free method of so doing has been so obviously available all this time and yet you have all completely ignored it. For example, I imagine most conversations about making videogames just as good as panty hamster/pope hat juxtapositions go as follows:

Armand L'enfant-L'enfantisse: "Nobody respects videogames, but they would if they were art! My ladyfriend refuses all intimations of tenderness, for I am so base."
Febrezio Fouroninezzi: "I so very much agree! My beloved scorns all advances."
Hartmut Shvantzanschlager: "Someone make all games art, I beg of you! My jewel of a paramour demurs from my whispered pleadings."
All: "The world, so cruel; the industry, so barbarous. Is there no balm in Capcom?"

Then they probably cry a muted, frustrated artist's cry without coming up with a single idea. Well, I've finally reached the breaking point of imaginary Europeans mewling constantly in my head, so I decided to lead the industry in getting the respect of its collective art snob girlfriend by making a game that uses the inexplicably overlooked, can't-miss method: Shakespeare, or as he is more well-known, "The Shortcut to Art". Want to be an actor? Go to Central Park with a few other actors-to-be, strip naked, and perform The Tempest. Yes, now. Want film, TV, or other award nominations? It's practically a lock with the tragedies. History-- but not just any history, Art History-- has shown that from West Side Story to Strange Brew, retooling and repurposing Shakespeare's work has been the fast track to legitimacy. Shame on you, entire game industry, for not being educated and wise enough to see the obvious.

Concept art from Henry V Thousand vs. the CyberFrench. Players will control individual units with the standard Elizabethan stats Thews, Lissomeness, Haleness, Cunning, Circumspection, and The Witchery of the Footman's Mettle.
I went through several potential candidate plays before finally arriving at the one that would best allow visionary me to drag the titty- and blood-besotted game industry to a new level. Most, like Romeo and Juliet and King Lear, were rejected for being besotted with titties and blood. While overall a play less explicit than the others, it was decided that a donkey show wouldn't go over well with the ESRB, so A Midsummer Night's Dream was also rejected. Troilus and Cressida was rejected because Brad Pitt is starring in an upcoming Trojan War movie and I absolutely do not want to take any chances that a game I'm involved with has even a tangential relationship to the Fight Club game.

Ultimately I had to compromise. As an American, I went for one that was still blood-soaked but at least skimped on the titties. Therefore, I'm proud to announce development has started on the first game that is unequivocally art: Henry V Thousand vs. the CyberFrench.

I think I'm probably destined to make it an RPG. It's because of my name, Gallant. While only my last name is a silly fantasy-sounding RPG maker name, unlike the fully full-on name of Feargus Urquhart, at least both of us got our awkward RPG-making names honestly, unlike wannabe Richard Garriott who had to make up one.

After Ultima VIII, the SCA stripped Lord British of his title, forcing him to go underground as Cowboy Texan.
And while it feels nice to be automatically better at making RPGs than Lord British, by no means will this affect the care and effort put into what message boards are already referring to as HVT v. CF. I will personally guarantee to make every effort to make the game as much as possible a copy of what is probably the best game of 2003, Fire Emblem, except with the art of Shakespeare. As you may have guessed from the name, HVT v. CF will be slightly modified from the source material to be accessible to a mainstream audience, but it will still stay true to its art-heavy roots. For instance, while I've decided that writing the game manual entirely in iambic pentameter would be too much art, an epilepsy warning in the form of a sonnet will be just the right amount; I merely have to make the final decision about which word rhymes best with "twitches".

My only request for when my vision is realized and the game industry finally becomes arty enough to have an award show that isn't hosted by B-List obnoxioneers like David Spade or Jamie Kennedy, is that nobody at my table cries.

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