Friday, October 30, 2009

Without further ado: Haruhiko Shono

How hard it is to manage a website - a network of internet contents - on one's own. CoreGamers begun as a project where different sorts of articles could be inserted, from modern to retro gaming, from purely nonsensical delirium to the rigor of profile and interview articles. Of all the plans and expectations I deposited in that site, together with the absent co-founder, I have only been able to carry out the one which I think to be most important; the one where I am able to contribute with a small amount of information about creators who, in spite of their importance to the field of videogames, are not usually taken into consideration by mainstream media.

Some months ago, I advertised the rare chance I was given to interview Haruhiko Shono. As mentioned in the Profile and Interview article I publish today, his name might not be of importance to the witless videogame players of the current generation. I'm sure that even older generation players will have a certain difficulty in associating his name with an actual game title. But one single word, as if by magic, might help telling apart those who truly admire the art that exists in videogames and those who claim to the industry from inside out: and that word is GADGET.

Other relics from times past make their appearance in the article; the ethereal ALICE, one of the first interactive works to appeal to the love for Arts; and L-ZONE, in which the author expresses his matured admiration for video art, machinery and the coming of the digital age. Exceptionally, I've also prepared a long gallery of media to support the article: apart from the unreleased projects, published in the parent visual blog Pixels At An Exhibition, and the several materials I've been publishing for the last months, there will be high quality videos documenting his major creations. Given the fact that the Internet has been rather useless in the research for information concerning this admirable videogame designer, I felt the necessity to bridge the gaps and provide a substantial - while not definite - account of his career and the creations that define it.

This was by far the hardest research project I've dealt with in the last months, although it is extremely rewarding to receive such a positive reaction to the article from Shono himself. And it is at times like these that I understand more clearly that all this work is not in vain: it is an opportunity to learn and to pass that knowledge to others. Lastly, I would like to renew my acknowledgement to Sorrel Tilley whose help in the translation department has proved essential to the fulfilment of this personal goal - and to the many others, friends and strangers who have supported me in the completion of this piece.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leaps of Faith - Eric Viennot interview with Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi

One of the most fascinating aspects of videogame history concerns the spiritual nexus that unites Jordan Mechner and Eric Chahi. Working in completely different rhythms and proportions, not to mention in opposite sides of the Atlantic, their creative stance has resulted in fairly similar works given the context of their release, especially with the case of PRINCE OF PERSIA and ANOTHER WORLD. While Mechner's game was published two years earlier, Chahi has recently claimed that, at the time he created his masterpiece, he wasn't aware of his North-American counterpart's work. Considering Chahi's answer to this old question as a truthful retortion - and there is no plausible reason to question its integrity - then we are in the presence of a true videogame phenomenon.

The idea of uniting Mechner and Chahi was suggested on several occasions as the critical solution to this ancient conundrum that would confront and dispel all of the enduring myths. Making this long-held daydream a reality, the two creators were interviewed by Eric Viennot, the co-founder of the French studio Lexis Numérique and the creator of the cult classic IN MEMORIAM (see profile and interview by CoreGamers on February 2007).

An authority among France's most prodigious adepts of digital arts, Viennot is also very keen on videogame culture. Surprisingly, as explained in the introduction to this first part of the entire dialogue, the interview resulted from Jordan Mechner's initial request for help in establishing contact with Chahi. Seizing this exceptional opportunity in the role of an intermediate, Eric Viennot has drafted a number of stimulating enquiries regarding each of the interviewees’ perspectives and motivations through the course of their careers. Apart from providing a definite confirmation that Eric Chahi is involved in the creation of a new project, this interview is unquestionably one of the most important documents related to this peculiar chapter of videogame history.