16th Entertainment Division Critiques
Passion Burns Somewhere Today
The Entertainment Division embraces a broad diversity of genres: web and video works, games and gadgets. After three years as a juror I can't help observing the ebb and flow of these various genres. This year it struck me that web-based works were in a slump, but that games have come of age.
The web slump came as a surprise. The global trend away from paper toward the web (including ebooks) appears unstoppable, and the medium looks to be in great shape, not least in terms of the amount invested in web advertising. This year, however, there was a dearth of new ideas, with many works simply showcasing the connectivity made possible by social media. The one entry that expressed annoyance with that trend was the New Face Award-winning Whatever Button, which is, I believe, why it was regarded so highly.
The maturation of the game genre was particularly salient among action role-playing and first-person shooter games. Game production techniques appear to be approaching perfection, with creators putting an impressive effort into scenarios, graphics, and playability. For better or worse, "novelty" is not the dominant theme of this market.
The vicissitudes of different genres notwithstanding, however, the works selected for the Grand Prize and Excellence Awards were those that showed an intrepid willingness to take on new challenges. Perfume "Global Site Project" * skill fully incorporated creative efforts by consumers into the work; rather than simply highlight "connectivity" it produced an experience that actually connected people. *GRAVITY DAZE was arguably the only work in the game genre that genuinely offered a new game experience, while KURATAS and the Smart Trashbox were inventions redolent of the hopes and ambitions of their obsessively driven and technically skilled creators.
The genres in the Entertainment Division will no doubt continue to ebb and flow. But ultimately, the inexplicable, reckless enthusiasms of individual creators will continue to generate the future. I hope that passion is burning brightly somewhere today.