Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Three Rs

A revolution is a moment in history when the existing political order gets up-ended entirely, new thinking and a new sense of values, power and social order emerge, and is often preceded by violence or generally associated with same. For example, the French Revolution.

A reformation is in many ways the opposite of that idea, as a reformation is an attempt on the part of one or several segments of a society to reassert an original set of founding ideas or aesthetic and essentially re-establish what was (or what is believed to have been). Again, often violent in nature, although a restoration is a gentler form of reformation. For example, the Protestant reformation of 16th century Europe.

A renaissance is somewhere between these two extremes, and usually non-violent. A renaissance is essentially a period of rediscovery of older ideas, but also of putting those older ideas into new uses. Renaissances don't, on the whole, involve the large scale return to the old ways that reformations do, nor up-ending everything like revolutions, but rather pick and choose the best of the old and make some great new as a result. Such as, of course, the renaissance.

So which way is the video game headed?

Well, on the one hand we have the Revolution on the way (although whether it actually is a revolution or not is an open question). On the second hand, we have quite a few seriously 'old skool' indie developers trying to get us all back to the way things were, which might be classed as reformation. Lastly, we see the re-issuing of some old classics in new forms (Prince of Persia, Resident Evil 4), which might, at a push, be called renaissance games.

Is the video game heading any of these ways?

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