This year’s Tribeca Festival is a big deal for video game fans. Although best known as a film festival, this year’s show features eight officially selected indie games. Ranges from expected titles like Kena: Bridge of Spirits to eye-catching curiosities like Big child.
It was a historic moment for both the festival and the gaming industry at large. Despite the continued growth of video games as a primary form of entertainment, the art world has been reluctant to accept the medium as a legitimate form of storytelling. Seeing something like the independent title Twelve minutes in the same festive lineup as In The Heights is a clear sign that the game has finally broken through decades of stigma and found acceptance.
Ahead of this year’s show, I spoke with the organizers behind the Tribeca Festival about what a film festival looks for in its video game selections.
Tell a story
The game has quietly entered the traditional cinema space for many years now. Tribeca in particular has embraced this medium in recent years, introducing big games like God of War in previous festivals. According to Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of Tribeca Festival, this year’s festival is a natural destination after years of basic construction.
“From the very beginning, Tribeca Games aimed to enhance the art and story of the game, while creating something different from the game festivals that have come before. We’ve been working for years to organize a comprehensive gaming competition that highlights the talent and voices of the entire industry,” Rosenthal told Digital Trends. “With the launch of the game as an Official Choice this year, we’re focusing on the creators, the process, the storytelling, and the intersection of game, entertainment, and culture.”
“Story” was the keyword that came up when talking to Tribeca’s organizers, and it’s clear looking at the eight games that made the cut. While each title is radically different in style, a close focus on narrative unites them. It wasn’t an accident, according to Casey Baltes, Vice President of Tribeca Games.
“We’re really looking at it through the lens of the art of storytelling excellence. It’s both how we look at the selections and what the judges look for at the award,” explains Baltes.
That criterion makes perfect sense. Some games have begun to borrow the cinematic world more and more over the years. Titles like Our last Borrowing Hollywood storytelling techniques to tell stories as complex as anything we see on the silver screen. For proof of how revered video game storytelling is today, consider Our last currently being adapted into a series on HBO with Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin attached.
However, video games are a bit complicated when it comes to storytelling. While some games are fully authored, others feature more prominent stories that are not explicitly scripted. Even any given match of Fortnite There is a story for each player. When it comes to selected games that demonstrate “excellence in storytelling,” Baltes said that Tribeca has to tackle the story much differently than a movie.
“We wanted people to look at storytelling in the broadest sense,” says Baltes. “Games are a unique medium in which there is absolute player agency and interactivity. The players themselves can contribute to the story, or in some cases, they narrate the story themselves without direct text. We strongly encourage senders to expand their own understanding of what the story might be. “
That idea of interpretation is central to Tribeca’s philosophy. Video games are a particularly unique medium due to their interactive nature. Although two people may have different points from a movie, they are watching the same movie. That’s not the case so much in games where it’s usually the player who directs the action. Casey Baltes sees it as a particular strength of the medium, being able to create a distinctive brand of personal storytelling that sets it apart from film.
“The game has the ability to allow players to come up with their own interpretation,” says Baltes. “It’s not just experiencing it from an interactive perspective; it’s about having a really deep connection and drawing personal experiences through playing a game. Games are capable of doing so thanks to the interactivity and agency of the players. “
This is just the beginning of the game’s increased presence at the festival. Tribeca says it will continue to introduce games as official picks in the future, so this is not an experiment. It’s a sign that the world of cinema has finally grasped what makes video games special as an art medium. If festivals like Sundance follow Tribeca’s lead, exhibitions like E3 could find some unexpected competition when it comes to where indie developers choose to showcase their industry-defining work. surname.
This year Festival of Tribeca will run from June 9 to June 20. Attendees can sign up to receive hands-on demos with all eight games in action.