Hollywood & Games Summit: Clive Barker is scary

Kevin Kelly
K. Kelly|06.27.07

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Hollywood & Games Summit: Clive Barker is scary
Clive Barker was the keynote speaker yesterday at the Hollywood and Games Summit in Los Angeles, and Joystiq was there. You know that it's just a normal day in Hollywood when you have to stumble through a crowd of teenyboppers attending a Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus concert, fight through a forest of lounge chairs bearing bikini-clad girls, and make your way through the labyrinthine Hollywood & Highland complex to find a conference about video games.

Barker, who sounded like he'd taken a chainsaw to the throat recently, rasped his way through a lot of information about his upcoming Clive Barker's Jericho game, which he's been involved in developing based on one of the "millions of ideas flying around in my head." He made it a special point to talk about Roger Ebert's now famous quote, where he states that video games are inferior to literature and movies, and cannot be considered high art.

Shortly after Barker began slamming this quote, there were extremely loud noises behind the stage. Barker paused and said, "He's outside! Let's leave him there." Later, the apparently clumsy waiter backstage dropped a huge tray, or possibly a box full of hubcaps, and Barker said "He's gonna get in! He's passing himself of as a waiter ... coming around the side door!"

Hilarity aside, Barker waxed and waned poetic about his involvement and apparent love for the gaming world, but also proclaimed himself as a Luddite who writes out his novels in longhand. "My relationship with technology has never been comfortable." He appreciates the artwork and cinematic look in video games, but he doesn't play them himself. This makes you wonder ... can you design a great game without being a game player, at least on some level?

He went on to talk about how Jericho came to be. He said that he has to sort through all of the ideas that he comes up with and decide if it's a novel, a comic book, a video game, a movie, or something else. When he came up with the initial concept for Jericho, he said "That would make ... a fuckin' terrible novel." But he decided it might work as a game and began going down that road.

He also talked at length about Umberto Eco's studies in hyperreality, and the fact that people study the "defecation processes" of different nomadic tribes in order to find out more about their culture. He posits, "If shitting is worthy of study to find out about a culture, then why not video games?" He hopes that one day there might be a gaming "War and Peace" that will prove that games are high art, and put the screws to Roger Ebert. "We're just at the beginning of the gaming world, and who knows what will be possible later?"

When the event wrapped up, he said about his game "It'll scare the shit out of you, I guarantee it."

You can also check out Gamasutra's writeup of the event as well, where they get into more of his development theories and link to dear old Joystiq as well.
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