Double Fine's Martz: Game Industry Often Stays 'Very Safe'
For San Francisco-based developer Double Fine, creating Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
isn't just about riding the coattails of a well-known brand, but rather upholding the mission of education, fun and creativity that was established by the popular kids TV show.
And the way that Sesame Street aimed to curb junk TV, Double Fine hopes its games show that the interactive entertainment industry can be more than muscle-bound men with rifles, according to Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
project lead Nathan Martz.
"It's not just about the characters, but also staying true to the mission of Sesame Street," said Martz in a new Gamasutra feature interview
"It's interesting if you read some of the original interviews when Sesame Street was going on the air -- between the chairman of the FCC, [Jim] Henson and the educational founders whose general feeling at the time was that television was going in a bad direction -- that most of what was on TV was not very enriching," Martz said. "Even the kid stuff was Cowboys and Indians -- disposable fare."
He said that there are some clear parallels with today's video game industry. "People felt really convicted about wanting to do something uplifting, that would feel better for their medium," Martz added.
"Frankly, I feel kind of the same way about video games right now, that we're not nearly as creatively broad as we could be," he said. "We often stay very safe, and safe in some pretty often reprehensible directions, or at least thoroughly uncreative."
"You know, we're known for space marines who like violence, primarily. And I think our medium can do many more things than that. And I think that mission of Sesame Street, that original vision of a medium being a force for good -- one that can make people feel better about their lives and one that they can learn from -- I feel incredibly beholden that we make a product that lives up to that pretty audacious, inspirational goal."
For more from Martz and Double Fine founder and creative director Tim Schafer on Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
-- and the interesting story of how Double Fine ended up with the Sesame Street license -- read the full Gamasutra feature
, available now.