Saturday, January 20, 2007

Slamming Slamdance

Of course the internet is abuzz with this Slamdance controversy. It is a pretty serious affair. I am a firm believer, not only in freedom of speech, but that every artist deserves a forum for their expression. Skipping over the discussion of "what is a artist?" and whether SCMRPG! is work of art, the fact that they were actively courted by Slamdance and then kicked out of the festival is just despicable. I cheered from my computer chair as other games withdrew in protest. It is well documented how the Comic Code strangled the comic book industry's voice for decades. It wouldn't be too wise to submit another medium to that prison.

So when I first read Jason Rohrer's The Death of Slamdance I disagreed. You have to stand by your principles for them to mean anything, I thought. It would be sign of weak morals if you backed out of your decision to back out. But I got to thinking that line of thought was far too stubborn to be right. It's a little too Dubya for me. I mean, what's there to gain from continuing to stay out of the competition? They've already garnered a ton of publicity for their actions, they've draw attention to the issue; they've accomplished all the goals that an action like that can plausibly have. To continue along that course would be to condemn what could otherwise prove beneficial to our mission*, the Slamdance Games Festival. We should open the avenues of discussion. People from both sides should talk about why this occured, what caused it, and what can be done to make sure this never happens again. If its regretful decision they should be able to talk honestly and candidly about why this decision occurred. If they can't, then we should probably rethink attending next year, but we should at least give them a chance to defend their position, no? They probably won't take it but whatever, it's only fair we at least give them the opportunity. Can't hurt, right?

* which is making awesome games of course!