Friday, May 6, 2011

GROGNARDIA: Open Friday: Gamebook Art

GROGNARDIA: Open Friday: Gamebook Art: "One of the contemporary trends of the hobby I must confess to not liking a great deal is the rather 'art heavy' nature of a lot of gamebooks..."

   To which I commented "Art is like using spices in cooking. Sprinkling it in improves the flavor but using to much overpowers the actual dish. Also like spices, good art tends to be expensive so using a lot can really jack up the price." but with some thought I realized I wanted to expand on it and include more cooking references for some reason.
   I want to start by say that art is not just to gamebooks like spices are to cooking. It is the same to gamebooks as spices are to cooking. Some things can be taken from this. First is that a gamebook does not Need art to be good and in fact some of the better rule systems are just as good with or without just like a really good steak.
   Also as I had mentioned using to much of it overpowers the actual dish. Its basically the joke "would you like some [main dish] with your [condiment]" and while this may just be over enthusiastic use of seasoning it could be malicious. A rich sauce with a shellfish dish may be used to hide the fact that the shellfish are no longer wholesome and just like that a lot of high quality art could easily hide a broken rule system long enough for you to purchase it.
   Another thing to look at is price. Sure for both spices and art the price for a decent quality has gone down some but the really good stuff is still expensive. I don't know about others but I would myself prefer a sprinkle of the really good as compared to a flood of average. Sure you might only be able to afford a few high quality pictures and a great cover for you book but this will improve the content without hiding it while if you spend the money on a lot of average art you will only be bringing the overall quality down. Remember a little good accents your work while a lot of average pulls your work towards that average.
   Art has its place in gamebooks and should not be left out unless you really can't afford it but its better to leave out if you can't afford art at least as good as your work.


  1. What do you think about the art in my games? They are free, so you can just quickly flip through.

  2. Greg, overall I really enjoy the art in all of the games. They are all quite a high quality. To be more specific though I have some nitpicks bellow. I will mention though before that that nothing was wrong and most of what I mention is just a little off as compared to the art style.

    Statecraft was laid out quite well but page 40 with its world view is jarring compared to the rest of the images which all involve paintings of people in some way. I would have had a painting of the world instead so its less jarring as compared to the rest of the art.

    For Errant on pages 28 and 60, Cascade Failure on pages 35 and 39, and Synapse on pages 4 and 118 you have images that don't have a background of some sort and a border. The images are of excellent qualities but the rest of the imagesa are all "complete" pictures with backgrounds and borders so the 6 pictures stand out more then others.

    Also something that stood out to me as being really well done is the dice in the corner for Oceans. I thought it was quite a good fit for the game.