The current fashion in the games industry, especially amongst games designers that don't appear to be making games that sell well, if they are actually building games at all, is to rant that it's "going all corporate", or that "games are too expensive to make", or "there are no distribution venues for great games", blah blah, ad nauseum.
I could go on.
If you want to make art, then make art. I firmly believe that mainstream games can be art. Look at Half Life 2, Halo, Prince of Persia, Ico, to name but a few.
But I think what most of these critics of the industry want to make is "art-house art". And they want to have the critical and monetary reward for it.
Please feel free to try, and I applaud you if you succeed. But don't blame the rest of the industry for your inability to succeed when what you what to produce does not appeal to the buying public. And don't talk to me about needing to "educate the consumer". That's just elitist arrogance, just like the "in" crowd you never quite fit in with.
In this industry, as in many others, the art requires resources and resources are expensive. That, unfortunately, can make the realization of a perfect dream unattainable. How many glorious movie scripts have gone unproduced?
From Charles Boom's (one of the most talented game developer's I've had the pleasure to work with) 7/30/05 rant:
The people making games in the industry are for the most part doing their best to make good games within the realities of the market. You can't rant at them to get more talented. You can't expect them to do things the market & financing won't tolerate. If you want to rant at someone, rant at the consumers who keep buying the derivative crap, but that's not unique to games, consumers keep flocking to the next pop music wonder, the next explosion-fest movie, etc. Part of the problem with this is the continuing cycle of consumers - the young spend the most on new products, and the young have shitty immature taste.
By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that mainstream games are shitty. I'm saying that your art-house title, or perfect ascetic of what a game should be may not sell well, and as a result be the most attractive prospect for a publisher. Maybe a patron model is needed?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And remember, for every Steven Spielberg or Robert Rodriguez, we have our Will Wright or Jason Jones.