Saturday, July 19, 2008

We need to be bigger.

E3 is done and most of the gaming web is filled with reports, keynote speeches, interviews, features, trailers, the works. It is also filled with moaning, whinging, and groaning about how lacklustre it was, and how people are just disappointed. Now, this is nothing new of course and so this is not really what this post is about. What it is about is the type of people that gaming seems to attract the most -

Self-centred, immature, twats. There. I said it. I was browsing kotaku, just trying to catch up on some of the E3 news that I had been postponing, and I came across their article on Wii music from the Nintendo Developer Roundtable. If you read that post first, it will explain the rest of my rant to follow.

The responses have just been disheartening. Are people just so blinkered that they can focus on one quote by Miyamoto and take it to mean that Nintendo had betrayed them and it is time to lament the good ol'days? Or is it the medium of text that by its nature can remove the context of a statement without careful phrasing? Or is it just Kotaku stirring up controversy?

Man, I am pissed. Just because he said that since it wasn't gamey it was better than a videogame, doesn't mean that he believes that games are stupid, or that Nintendo won't make 'gamey' games any more. This is a man who designed and put out Mario Galaxy! A game that most people went gaga over online last year. Less than ayear ago! Maybe some perspective is in order? Anyone ever think that maybe Miyamoto was just annoyed at all the press that has led to people believing that normal games are not being put out on the Wii and this is feeding back into the publishers and some developers who now seem to believe that the Wii is not for their more mainstream fare? He hears it again one more time, and he responded a bit testily? Hell, I would! Screw you and your videogames then if Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime, Boom Blox, Lost Winds, Trauma Centre, Mario Kart, Excite Truck are not gamey enough and make our console solely a casual console. Yes! Wii Fit is better than a standard videogame! We are making people exercise. Yes! Wii Music is better than your standard videogame! We want to get people interested in music! We are attracting a crowd that is interested in more than just shooting, jumping, breaking, burning, and destroying things.*

Imagine that, I can say all this and I don't even own a Wii. It's not rocket science to think bigger/wider.

Sometimes I fear that videogames as most of them currently are reinforce this sort of attitude in gamers. Most games offer instant gratification for relatively little input, empower the player and place them in the position of Campbell's Hero archetype. They make the players feel special. And entitled. People whinge when they don't get what they want and refuse to look at a bigger picture or even the other side of the argument. These games do not ask for them to do so either. In fact, games pander to this demographic. I believe game designers should try and take a more active role in trying to destroy this mindset by creating more game systems that subvert or oppose this way of thinking. There should be more games like Shadow of the Colossus where the standard videogame trope of being the powerful hero on a quest to save someone is subverted in a really great way through the use of the gameplay and the visuals.

Where are all the thinking gamers? Do they still only play Go, or chess? Where are the ones that play videogames? The gamers that game not only for fun and relaxation, but also as a source of understanding themselves better, and in the case of competitive games, their opponents as well, or even gaming as a means to enlightenment. Speak up people! Maybe if gamers had more people like that to look up to, maybe we could excise our community from the general mess that the current generation seems to be developing (We could also create a better image of our pasttime. After all, if you meet someone who plays chess or Go, or one of those types of games, it is natural to assume that they must be smart on some level). We should not accept all the limited thinking that is going on!

Then again, maybe the problem is not most gamers and the fact that games could maybe be reinforcing this behaviour. It could just be that the internet attracts a LOT of people, and unfortunately, most of humanity is just plain not interested in thinking or being bigger.

UPDATE: Just ran across some links with game designers talking about implementing some of things I am ranting about on here. One is a link from The Brainy Gamer, who by the way is also a very good example of the kind of gamer I am hoping we have more of. The second is from the creator of The Baron (reviewed here) and Fate (also reviewed by Emily Short here)

*This could be completely wrong of course.

1 comment:

TISU said...

hear hear...or is it here here?
either way i'm all for it!