Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Kotaku just put up an article on what parents think of video games. Journalist Stephen Totilo asked parents what they thought their kids got out of video games. Good read, check it. 

All of the responses are pretty standard by now, with some weighing in on the values, others saying games are a waste of time,etc,etc,etc. Heard them all before. But one response from a parent really stands out:

Lets be honest most "Popular Games" don't require analytical thinking or planning or creativity. Sure you might find the one game out of 30 that require you to use the grey matter, but for the most part, they will not. MW2, probably the most popular game in recent history was just basically a rail shooter. Even the competitive component favors twitch reflexes over actual planning and tactics. WoW, the most successful game to date does not require analytical thinking or analysis.

So why does this stand out (aka annoy the fuck out of me)? Well I'll tell you ('he's going to tell, he's going to tell):

1- 'Let's be honest'- I fucking hate when people say or write that. Granted I've probably done it too, which is why I hate it even more. But writing 'let's be honest' is such a pussy way to argue. It's like the LAMEST attempt at debate, as if putting 'let's be honest' in front of the bullshit you are about to spew makes your listeners more apt to swallow it. Like 'I didn't think you were right before, but yeah, since now we're being HONEST and not just LYING to ourselves, sure, I gotta concede your point'. Fuck you.

2- Why is Popular Games in quotes? Is Modern Warfare 2 not REALLY a popular game but just an imaginary popular game? Is all that money Activision is raking in just pretend money? I don't understand. Perhaps this parent has a point if he's talking about imaginary games. Altho I would think imaginary video games are even MORE valuable for kids because they promote, you know, imagination.

3- Finally to his/her actual point- what a stupid fucktard. MW2 requires no tactics or strategy? Guess he has not actually played the game but just seen the tv commercials (which tends to be the case with these people who make this argument). Guess he/she has not played the Spec Ops mission where your buddy is in a copter and you are on the ground in the burbs trying to reach an extraction point. It was tense and required team work, communication, planning, resource management, and a host of other cerebral skills to succeed at the mission. Any good game designer KNOWS that a even a mediocre game HAS to tickle the brain or the game gets old in 5-10 minutes. 90% of what designers DO is try to figure out how to make a game engaging and trust me, it's got NOTHING to do with blood and effects and machine guns. That surface stuff TOTALLY matters to get your core audience of adult males INTO your game to begin with. But what keeps them playing- and purchasing versus renting- is engaging play. The presentation- which is what most people who know NOTHING about video games bitch about- is JUST the trick you use to entice the player to show up in the first place. But once they show up, your game better deliver the gameplay (read: mental) goods or you are sunk.

Man, I'm so fucking sick of this argument from people who don't play video games and yet- for some stupid ass reason- they think their opinion is worth something in this debate. 

Ok done- off to work! Later ya'll!