My favourite finds for last week all show signs of an industry turning inwards upon itself, examining its own
core and casting back a reflection of a heart that has started to beat to a
different tune. Could it be that the rattle of machine guns, larger than life
characters and adrenaline pumping action is no longer what satisfies the
seeking gamer? Have we had our fill of AAA titles? Have our gaming pallets
I am noticing a subtle change
within the psyche of the Gamer. This thrills me beyond expression; my toes are
curling with delight and anticipation. Have a look with me at these exceptional
articles, and drop me your thoughts in the comments section below.
Up first is an article that intrigued me so much, I went and
bought the game, played it in one sitting, and as the final credits rolled, I
started looking for the next episode.
I Was Looking For a Game That Starred Empathy. I Found it Behind All the Zombies. By Kate Cox on Kotaku.
“The Walking Dead is, in some ways, one of the hardest games
I have ever played. It's not that a high level of game-playing skill or timing
are required. The difficulty comes from being required to make a choice when
there are no right or wrong options. You just met stranger A and stranger B at
the same time, ten minutes ago. Now, they're both in danger and you're in a
position to save a life—but only one life. How do
you choose? For a game to put us in a
position where we can feel its characters souls, we must understand when
and how they would feel merciful to others. A game that looks seriously at
empathy, hope, faith, life, and death—and that actually makes the player
examine the concepts, rather than paying lip service to them in cut-scenes
alone—is the kind of game I hope to keep playing more of.”
The second piece went all out by boldly declaring that YES,
gamers are desperate for a new genre. We want to play games that allow us to
experience aspects of the human psyche which have mostly been absent in AAA
Gone Home: Gentle Gaming Takes Aim at Shooters. Quiet exploration offers an alternative to gaming’s brutal death-parades. By Colin
Campbell on IGN.
“One of the gifts
bestowed upon a grateful 2012 has been the rise of gentle-gaming,
intellectually exploratory adventures like Dear Esther and Journey, tales with
actual ideas. They float into our lives, thanks to busy little teams driven by
a sunny desire to tell great stories. To contrast this slow, thoughtful
wandering story with the “AAA” games we saw at E3 - intense, colorful
renditions of gross brutality - is to stretch out one’s arms and feel, at each
fingertip, the gap between two extremes of gaming, between the electric thrill
of destruction and the touch-feely
meanderings of more tender chronicles.”
The naked honesty and desperation of the author in this next
article is a shocking eye opener. Here is a fanboy of the first person shooter,
action genre, saying out right, that he has had enough of mindless action
setting the pace for games.
In Tomb Raider, Hell Is Always Other People.
By Evan Narcisse on Kotaku.
“My favorite parts of
various Tomb Raider titles have always been
the wide expansive vistas the games have taken me to, chock full of deathtraps
or treasures and done up in the styles of long-dead civilizations. Swimming
down to Atlantean ruins or shimmying on the ledge of an ancient Aztec ruin
always felt more electrifying than another jump-roll-shoot gunfight with a
bunch of generic thugs. The series' biggest successes have been in transporting
players to the faraway and the mythic, and letting them comb through those
environments. Whenever the murmurs of human voices floated toward me in the
game, I knew that some fight would happen and that it'd take me from what I
really loved about controlling Lara Croft. The big villains of the series have
always been the worst kinds of scenery-chewers, too, mouthing off about power
or destiny or riches and why they deserve it. Whatever. I want my solitude back.”
My fascination with Indie games is no secret; I believe it
is the womb that births the new experience gamers are desperately looking for. This
next article features an interview a local journalist had with Indie developer,
Benjamin Hill from White Paper Games studios.
“Indiedevving”Like a Baws: Benjamin Hill on Gaming and ETHER.
By Yolanda Green on do Gaming.
contribution (in your opinion) do video games make to society apart from
Hill: “In my opinion video games have huge
cultural significance to society on a variety of different levels. Yes they are
used as entertainment but as with all games (not just video games) there are a
huge amount of positive functions that can come out of problem solving, which
is of course the heart of all games.
Games can be used to address and explore academic issues allowing us to look at
cognitive science and psychology from new and exciting angles as well as
adventure into new ways of communication.”
final article reads like a bucket of cold water thrown into the face of a
shocked, suddenly trying to grow up, testorene pumped up, male dominated
industry. The interesting thing is, men
are starting to join the conversation and question the work of their own hands.
In the sexism discussion, let's look at game culture.
By Leigh Alexander on Gamasutra.
“We have a mainstream
culture that doesn't represent what a mature, progressive audience wants to
buy. It's not always a problem when this happens -- interesting, independent
creation will always thrive on the fringe of any medium. But here we have a
mainstream culture many healthy adults cringe at being associated with. It's
not just good dumb fun: There's something sick about it.”
articles all indicate that the gaming industry and culture has reached a place with
enough critical mass to venture into the unexplored terrain of the mature
psyche. We want more emotion, better choices, immersive stories, less eye candy
and more accurate character portrayal. We have grown up. We want the type of games that reflect the mind of the typical adolescent
male, but also the games that reflect the thoughtful, sensitive and finer parts
of our being. Dare I say, the feminine side ;)
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