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Most Popular Video Games Are Dumb. Can We Stop Apologizing for Them Now?

Kotaku's Taylor Clark writes:"A few weeks ago, the Atlantic magazine published a profile I wrote of the developer Jonathan Blow, a man known in gaming circles as much for his criticism of the mainstream game industry's intellectual shortcomings as he is for Braid, the outstanding game he created.

To put it mildly, this article pissed a lot of gamers off; in fact, given the tenor of the comments by gaming enthusiasts on Twitter and on fine websites like this one, it seems that many people believe my talents might lie less with game criticism and more with, say, janitorial technology."

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Bimkoblerutso2335d ago

I agree with the author, though I think there's room for just about everything in this industry. It's not as if movie or music industry are any different. The big budget releases are always big, dumb, and instantly accessible, while the low budget releases explore the more "artistic" (if you want to call it that) aspects of their given medium.

As a general rule, it's unrealistic to think that games as weird or intellectual as, say, Limbo or Braid would appeal to a wide enough audience to warrant sinking a AAA budget into them.

christian hour2335d ago (Edited 2335d ago )

Exactly,(plus bubbs my friend!) popular music is exactly the same, dumbed down and scientifically engineered to activate certain brain functions to basically make it serve as craic for the brain. Certain rhythms, notes and structures that are "predictable", our brains love that crap, even if we don't know it. Of course big companys who survive by their profits are going to take the most profitable road.

Movies, books, hell any art form has its dumbed down exploitable cash cow tactics that saturate their respective mediums, and take the spotlight away from the true artistic products that have something to say or evoke. It's up to the individual to search through the clutter for the real gems, the diamonds in the rough.

I do feel personally however that games are the worst in that respect right now and do agree with the articles author. More so with this latest generation of gaming than any other, the market is saturated in FPS games or just mindless fun games with a sub-par plot and juvenile tendencies, while games like Psychonauts(ancient example, but still relevant) get lost in the current despite being critically acclaimed games. But this was the price paid when games became more mainstream and were no longer considered childish or nerdy.

I have a feeling the scales will balance eventually and it will even out to the same ratios as in film and books etc, a recent example would be the comic book medium, just look how long it took for it to go from childish super hero stories overcrowding the market to auto-biographical graphic novels and tales of real people and the human condition finally getting an even share of attention, and I think we're starting to see that in gaming too, with PSN and XBLA we are seeing some amazing, beautiful, well thought games coming out for a more grown up mature audience like Flower or Braid. Kickstarter as well could produce some amazing things, assuming it isnt taken advantage of or ultimately fails in waht it set out to do.

Long story short I'm tired of countless sequels to games i feel didnt need sequels but merely exist because, money, whilst games I feel deserve sequels (Beyond good and evil?) are left to the wayside. Movies get a bad rap for countless pointless sequels and remakes, but I feel gaming has it worse, and I understand it all comes down to financial gambles versus proven money making franchise, so I can't blame the devs really, just the mass consumers that continually buy into this crap.

I have the same beef with movies and music, but I learned along time ago to just accept that its a majority rule world, and as an overpopulated species where survival of the fittest no longer applies (in 1st and 2nd world countries anyways) its only undesrtandable the majority are uninformed low intelligent cattle with money to burn. No offence, especially if this does not apply to you and you have the ability to recognise other peoples opinions and are mature enough to avoid their influence and seperate them from you own opinions.

RXL2335d ago

obviously not a game developer and calling ANY game "Dumb" let along the "most popular" ones, is a slap in the face of those that spent the long nights coding..giving up hours upon hours

and day after day not seeing family or friends because of the complex codes having to be written out..tested..approved and starting back at one..

that'd be like calling someones poem "dumb"..or fifty chapter book "dumb"...

i don't agree with this article..and the author comes off as a snob.

game on..

ShaunCameron2335d ago

Not only that but also the author comes off as bitter. All this talk of popular games being "dumb" reeks of pure jealousy in a rather laughable attempt at being objective.

CLOUD19832335d ago

Well I am sure that most ppl who start gaming at the 80's & the 90's will agree with that article, we have too much brainless games & especially shooters, what the industry lack is more mature games for adult crowd there is millions of adults who still play video games and I am sure that those ppl prefer the game they play to have some mature plot not something that excites kids in elementary & middle school.. so with few words spent more time in the plot/story plz & give us adults games that it's crystal clear they made for mature audience and not little kids.

Ravenor2335d ago

I guarantee you Mass Effect wasn't designed for children. Unfortunately for you, you're going to find that generally for a lot of adults who play games the stuff that would excite younger gamers, generally also excites adults.

What's a brainless game vs one that you find super stimulating?

CLOUD19832335d ago

I think u said it backward, u mean games made for adults excite kids also, and the reason is simple because u can find forbidden things for little kids on those games as too much gore, sexual concept, swearing etc

I am the kind of guy that follow creators and not franchises because some ppl have proved to me that they r loyal to their fans and never disappoint them some of those ppl that first come to my mind is:

Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy & more)
Tetsuya Takahashi (Xenogears, Xenoblade)
Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid)
Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Zwei *new project*)
Keiichiro Toyama (Silent Hill, Siren)

It's not coincidence that when those ppl the original creators stop working on famous franchises as Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, Resident Evil those games take a turn for the worst, that's why the first think I look before I buy a game is not it's title but the person who made it, this names on top of a game any game is something like a "GOLDEN SEAL OF APPROVAL" for me.

christian hour2335d ago (Edited 2335d ago )

CLOUD! *Weeps with joy* I thought I was the only one who followed developers and not franchises, I havent touched a final fantasy since Hironobu left and started Mistwalker, was also great to see Nobuo work on the music too, it was like all the things Il oved about final fantasy had left so why stick with it? And time has only proven how terrible that franchise has become without the original passion behind it. Same goes for Call of duty. Why are people still playing those games when Infinity ward is a shadow of its former self, I look forward to whatever game West and Zampella bring out under their new company "Respawn".

I try to explain to friends who buy each annual release of COD that what they're doing is ridiculous, buying a game made by the same people that made medal of honour until it was milked dry by pubs, only to have the same thign happen to COD, would you not rather wait until THEIR next game? It wasnt the name that made COD or the original Modern Warfare so great, it was the people behind it. But they just dismiss as a buzz kill while they spend 60 quid on the same game they bought last year.

Also love all the Dev's you listed, and the franchises, love them all, and have successfuly avoided any iterations that were released without the original creators behind the helm. Though I feel I will have to buy halo 4, 343 still has a lot of dedicated bungie staff on hand, and the all important (to me anyway) Frankie O'Connor, once he leaves I'll probably say goodbye to Halo.

Also I feel Fumito Ueda needs a special mention here. Constantly churning out NEW ip's rather than just work on sequels, the freedom Team ICO are given is a rarity and a privilege they have yet to screw up or abuse/

Ravenor2335d ago

Because big budget film and television is a intellectually rich experience....riiiight. Its kinda like this guy doesn't look at the context of things. Video games aren't going to be like movies in that they aren't always "Cinematic" experiences. My character in Skyrim is kinda like me in real life (Sans the murder and really loud shouting) in real life I will sometimes be thrust into situations where I have no idea what's going on and why, kinda like Skyrim.

kevnb2335d ago

well most people are pretty dumb sadly.

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