i just caught up with the 20th anniversary episode, and it was really good. as many pointed out, the highlight was Azurelore Korrigan’s succinct answer (perhaps The Definitive Answer) to the question “What the hell is wrong with videogames?”, which was conveniently posted as a video:
i think between this and episode 146 we got a pretty good overview of the many, many things that are wrong with games. given all that, i propose that right here, right now, in this figurative room, we go ahead and fix them! my question to you all is this: how can games be better? it’s a big question; the answer can encompass design trends, industry practices, and even larger ideas about what makes life worth living… so, to get us started, some hints, from the video above (sorry for any inaccuracies):
[…] If you look at the language of videogames, it’s basically an understanding of cause and effect, of a certain bottled world, of a premise of how things can be […] and you bash your head against it -see what works, see what doesn’t work- in order to understand somebody’s perspective of the causaled reality we live in.
The amount of literacy with which people engage with videogames -I mean, understandably- is that they are just looking to have a good time; they’re not looking for interesting ideas, or new experiences, or getting new perspectives on the world -they might when engaging with other forms of expression they might have to think about more, that have more of a reputation for being “deep thought” things- but with videogames, they just think “oh, I’m just gonna chill, I’m just gonna have my little bit of reward from my life that is completely unrewarding to me. Everything in my life in this capitalist society is making me feel dehumanized -here I get to feel like the centre of the world, everything is built around me, everything is built around making me feel good”. If you’re not thinking about that very critically, and you’re just pouring yourself into it, that’s not that much different than pouring yourself down an Alex Jones wormhole. Videogames have very much the same effect, or they can, depending on how you engage with them, and what kinds of games you’re engaged with -I think more so than any other media, because they demand active engagement, but it’s on this really gross level.
Brandon: Those roots are definitely palpable throughout the entirety of games but I think that recently, -in the last like, 5 years, people have actually started to think about it and address it.
Azurelore: Yeah, there are a lot of interesting indie games out there where people are actually trying to express ideas that are meaningful to them through the language they can, and sometimes those have interesting things to say, but they don’t demand that huge portion of my life, they just ask a modest amount of my time, and in order to have a more honest conversation.
so, come on, whether you agree with the statements above or not, pie in the sky pipe dream brainstorm!
how can videogames be better?
ideas so far:
more dribble the beach ball minigames // computer-board-game hybrids, less dependence on screens // more games that are in conversation with other artistic mediums rather than just other games // less games where violence is the main action // stop it with the gratuitous horniness // more local and online coop games, more games as a thing to be enjoyed with other people // more games that actively push creative play // it doesn’t have to have crafting // seriously enough with the crafting already // more foundational innovation; trying to create new kinds of experiences that only an interactive medium can facilitate; games can be anything, including things we don’t understand yet, let’s push that boundary! //
in games discussion, move focus away from newest releases and promote enjoying and re-evaluating games from all eras and platforms // normalise being honest and assertive about why you like games instead of disingenuous // stop referring to addiction and obsession as positive features // promote videogame literacy; help people identify manipulative design // stop gatekeeping attitudes; all games, platforms and genres are valid and valuable //
get more people who aren’t “in” videogames making videogames // design games with accessibility in mind, without making assumptions about the player’s existing knowledge // normalise piracy/de-commercialisation of older games for preservation purposes // make games available to those who can’t afford them (i.e. in libraries) // offer a variety of difficulty modes // get rid of artificial hardware requirements, the technology is there to bring games to almost any device //
BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS
demonise and stigmatise crunch culture for the exploitative tactic that it is // hold companies accountable when there is documented sexism and other abusive working conditions, don’t just continue as usual //