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Opinion: The dubious new face of 'everyone's a gamer now'
Opinion: The dubious new face of 'everyone's a gamer now' Exclusive
January 30, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander

January 30, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander
Comments
    45 comments
More: Console/PC, Art, Design, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



As video games hurtle toward ubiquity, perhaps the spirit of games is changing, and not necessarily for the best. Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander examines this concept in this introspective editorial.

Everyone in New York City has a uniform. They move in factions: The sun's first light daily glitters off skyscraping municipal corridors, a signal to launch a terrifying army of suits hurtling in breakneck lines through the packed subways to surge like black ants up into the streets, marching to work.

You find yourself on the train with a man in a Yankees cap and a Giants jersey both loudly proclaiming what side he is on. You grip a handrail as some subway car screams and rattles through a precarious tunnel, trying not to jostle a peck of mechanics in the collared shirts of their somewhere-shop.

You find yourself seated across from a boy proudly decked in a fur hat with cat ears, toting a backpack bedazzled with the regalia of anime buttons and sullenly he raises his eyes to you like what?

These days I work from apartments, cross-legged, my hands pale, hard-knuckled spiders making feverish obeisances to a keyboard. But in 2007 I was a Member of the Workforce, pitching some of my earliest video game features during solitary evenings in a vague urge to escape the noise.

As a nanny by day, I joined the fleet of strollers hustling desperately down precarious stairs amid the humid sweat of others' personal space; the leisurely afternoon would be ripped open by a sudden thunderclap of recently-freed schoolkids, the night by a chorus of party voices, jangling bangles and desperate wails.

I clung to a singular idea, one blithely propagated by the websites I read, That Everyone Is Now A Gamer, that there was no longer a uniform, that my DS had a WiFi signal because it was a beacon that would unite us all. I had just broken up after a years-long relationship; I pitched articles about dating sims and spent my days surreptitiously checking my DS to see if there was anyone else nearby me in PictoChat. There never was.

Despite Nintendo's clean white and groomed Wii and DS marketing, the only DSes I ever saw on the subway were metallic scuffed pink and dirty little-boy blue, in the hands of children. Women my own age, dressed in the natty Manhattan productivity uniform, gave me side-eye when I sat playing mine, sweatshirt spotted with the detritus of the children I was paid to take care of but not old enough to've had myself.

I was a nanny for only a season before I started working in games in earnest. It's not really been so long since then, and yet it's been forever. These days I can talk about games and play games with any number of people. It's part of the job. I once stood in a sea of strangers and heard not one tinny coin-sound; now I tick text snippets into the universe and thousands of gamers reply.

And when I step into the subway, no one looks up at me; I enter a corridor of people with their heads in their laps, fixed on luminous screens. They're slingshotting cartoon birds into tiny towers, they are managing villages, they're frenetically running digital restaurants. There is a child in a stroller holding an iPhone, kept calm by it.

At the airport I can't charge my phone because a woman has co-opted the entire charging station, arranged a sprawling metropolis of adapters for her children and their iPads and their iPad games.

The dispiriting majority of my New York friends in their twenties struggle to find work. The younger ones among them have entered the workforce eagerly clutching English and arts degrees in hand as they line up for indefinite unpaid internships or work in coffee shops. I rarely ride the subway at rush hour anymore, but the newspaper headlines suggest that the number of uniformed soldiers marching off to be sorted into their tall task towers has thinned. Across America we turn our sullen eye to the evening news, waiting to hear about almighty Jobs.

Yet in what we universally understand is a poor economy, Apple's iPad has managed to lead the market in the creation of an expensive "second screen" that most people, when asked early on, would have said they saw no use for. There are a million articles across all kinds of publications about how we are getting lost in our phones and losing intimacy with one another, about the rise of texting-while-driving fatalities, about the subtle neurosis that being accessible to constant notifications slowly induces in our culture. Ian Bogost recently designed a game that likened the iPhone to a rosary, a thing we constantly palm and thumb for ritual, for security.

Now we've been prescribed a methadone device, a tablet to use when we want to be more engaged than a phone allows, but less engaged than a computer or television requires. Interim distraction. I visit unemployed and under-employed friends and they look up only briefly from their luminous virtual farms, virtual cities, virtual businesses to greet me. The games ask for handfuls of change, here and there. The cost of that morning coffee you'd buy if you were commuting, working.

Today I played Temple Run, which currently tops the free apps; an adventurer hurtles frenetically through abandoned civilization, racking up coins.

This vein of gaming is price-prohibitive devices where people in a climate of anxiety predominantly "play" by simulating repetitive labor or idle physics. This is the odd, provocative face of the mass market -- not the culture of play we dreamed of just a few years ago where you're a controller and people come over to dance or exercise with you. Belatedly Nintendo launches a console with a tablet accompanying.

This is not to ring a doom bell or to levy a blanket referendum or something against mobile gaming, which is of course just one throbbing arm in game design's complex organism. It's just an interesting thing to think about, especially given that all of these mundane and addicting fantasies we use to avoid looking at each other in public emerged under the banner of "social" games -- to lead us to a bleak living room vision where a family sits in silence in front of the TV, everyone playing silently with their own screen. To decompress, to zone out, to masticate unspoken anxieties.

It's especially interesting given the rising popularity of simulated board and card games on iPad; a particularly obsessive board-gamer friend of mine has so far cataloged one hundred and twenty-three iPad apps that are digital adaptations of actual physical games, and fully expects that number to double by the end of 2013. I wonder if that trend represents some kind of forgotten ache for tactile things, as if the pervasive touch screen engenders, clumsily, some vestigial longing for actual touch.

Who knows whether this soft introduction to those kinds of game mechanics might eventually lead people to try more real, physical games together; that's always been the dream, hasn't it? Game developers pushing microtransactions-driven social games, viral Facebook labor engines, have always liked to point out they've finally made a game their mother wants to play, as a sort of justification for that sinister virulence.

So here we are: Games are for everyone, now. Well done. Now what?


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Comments


Justin Sawchuk
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The top free game is clash of clans --a cow clicker, grossing over $1 millions a day because of the terrible input that is touch screens.

Andrew Traviss
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I was surprised to discover that Clash of Clans isn't actually a cow clicker. It's definitely a microtransaction funnel, but it's also a cross between a simple tower defense and Angry Zombies. There's actually some meat on the bone, but it's seasoned with pointedly bad game balance.

Jay Anne
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I like what this article is trying to hint at, but I cannot figure out what it's actually saying. Are you wishing that people that play Words with Friends start playing the actual physical board game Scrabble? Or wishing that people that play Clash of Clans start playing Civilization 5?

Jay Anne
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Okay, I re-read the article a few times. I believe that it is saying that all these new casual gamers aren't real gamers, and we hoped they would turn into real gamers, but they didn't. And somewhere in between, a thesaurus blew up. Please, conserve your energy for your NaNoRiMo ;-)

I believe the virulence that you speak of...that is a sign that this level of casual gaming is not natural. It is not something that most people want badly enough to make sense as a business. Userbases must be created forcibly through questionable means. Money must be extracted from them like blood from a stone. They're just not really that into games, and the only difference between now and 10 years ago? We just invented superior "questionable means" and superior "blood extraction". But really, they're just not that into you, game industry.

Christian Nutt
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I think she's asking if YOU wish that.

Jay Anne
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@Christian Nutt
Oh I see. Plurality is good. I wish more people played both Clash of Clans and Civ 5. I don't care whether or not the Clash of Clans players start playing Civ 5. As long as both exhibit signs of being healthy industries, I am happy as a gamer and developer. I don't see one or the other as superior. I wish game developers would stop badmouthing games they do not personally enjoy.

Maria Jayne
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I tend to think people fail to identify what being a "gamer" is. In an effort to make the genre seem mainstream we have adopted anybody and everybody into the term.

However, the same cannot be said for the camera on a mobile phone, all mobile phones have cameras, most mobile phone users have used the camera to take photos....but nobody goes around declaring everyone is a photographer.

Just because you play games to pass time, doesn't make you a gamer. You could just as easily be doing any activity in that instance. A gamer sets aside time purely to play games as an activity for it's own enjoyment.

Raymond Ortgiesen
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It feels wrong to want to keep a term as broad as "gamer" to ourselves, excluding those who play games we feel are inferior from an inner circle of imagined "real" gamers.

I don't think your photography analogy holds water the way you think it does, photography is an act of producing something rather than consuming something. Most people wouldn't have the confidence to say they are a photographer because they know there is a lot of technical skill involved in producing a "good" photograph.

I think a better analogy would be something like being a reader or movie goer. Almost everyone is a "reader" in the sense that they can read, but not everyone is actively seeking out high quality books, checking reviews, following their favorite authors, etc. Would you call those people "real" readers while the others are not?

Andrew Wallace
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The point of labels is to distinguish specific groups. Once everyone's a gamer the word becomes meaningless, synonymous to "human". It's not about excluding people, or telling them what they are or aren't, it's about defending the integrity of the term.

Chris OKeefe
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People have been playing solitaire on their laptops/whatever for ages. I'm not sure I'd refer to my own mother - who has been doing this for decades - as a gamer, and I think she'd recoil at the term. Being the old fashioned sort that she is.

@Raymond, I understand where you are coming from, but there is such a thing as defining a term so broadly that it loses functionality. Even if we refer to this demographic as 'social gamers' that distinction is both important and useful. It represents two different things, two markets that only overlap in a superficial way.

I think we should probably refrain from excitedly declaring a 'Gamer' every person who plays Angry Birds on their phone on the way to work. If your view of games is simply that they are more interesting than staring vacantly at a wall, then you are no more a gamer than I am a food critique just because I recognize that spaghetti is objectively better than peanut butter on bread(barring allergies, let's not nitpick).

I think there's something to be said for drawing a line between 'consumers' and 'enthusiasts.' I think the games market has traditionally focused on an enthusiast market - people who don't just play games but will get excited about games. It's surprising to me that it took us this long to get to a point where we are creating games for non-enthusiasts. For consumers. Because we've finally convinced a good chunk of the population that playing games is more interesting (and socially acceptable) than staring vacantly at a wall.

This is either a huge feat or it's that tiny step that felt like a mile, but either way, I am not sure we can refer to this as a market of 'gamers.' A market of 'game consumers' yes, but 'gamers' implies a culture, a demographic of enthusiasts. At least to me. And more importantly, it is a serviceable distinction.

Devin Wilson
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"Just because you play games to pass time, doesn't make you a gamer. You could just as easily be doing any activity in that instance. A gamer sets aside time purely to play games as an activity for it's own enjoyment."

These "non-gamers" you're castigating don't enjoy the gameplay for its own sake? And are the "gamers" you're so eager to elevate doing anything but passing time until they die?

The "gamer" identity is the worst vestige of gaming culture. People of all stripes have been playing all kinds of games for centuries, and the only reason to cling to a "gamer" identity is to justify an expensive, obsessive pastime that steals mindful and/or social moments from our lives and replaces them with manipulative products that tend to keep us staring at an LCD screen rather than speaking to each other.

The concern of Alexander's piece is just this. Now that everybody is playing FarmVille and Angry Birds, is anybody going to be playing the "non-gamer" games that actually bring us together? The grandmothers playing rummy around kitchen tables will soon be extinct, much to the delight of game publishers, who haven't found a way to profit from a 10-year-old deck of well-worn playing cards. Self-identifying "gamers" should also rejoice, as their consumeristic identity becomes that much less ambiguous.

I'm sorry to jump all over you, but I have no patience for the imaginary battle-lines of gamer versus non-gamer, especially in light of a piece like this one.

Fred Zeleny
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"So here we are: Games are for everyone, now. Well done. Now what?"

Simple: use games to say something.

Too many of our games provide entertainment without message - whether it comes from a lack of vision or a corporate fear of controversy, too few games try to convey a message or propose a question beyond "wasn't that cool?" Every media has its share of meaningless entertainment, but meaningful games are far too few, rarely seen beyond the creations of indie auteurs and learned luminaries.

But if we're willing to take the risks, our games can give players something to think about, and enrich the players' lives outside the screen. Whether it's a question to debate with others, a balm for vexing anxieties, or a name for unrealized ones - the important thing is that we use this opportunity.

We've got their attention. Let's give them something to think about.

Jay Anne
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Games have been terrible at saying something, and it hasn't been for lack of trying.

What is an example of a game that said something meaningful to a large audience?

Fred Zeleny
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I question whether many games *are* trying to say anything. Some of the more ambitious titles, perhaps, and many of the indie and art games, certainly; but many larger titles are as message-free as a Michael Bay movie. And while there's a time and a place for mindless fun, few major, widespread games give more than a passing thought to a deeper message.

Angry Birds doesn't, Farmville doesn't, Call of Duty gives only the slightest pretense of a theme. Our industry's most widespread games are also its emptiest in terms of deeper meaning.

But there are positive examples. The Fallout games were dark satires of America's simultaneous path to destruction and naive blindness. The new Devil May Cry overtly satirizes consumer culture. Many indie games come with artist's statements detailing their intended message - Jason Rohrer's work is just one particular rich vein of examples.

Not all of these games have conveyed their messages clearly or with great impact, of course. Honestly, I don't care if they do it well or not; I just care that they try. Doing it well will come in time.

Michael Joseph
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"What is an example of a game that said something meaningful to a large audience?"
--

Star Control II, a very philosophical game and so the best non Star Trek, Trek game ever. The game reminds me of Babylon 5 which is a compliment.

Samuel Batista
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"What is an example of a game that said something meaningful to a large audience?"

Missile Command: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQJA5YjvHDU

David Navarro
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Perhaps games are simply not a good medium for delivering a message (because of the whole dialectic between designer intent and player agency) the same way that music is great at conveying emotions but not very good at delivering a narrative (even for such overtly "narrative" pieces as Beethoven's 'Pastoral' symphony, you still need to read the movement titles to know what's going on).

I don't think there's an obligation for any given medium to excel at all things.

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Fred Zeleny
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David, you raise a good point, and even though I'm a narrative designer and generally work on narrative games, I agree that games absolutely don't need a set narrative.

But they also don't need a set narrative to convey a message. For example, the Civ games have no set narrative, but still convey interesting messages about realpolitik and the struggle of nations.

The systems we design for our games determine how our players look at and measure the game, which influences how they look at and measure parts of their life. Narrative is only one of the tools for conveying message in our medium, along with the systems we build, the metrics we use, the goals we set, and the playstyles we encourage. While they may not be as easily understood by players that aren't game-literate as more traditional narrative, they're at least as powerful.

Jay Anne
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@Fred Zeleny
Artists and creators almost always overestimate the reach and effect of their message. Very few people took away meaningful messages from any of the mentioned examples. While I absolutely agree with you that more games should try to say something profound, they aren't yet good enough at it to matter.

[User Banned]
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Fiohnel Fiver
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@Jay Anne

Unmanned, Dys4ia, Lim, Depression Quest, Republia Times, Journey.

Llaura Mcgee
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Good, enriching games for everyone?

Mary Diamond
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Games have different depths just like gamers have different levels of commitment. It is a little creepy to see babies with smartphones now, I agree. These iPhone cases and toys that allow you to "protect" your phone while the baby plays with it are even weirder.

I saw a meme that said our smartphones have more computing power than NASA did in the 60's -and we're using them to launch birds instead of rockets (or something like that). There are so many other things that I use my phone for -I never really think of it as the kind of immersive gaming outlet that I have in my laptop, PC or consoles.

Lewis Pulsipher
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The spirit of "games" has certainly changed in the video game age. Tabletop games used to be (and still are) social, you played games with other people, and frequently enjoyed their company. I met my wife through Dungeons and Dragons (and other people participating in the games ended up married to one another). The fun came (and still comes, for those who play tabletop) from who you played with, however enjoyable or even funny the game was. Video games have largely lost that. They've become a way to "kill time".

As the platforms for games have become more mobile, more personal, people get farther and farther from that social ideal. Mike Gray of Hasbro described what true "social games" are like:

"If I gave you 20 dollars and told you to go and spend it on something that would bring your family together; something that delivers an experience where people can laugh or learn, or both, there's nothing that comes close to a game," he says. "When you're a kid games are about winning, but as you grow older you realize that having people want to play a game with you is a great compliment. And if it's a really good one, then you'll remember it for years. It'll become a memory, not just something you put back in the closet when you're done."

(No, I don't own a smartphone, an iPad, or any other mobile game platform. My time is valuable, I don't want to kill it. My desktop PC has an I7 and 9GB of RAM (not counting a couple GB of video RAM) when I want to play a video game.)

Travis Fort
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The reason casual games are how they are is due to the fact that the casual gamer is an untrained gamer. That's why they need a peripheral very easy to pick up and also one that they are already familiar with. Try giving someone in 1980 an Xbox controller and Halo.

It's my hope that eventually the casual market matures... quickly.

Robert Lever
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Now "games for everyone" start coming full circle. The monetization models are pretty fleshed out, now it's upon developers to bring back some of the design mentalities we had as bright eyed youths fresh out of college. "Mid Core" is just the first step in this evolution. Albeit in the guise of a virtual arcade cabinet where we make frequent In App Purchases instead of pumping in quarters...

tony oakden
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I really liked this article. Thanks for writing it. It was a really fun read even if it didn't answer or maybe even pose, important questions. Could do with a bit more of this IMO to liven the place up a bit.

Jeff Hamilton
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Agreed. While I understand the criticism from some commenters that the language was flowery and no definitive point was argued for, I really enjoyed having a pensive piece instead of seeing another axe to be ground. Additionally, comments like "Save this for NaNoWriMo" are inane and unfairly dismissive. People here should be capable of voicing their concerns without coming across as trolls on forums for the games we make.

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Pablo Simbana
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it hasn't bothered me until I saw my favorite publishers shifting towards this newly found market and leaving us former fans in the blue, some games are being dumbed down to be more accesible to this new market a perfect exaple is squareenix and all the bravest, who in their right minds thought it was a good idea!

Kujel Selsuru
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I've always seen gaming as a niche and I don't expect it to ever really become the past time of the masses, well not as long as the masses aren't nerds or geeks like us. As gaming has grown more popular with the masses the games coming out have grown less popular with me :( They seem to lack depth and themes that engage me but the masses love them. I was never one to embrace the tastes of the mass culture and always prefered sci-fi and fantasy worlds which are getting harder and harder to find in games these days.

I'm not against the idea of everyone becoming a "gamer" just so long as what I love about gaming isn't destroyed but sadly the mainstream doesn't enjoy what I enjoy and for the suits to make big fat pay checks they must convert my medium of choice into something the mainstream can understand and sadly something I can't understand. I don't care for sports of any kind (in fact I hate them) but the mass market loves them and many games have become a form of sport sadly. I'm not a big fan of hollywood flicks as they are shallow action scenes with no input from me and the majority of games this generation have been largely the same :( I've argued with people online many times about the definition of gamer cause some think it should mean anyone who plays games but I think it should me someone who's biggest interest is gaming. I don't care what the suits want I care what I want and I want gaming to return to what it was in the 80s and 90s, the domain of us nerds/geeks.

I could care less if my mother (or father) play the games I like as they never understood anything about me. I don't need validation I need to be allowed to play and develop the kinds of games that bring me joy. Sadly that is growing harder and harder as gaming goes ever more mainstream and the themes and styles I love so much are barried under mountains of app crap. I don't like using the terms hardcore or casual gamer, I just see gamers and lots and lots of pseudo-gamers. :(

BTW great write up Leigh!

Scott Reiling
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Brion and Kujel, I am with you. The indie scene has really grabbed my attention these past two years. I am an old-man who has been gaming for a very long time. I think many of my (our?) generation premonished the advent of mainstream gaming, and what it would do to creativity and quality.

Unfortunately (and predictably), we have become the minority. And before anyone here jumps on the "go (*&^ yourself, you hipster" bandwagon, understand that I am not against the games made for mainstream "gamers". Like Kujel, I just want more of the quality game that I used to enjoy back in the days when the likes of Garriot and Spector were churning out incredible titles. (As an example.. of course there were plenty more) This desire is fulfilled, for me, by the creative indie scene.

Chris Toepker
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What next? It's not like this path is untrodden. Look at radio, movies, TV. We will continue to develop (fun, entertaining) content to suit the expanding audience and resulting fragmentation. Just like those before us, in other media.

We in gaming have felt like "outsiders" for so long, and we are so young (as an industry), perhaps it's natural to keep thinking there will be a moment when we've "arrived." But there won't be. There will simply be continued evolution and revolution as we keep expanding our approaches and making great stuff. And maybe, once in a while, actually make something meaningful and touching.

Really, the more we stop thinking of ourselves as "different" the sooner we will mature as an industry, IMHO.

By the way, you have quite a few nice turns of phrase up there. Nice going.

Bob Johnson
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This article is entertaining, but forgets history or wasn't old enough to remember that games have always been for everyone.

The ~first big console vid game was Pong. Very accessible. The first arcade games were played by all kinds of folks and were in every convenience store and bar. Pacman was the Angry Birds of its day.

Everyone has played Solitaire on their computer. And Minesweeper. And Hearts. Mainstream folks on the internets early on found casual gaming on Yahoo, MSN, AoL, etc. Simple games that folks played while chatting with each other at the same time.

And we had PopCap games. Online poker is a massive online gaming market too. And more....

Some early pc cd games entered mainstream as well. Myst was played by many a non-gamer.

To say that suddenly we have made games for everyone forgets history.

To even think that the masses will hold gaming as dear as gamers do has always been wishful thinking. For gamers it is their "hobby." For others it is just a hour's or day's or minute's worth of escapist entertainment.

We can also look at board games for an example of the relationship between a "gaming" audience and a mainstream audience. No matter how many games of Pictionary or Scrabble or Uno or Monopoly the mainstream plays they are never going to suddenly want to play Diplomacy or Panzer Leader or D&D etc.




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Michael Joseph
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@Bob Johnson Thanks for a very thoughtful and intersesting perspective.

For sales, it's kind of scary to think about "the gamer" as still this introverted soul who is sitting alone at some computer or device escaping from the world. A soul that is feeding his/her need for connecting interactively to something meaningful that is... virtual.

That is unique to the "gamer." An interactive escape. For them, that makes it something more than a mere past time.

Pass Shoes
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Is anyone else instantly turned off by the flowery verbiage in articles like this?

"These days I work from apartments, cross-legged, my hands pale, hard-knuckled spiders making feverish obeisances to a keyboard."

"I joined the fleet of strollers hustling desperately down precarious stairs amid the humid sweat of others' personal space; the leisurely afternoon would be ripped open by a sudden thunderclap of recently-freed schoolkids, the night by a chorus of party voices, jangling bangles and desperate wails."

"I wonder if that trend represents some kind of forgotten ache for tactile things, as if the pervasive touch screen engenders, clumsily, some vestigial longing for actual touch."

Scott Reiling
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I do agree with you, although I must say that the author is trying a hand at creative writing. While I can appreciate the (natural) desire to interject some amount of it into one's creation, it is simply too much, here.

Note to author: Make your opinion is clear within the first couple of paragraphs. You lose some of us due to overly-flowery language and surreal interludes, that become irritating to the reader.

Jeff Hamilton
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Personally, I found Leigh's writing to be a breath of fresh air in what has otherwise been trending towards link-baiting, ad-hit-seeking somewhat-yellow-journalism of late. I really enjoyed reading an article that was unafraid to use vocabulary of a higher than 10th grade level, and I think the only possible complaint with her verbiage was that it was present at all (if that's just not your thing, as it seems is the case for you) - its use was flawless and established the tone of the piece as considered and pensive, rather than as definitive or reporting.

Scott Reiling
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Jeff, I am glad you enjoyed it. But the context is set by the title of the article (as well as the website). I too believe that individuals should not be chastized for using an extensive vocabulary. After all, if one cannot enjoy occasional episodes of verbosity, then one is deprived of a joy. ;)

But here, in my opinion, the author doesn't embed enough substance into the first couple of paragraphs. It would be easy to elucidate the WHY of the author's opinion in throughout the flow of this piece.

Matt Cratty
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Appealing to a broad audience has given us more AAA games.

Its also drastically reduced the number of really excellent games that get made to about 3 a year outside of the indy crowd, which is now drowning in ios ports.

James Coote
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Games can be more than just entertainment and/or art. They can also be for making learning fun. We have such misgivings over our children or friends "wasting time" because they games they are playing have historically only given players a small set of skills and knowledge that are transferrable to the real world.

I don't mean edugames or gamification, both of which approach the problem from the wrong end. I mean games that are games, and are fun, but are ultimately given their depth by being based on real world systems (and allow players to explore that depth if they find they want to know more, rather than foisting it on them)

The Total War series are great at doing this, especially Empire, which takes an oft under-appreciated "boring" period in history and makes it fun. It doesn't shove the history down your throat, but it is there in the background, and I guarantee far more people know the difference between a 5th rate and 4th rate ship of the line as a result of a battle lost in that video game than reading it in a bland text-book environment

Gord Cooper
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The argument for 'real gamers' vs. 'new gamers' is absurd. Trying to keep 'games for gamers' is like trying to keep 'movies for movie-ers'. You don't need to jump on the iOS train, you just need to ride out the inevitable wave of developers that are jumping onboard, and play the games you've always loved to play.

If you don't want to play Angry Birds or Clash of Clans, then don't play them - but don't get angry when these 'non-gamers' do play them, or when companies try their hand at similar business structures to bring in revenue in a sagging economy.

'Core' games still exist, and always will. Keep playing them, but keep your elitism to yourself. Playing video games used to have a social stigma attached, and now that it's 'cool', the entitlement of 'I've ALWAYS played them' is started to rear its' ugliness in a community that could just as well be welcoming of new players, who could conceivably, one day, be new allies or opponents in the core experiences we cherish.

Gord Cooper
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If the issue truly is that these games have 'shrunk to zero, except from the indie scene', could you at the very least cite some examples of 'difficult games with well-designed, satisfying challenge' that came out prior, and then a couple examples from the modern release list?

While I did state that a lot of devs are getting on the iOS/F2P train, it hasn't stopped games from existing altogether, and I can think of several franchises that soldier on at that standard MSRP (Fire Emblem being one I picked up yesterday, Etrian Odyssey next month, Monster Hunter in March, etc... etc...) and have yet to be affected. Keep in mind, none of those are indie studios.

You need to correlate with examples - where there was X games released per year 5 years ago, with 90% of them being subjectively 'shovelware', now there are X + 500% being released, with 90% being subjectively 'shovelware'. There's just more now.


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