The Round Table: 06/06/2010

[The Round Table is designed for gamers to come together to debate the real issues. No silly format wars here. Bring your best debating equipment, set up camp and let the discussion fireworks fly. Let’s make progress, let’s come to a consensus on the biggest issues since our realization that games can be something more. We won’t be debating ‘games iz art’ as that’s now pretty much a ‘yes’; we’re going steps beyond and into harm’s way. This is very touchy territory. There are now real rules to debating in The Round Table, other than one – be nice.]

It can be safely said that gamers aren’t exactly natural orators. We can’t communicate our opinions sometimes, so we resort to violent insults or just handicapped critical analysis. When a ‘report’ on a news channel comes on all about videogames and how they are corrupting our children, we all sigh and point the fingers at the parents. I won’t elaborate on why that’s wrong, but I think that’s quite a lazy thing to do.

The Round Table is a discussion board designed to debate and analyze the true crux of gaming heart. We’re not here to debate pointless silly little format wars or the smallest question you can find. Which game is best? Do you like FPS? MW2 or Battlefield?

The ASQ already set this up quite nicely, ask a question and then allow the reader base to answer it. Nice good clean discussion. Which is exactly what I don’t want. I want people to call each other out, without insults or aggressive tactics, I want the Platform Nation writers and readers to decide to discuss these things instead of just letting me write an essay on them. To put it short; I’m lazy, let’s get crazy with gaming words.

So, this week’s question is…

Has the full potential of videogames been fully explored yet?

Very straight forward, nice as a little start off point. If you’re just thinking from an entertainment standpoint, that’s fine, but I do want you to look deeper than this. Has the player and game connected as much as it can? Has emotions fed into the experience enough? Can we go one step beyond yadda yadda yadda.

To start you off, here’s my opinion; Of course not. Gaming is in an evolutionary type of flux in which anything can be made and anything can happen. Right now, around 85% involves boyish power fantasies in which you kill things or bludgeon things. We’re starting to get so used to every game being about shooting that it’s kind of silly when that’s how we rate games. That’s how we’ve pressured into games like Mirror’s Edge into adding a tacky little FPS on to itself. Publishers are of course obsessed with violence and how we can squeeze more out of the 12 year old market; even though the average gamer is 25-37 years old and male. Games can be so much more, but for now, they’re only about one thing and that’s about just finding ways to harm people. We can do so much more.

Think differently? Want to call ME out? Get the discussion flowing in the comments section below.

I would put my email but I’d rather discussion be public so as to incite even more discussion. Discussion. Discussion.

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  • No way have they shown their full potential, just take a look a few years back with the arrival of the PlayStation 2 and we where amazed, with the gameplay and the look of the games (with one specific game I would like to mention God Of War) who thought games would be as advanced and progressed so much as they have today. The thought of being a gamer was once a bad word and now it is acceptable this is due to the advancement of consoles and games, so the full potential of gaming being fully explored is no where in site yet as they progress and only move forward. I think only we can imagine where games will be in just 5 years.

  • Not even close, and how great is that? Games are a fledgling genre and notions of how interactivity can create unique experiences (both artistic and non-) have barely had their surface scratched. As you say, gaming as a whole is sort of mired in violence at the moment – even on the more cartoony / childish end there’s Mario and the goombas he must stomp. Gamer vs enemies. It’s a template a lot of developers have convinced themselves is integral to the gaming experience when really there’s so much unexplored conceptual space out there.

    I’m not especially worried, though: there are always games that break the mold and geniuses in any genre who advance the way their medium is looked at. I’m just excited to see where we end up in another 10 or 20 years.

  • No, games haven’t explored everything there is to… explore. Actually, we’re kind of at a stand-still at this point. Like you mentioned, the majority of games we get follow the same formula. The bigger issue with this is that the industry seems to be comfortable with it. Creative risks are relatively rare now-at one point they weren’t- and I get why that is. We’ve become big business and big business doesn’t support risks anymore; they’re taboo. In some way, because the popularization of the industry we’ve digressed artistically (I kind of don’t like using that word but you get the point).

    And to add to that we’ve ended up moving in the completely wrong direction with our design philosophies as well. By this I mean3D gaming. This is a bit of an aside but I want to say, changing the tech we use externally isn’t going to make games better, not like this, not when our games still need changing internally.