Computer Games:Why Do They Suck?
It is sad, but a fact.
The art-form with the biggest potential is having that potential wasted in large measure.
Most games are shoot this... and then shoot that... and then shoot...etc.
Which can be fun, in and of itself, but when that is almost all there is, it becomes a problem. Okay, then there's games based on sports, but why, really?
Why play a game ABOUT PLAYING A GAME?
You could just go play the real thing! But these games, Shooters/hack-and-slash & sports games seem to be a 90% majority of the market.Which is an awful shame, as computer games could be the ultimate form of art... an interactive one.No wonder that a lot of smart, mature people sneer and jeer at games, when all that seems available are merely colorful tests of hand-eye-coordination with little content.
Of course, there ARE good games, games that try for something more, that delve into studies of character and develop and tell real stories.
They're just few and far between...and when they ARE made, they are usually very niche-oriented.For example, one of THE best written games ever, Planescape: Torment,was not only an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons product, but also setin a sub-genre within THAT, the Planescape setting.
So a niche-within-a-niche.Not that you'd actually have to know anything about the roleplaying gameto play Torment, but it may SEEM that way to the uninitiatedand so may frighten them off, making them miss one hell of a well-wrought story.
The way that your "alignment" in the game (A sort of measure of one's ethics)is dynamic and changes to reflect your actions and statements isvery well done.I could go on for hours about this game, but that will require a post of its ownat some point.
Another great title is "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream", based on the short-story by Harlan Ellison.You play the characters of the story,prisoners held in a weird subterranean world by the insane supercomputer AM (as in "I Am") who's destroyed therest of the planet, one by one, dealing with torture and mockery dealt out by AM.Plus, the characters all have something dark in their past they must deal withand which AM uses to ridicule and belittle them.The real shock, when you get to the end of the game, is thatthere IS NO WAY TO WIN... at best, there's an honorable way to die.The stories of the characters deal with the Holocaust, rape, murder and jealousy.Not subjects one would normaly associate with something termed a "game".But that is exactly what makes the game such an experienceand help elevate it to the level of actual art.That it deals with heavy issues and does so without apology or pulling punches.Also, Harlan Ellison himself was involved with writing the gameand even "stars" as the voice of AM. A superb experience.
Here's a link to Ellison's reasoning formaking the game:http://members.aol.com/blaksheepj/index2.html
Other great games I might rant about later:
Fallout 2.The Longest Journey.Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.KGB (American title: Conspiracy)....................................
So why are so many computer games so imbecilic?
Well, why are so many movies? So much music?
Because people are imbeciles, that's why!
And that includes YOU.