What’s Wrong With Video Games (Part 2)

A couple months back, I got to talking about a few things that I thought were horribly wrong with video games that we all love so dearly. Most of what I was discussing had to do with a bunch of asshole consumers and their undisciplined dickbag children flooding the market. But this time I’ve decided to change my tone drastically and focus more on the developers and business side of the industry.

Believe it or not, you can actually find more things that are completely boned on this side of the spectrum for video games. When it comes to developing a video game, many things have to happen. First there’s an idea that a development company comes up with and flushes out. Then, depending on the available funding, they have to find a publisher to take on the project. Finally, everything has to come together and the planets must align for anyone to make money off sales.

And before I start my rant, I understand that gaming as an industry has to make money to thrive, just as any industry does. But with that comes a certain responsibility to the consumer base of your product. Sure, there will always be mindless grunts that buy the yearly Call of Duty and claim they have permanent boners because of it. But there in lies the problem. A company like Activision continues to crank out the same mindless games over and over, only changing a couple of features and then packaging it as something new. And that is a great disservice to fans of the franchise and new consumers.

An issue that plagues developers and publishers is having big enough balls (and wallets) to release the kind of game they want to make, without interference from outside sources. Most of the time outside sources end up being disgruntled message board users. Other times, when things get blown out of proportion is when the media latches onto things. For example, back in 2010, when EA was getting ready to release their latest Medal of Honor game, they decided that for the online multiplayer, it was going to allow players be the Taliban as an opposing force.

Almost immediately US military leaders, political groups and a whole load of other people who apparently never played a video game freaked the fuck out and to make a long story short, EA changed the Taliban’s name to Opposing Force (secretly forgetting people have imaginations and can still pretend they are the Taliban). If you care to check out more of the response click here. I suppose it might become hard to stand by your convictions when places are threatening to take your product off their shelves to further their agenda. But not defending your product also makes you and the industry look like a bunch of spineless cowards.

Another debate comes to mind when thinking about the gaming industry: is it just mindless fun or a piece of artwork, such as a movie? Again, many different individuals from within the industry have voted on both sides of the fence, which again hurts the industry. Sure some games that you play are about getting in a car, jumping the curb and running over people for points. But just because it’s a ridiculous concept doesn’t mean hard work and effort were forfeited to create it. If a mangled piece of metal on the lawn of a college campus is considered art, then every video game ever created (even those shitty Facebook games) should fall into some sort of artistic category.

So whether you’re an asshole who plays video games and is at the mercy of developers and publishers or you happen to be a developer or publisher who deals with one of the issues discussed above, one thing we can at least agree on is that video games aren’t going anywhere.

I’ll be playing until my eyes bleed,

Jersey John

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