Smart And Dumb

Today I got home from dinner and sat down to do some coughing while I surfed up some of my regular web sites on the couch. Today was a good surfing day because I came across two links worth sharing with you, our beloved readers. One is a smart article, one is a stupid article.

First the good news. There’s been a lot of traffic at the game boards on the role of piracy in the PC gaming industry. I have no real opinion on this since I don’t play games on my PC. First, my PC is a Mac. Second, if I felt like playing games on my PC I could just go in the kitchen and cut my fingers off with a kitchen knife. It would be more enjoyable. I’ll stick with my consoles and hand-helds. Thanks. Still, the smart article I found today is about piracy and PC gaming. Since I mostly agree with it I’ll let it speak for itself. I think it is a perceptive commentary on the nature of PC development, PC development houses and the general mentality of the “hard core” PC gamer.

Now the dumb news. As usual, The Escapist is trying to be erudite and literate and instead just comes off as your friend who never managed to completely shed his adolescence. Even the title of the article has a frat-boy sensibility to it.

The premise of this piece is something like “sure, we’d all love to be playing serious games, but that shouldn’t keep us from being juvenile assholes once in a while.” He uses The Witcher as a basis for his arguments, claiming that even though the game is puerile and borderline misogynistic, it’s all in good fun.

Now, I would normally agree with the sentiment in this piece. I, for one, am not one to take anything too seriously. But here is something I think the gaming industry needs to wake up and realize right now. All of those complaints from people that games are in general about nothing but being a juvenile asshole come about because the content in your beloved video games is, for the most part, about nothing but being a juvenile asshole. We’ve ranted about this before, but for some reason no one except our ten readers seems to hear the message.

The quality and maturity of gaming as a medium will ultimately be judged by the quality and maturity of the content and with very very few exceptions there isn’t really a lot of content to be proud of, yet. I think that this will improve over time, but it will not improve if the very people who are supposed to be holding the industry up to a higher critical standard continue to be so delusional. The only way to get better content will be to demand better content and to call out the developers who create crap as the crap peddlers that they are.

Maybe I can help. Here are some things that video games don’t really need any more of:

1. Vaguely racist “crime fighting” games where you shoot minorities for fun and profit.

2. Hooker assault simulators.

3. Games where you collect sex cards.

4. Three-way sex with a God mini-games.

And on and on and on. The problem I have with this article is not the idea that we shouldn’t have some juvenile fun once in a while. My problem is with the claim that there is any content at all in out in the video game landscape that really rises above the level of juvenile fun. I haven’t seen it. I think the Defenders of the Glory of the Mature Video Game are going to have to work a lot harder to convince me that it’s there.