Trees And Other Elements Communicated By Games
An article at the Guardian debates the depth games have to offer these days. The article states that they should be treated as cultural rather than commercial products. The author also brings up some points on the role of the press as well as messages that could be communicated. Now that's a huge topic which I may or may not elaborate on some time later as there are lots of questions to be dealt with. Yes, games which go beyond your average plot experience are appreciated, however, they can also limit the audience a developer tries to access. Also, it clearly doesn't work for every genre. Or player. You can see there is enough potential for a nice discussion. For now let's take a look at one remarkable statement in the text.
We are used to seeing hidden (and not-so-hidden) messages about the state of our society and its future in other entertainment mediums. The dangers of unrestrained technology, scientific tinkering and Machiavellian politics are given regular treatment in our films and TV programs. But you won't see the subjects covered in games.The author obviously never has played an RPG. Especially one of those made in Japan. I'm tempted to say that there's statistical evidence that 9 out of 10 floating cities will crash some time during a game. 9 out of 10 hightech nations are usually doomed for a reason they're also likely to be responsible for. Destined to end in a spectacular manner because the Atlantis metaphor apparently cannot be (ab)used often enough. In addition to that they're somehow corrupted. And while we're at corruption, same goes for every dominant religion in a J-RPG. Usually incidentally resembling the Catholic church. And often these elements are somehow mixed with Machiavellian motivations.
All these aspects can be found in games. In fact, they're often so present it hurts. Subtle as a sledgehammer. So bland and predictable one can see them miles ahead. Like driving a car while knowing there's a tree you'll hit somewhere down the road. But sometimes the fun you'll have while driving around outweighs the 'tree consequences'. Still, there are too many trees. And they're growing at places where the author claims they aren't. And travelling to places without them can be enjoyable as well. Of course a little more diversity among the tree types definitely wouldn't hurt. And why am I talking about trees? And who are you? Oh, the doctor's coming back, gotta quit.