Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
29 June 2006
Next-Gen: Games have head up butt
Another somewhat interesting commentary on Next-Gen today. You have to read a while to get there, but here you go:
So. Why aren't videogames popularly appealing? Because they've got their head up their butt. They're focused on being videogames - on taking their own metaphors literally - instead of on expressing something with the tools at hand. And also, maybe to some extent, because the tools at hand kind of suck, for the purpose of expressing anything meaningful. A developer has to actively work against the hardware, the controls, audience and publisher expectations, to get anything original done - and then those games tend to get buried.
Some good points on this last page, which is the one page I've had the most time to read. In particular, I'm pleased to see Silent Hill 2, perhaps the only game whose ESRB rating of Mature makes real sense, get the attention it deserves as a truly remarkable experience. I like the author's description of Shadow of the Colossus, even if I got something a little different out of it. And the mention of Silent Hill 4 and Psychonauts has me double checking that those games are on my to-do list.

Also, nice backhanded slap to the Castlevania designer.

Finally, you're a real fan if you spot the Silent Hill reference on the first page.
--Matt Matthews at 11:48
Comment [ 3 ]

Comments on this post:

Wow. He nailed it pretty well.

Of course, there'll be the usual tirades from people without vision that "games are just games", afraid they'll lose their endless well of "press B to kill monster" experiences, or that they'll never get a pure test of skill again. Hooey. If movies can serve the gamut of emotional expectations of a world of viewers, why can't games continue to serve the gamut of interactive expectations?

I liked his very hard digs at Sony too. Look back one post to your lament about the load times in a PSP game. Sony put disc based media in a handheld game because, well, why not? Cram something in there without even wondering if it belongs there, just for the sake of hardware fetishism.

By Blogger BruceC, at 29 June, 2006 13:44  

Erin-Jon Waugh happens to be one of my favorite videogame writers, and probably the closest anyone's come to real videogame criticism to date. He's been saying some of this stuff for over a year now. I'm happy to see that he's finding a voice with a larger audience at sites like Next-Gen, rather than drifting off into obscurity at

By Anonymous Mr. Mechanical, at 29 June, 2006 15:36  

Yup, keep Psychonauts on your to-do list. The sheer variety and "different-ness" (for lack of a better word) of each level was refreshing. The look of each level was completely different, and it was oddly exciting to learn that things like gravity and realism change from level to level.

I've never played any of the Silent Hill series. I figured it was just another in the 'horror' genre - although I did recently play Resident Evil 4 and enjoyed it. I'd be interested in hearing other's opinions on Silent Hill 4, or others.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2006 19:19  

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