Sometimes it feels like everyone has a set way they think gaming should be, that it should be only for the “hardcore”, that it should only be on consoles, or PCs, or phones, or whatever new device they’ve rigged to played games; my money’s on hoovers playing Pac-Man next. There are many, including myself at times, who dismiss entire genres out of hand, or show disdain for some business models.
I started to think about this when Jack Tretton talked about how social and free-to-play games aren’t “going to replace the business models that are out there.” He’s right of course, games like FarmVille and SimCity Social aren’t ever going to overtake the industry as a whole. It may certainly seem like that at times, but it’s perfectly possible for varying business models to exist side by side, in fact it may help to strengthen gaming going forwards.[drop2]His point made me think about the diversity of gaming and how, despite media portrayals, it’s probably the most diverse form of media there is. It’s not just the interactivity that creates this, but it’s the variety of ways in which you can interact, layered on top of other elements. Yes, you can vary your story and your tone, but then you’ve got gameplay mechanics and different types of control (controller, motion controls, touch screens, etc…) that can created near endless possibilities for any game.
We really should praise this diversity, rather than blindly disparaging certain things without really looking at them. For example, just because something’s an RPG doesn’t mean it will be like every other RPG out there, and the same goes for any genre.
Even if there is something you genuinely dislike, I think we should still try to praise the possibilities it opens up. You may not like free-to-play browser games but they’re bringing new people into gaming who would never have played games before, perhaps to people who would even have criticised gaming in the past. Bringing new fans in is only a good thing; it’s much easier to get people who actually play games to accept them for what they really are, rather than what they’re depicted as all too often.
Even elements like DLC can be for the greater good, and open up new possibilities. There certainly are examples of DLC that have seemed like naked profiteering, but it doesn’t apply in every case. Rather than proclaiming that all DLC is terrible and will ruin gaming forever we should praise the new opportunities it brings, the new ways it can open up gaming even further and expand our horizons.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t complain about things that bother us, we certainly should. However, I feel it’s better to look at individual cases rather than casting broad brush strokes. That way games can, hopefully, move forwards, with complaints about exactly what it is we dislike being addressed rather than there just being a huge uproar every time someone announces day one DLC. I’m hoping that I can try and change this in the way I look at things, I’ve certainly been amongst those shouting in the past.
So praise the options that gaming brings. Whether it’s the smallest indie game in the world or a huge AAA title, whether it’s a 2D platformer or a motion controlled dancing game, gaming’s diversity brings something for everyone and we should drag that to the attention of the world.