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On Cynicism and Disillusionment Towards Gaming

by Chris Faylor, Mar 16, 2007 7:48am PDT

Confronting her family's critical attitude towards video games, The Escapist's Kelly MacDonald attempts to understand why many take games so seriously in the first place. Along the path to her conclusion, which describes video games as "an emergent art form" that "we are among the first champions of," she briefly touches on the disillusionment of the medium that strikes its supporters with "distressing frequency."

Once or twice a year, mired in the repetitive, cynical profiteering rubbish that seems to constitute so very much of videogaming as a whole, I ask myself that question [why do we bother?]. Cast a relatively neutral eye over our industry - an eye like my aunt's - and it can be difficult to see why anyone takes us seriously. Games are pointless, meaningless and ridiculous; men shooting other men in virtual space in an enormous variety of ways; the eternal quest for the next meaningless shiny thing, or higher number; a sea of sheer, mindless drivel punctuated by the occasional example of something more worthwhile, so infrequent as to be irrelevant.
MacDonald goes on to explain this mindset typically passes once "the next exemplary title arrives to remind us why we love games in the first place," noting last year's Okami (PS2) from Clover Studio as one such game. Being quite familiar with a constantly shifting view of gaming, I can certainly relate to MacDonald on this matter. For instance, I recently found my interest in gaming renewed thanks to High Impact Games' Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP), the technical prowess and playability of which led me to pick up a number of other top-notch PSP games I had overlooked.




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