Games are becoming less games and more “interactive entertainment.” What exactly do I mean by that? Well it’s kind of like games play themselves, they don’t require much from you. On average, the biggest and most popular games don’t really force you to think or require nearly as much persistence than games used to. Trying and stuff is hard work.

Games have changed…

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia, 2008

Well let’s take a look at Exhibit A: the new “re-invented” Prince of Persia. The game has garnered some attention because well, you can’t die. This Elika chick tags along with you and pulls you up every time you’re falling to your death or some guy is about to gg you. Well that’s if you let the guy gg you, if not you have like a 1 second window (that’s pretttty long) to press the random button on the screen (quick-timer event, which critics love to hate) to save yourself with absolutely no penalty. Pretty much she plops you back like somewhere in the ballpark of 5-30 seconds average. I have to say though for PoP, it works because the game is mostly about “enjoying” the flow of movement, no skill involved really (future review for Prince of Persia mebe). But this lack of death really exemplifies what has happened to the games: less skill required, more instant gratification.

Kids these days got it eeeease

Super Mario Bros. 3, 1990

Super Mario Bros. 3, 1990

Video games used to be about losing though.  Boy games were tough, and I still played them. Why? Because there was a challenge and I wanted to get past it.  Now kids play games why? Because check out dem sweet grafix and boom headshot, I’m doing crazy stuff I can’t do IRL. What’s on the outside counts with most people. Beauty may be skin deep but that don’t make the nerdy girls more popular than the supermodels (unless they’re nerdy and supermodels).

Perhaps the fact games are becoming easier is because it’s ingrained in our psyche from an early age: we don’t like to lose.  Maybe it was recess once and you were “it” playing tag but everyone ran faster than you and you stayed “it” the whole time. There used to be a sense of accomplishment beating a level (beating the game was crazy), but now the feeling tends to be “yeah that was pretty fun, what’s the next big game?” Less of an achievement, less of a feeling of accomplishment, at least if your mind is still active while playing VGs.

It’s more than a feeling

So what does this really show? People don’t like when things are hard so they like turning their brains off and simply “experiencing” because on the surface games today are better than ever. Games, good or bad, become popular for the wrong reasons: not because they challenge you but because they let you do something you wish you could see and do.  Sure creating a virtual world is a fundamental quality of games, but what’s the value if you’re not accomplishing anything worthwhile in real life? There are always lessons to be learned if you’re looking hard enough.  You might realize that you’re playing the wrong games, and the right ones are getting harder to find.