|Yes, in fact, I do have Know Your Meme bookmarked. Why do you ask?|
You've been hearing about them for months. Gone Home. Stanley Parable. Papers, Please. (In my opinion.) To the Moon. Amnesia: Machine For Pigs. Storytelling Games really broke big in the last year.
But it's still the Internet. There is no conversation so interesting and new that someone won't break in and try to derail it into a pointless argument. So ...
Stop arguing about whether a game is a game or not. It's a useless distraction. STOP IT.
|When someone says, "That isn't even a game," they are actually saying something else.|
One. It's Impossible to Define What a Game Is.
No, seriously. Try it. Whatever definition you come up with, half of everyone else will disagree. The other half will instantly poke a ton of holes into it.
We're talking art here. Getting a firm definition of anything is impossible.
Consider Big Fish Games, a hugely successful publisher of casual games. Think of it as Steam for your grandmother.
Have you looked at casual games lately? One of the biggest categories on Big Fish Games is Hidden Object Games, which is exactly what it sounds like. "There is a squid somewhere on your screen. Click on it."
This is an activity that doesn't involve pwning a dozen robotorcs while cycling through a dozen hotkeyed abilities at top speed, so plenty of hardcore gamers wouldn't consider it worthy of the lofty title of "Game." But Big Fish Games does sell games. You can tell because they have "Games" right there in their name.
(Of course, whenever anyone says, "That isn't a game," it's just thinly disguised bragging about how awesomely hardcore they are. Whatever the filthy casuals are doing over there, it doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the cool kid stuff we do.)
Personally, I think a Hidden Object Game barely even counts as an "activity." But it's still a game, and if a Hidden Object Game is a game, everything is.
|A screen from the delightfully aggressively named Witches' Legacy: Hunter and the Hunted. Now click the squid. Click, it, DAMN YOU! CLICK IT!|
Two. Dividing Games Into Games and Not-Games is Useless.
I mean, why would you even want to come up with categories like Game and Visual Novel and whatever? It wouldn't do any good, as everyone has a different idea of what a game is.
You know something? I've decided that I don't think simulators should be considered games. Gone Home is like a Hidden Object Game, so it's a game, but Call of Duty is a war simulator, so it's not a game. So there! (Drops mic.)
What did you think of that last paragraph? Do you think I sounded like a crazy person? Well, that's how YOU sound if/when you say Gone Home isn't a game.
Coming up with different ghettos to stick games into doesn't do any good, and it keeps us from doing what's really interesting: Talking about the works themselves.
Three. You Really, Honestly Can't Come Up With Something Better To Talk About, Seriously?!?!?!?
This is a time of wonders for gamers. 2013 saw the release of a huge number of fantastic, innovative, and ground-breaking titles, on the indie and AAA level. It was a year of delights. Even games I had a lot of problems with were still super-fun.
We should be spending out precious and limited time talking about the games themselves. What they did right. What they could have done better. What is still technically or budgetarily impossible for them to do. (The last one is a really important, under-discussed topic.)
That someone could be greeted with all of these delights and all they can do is pick a semantic argument? The art form is growing fast now, guys. It's way, WAY too early to start pigeonholing things yet.
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