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  • Reason: Free Play: The politics of the video game. A very interesting read...
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Apr 9, 2004, 18:58
Reason Apr 9, 2004, 18:58
Apr 9, 2004, 18:58
I liked the Reason article, but I think the author overemphasizes gamer's desires to modify their games or create their own stories (and be individualistic). 99.9% of all players of a game probably never come close to creating any custom content for their favorite game.
Console games sell far, far better than PC games, and they cannot be modified at all. So I don't think the desire to make content is really that strong. Final Fantasy games, last time i saw, were pretty straightforward storytelling. And they sell like crazy. Don't forget the extremely scripted and linear Call of Duty and Medal of Honor games, both huge successes.

The only console game I saw the author mention was GTA3, and he describes it as popular because of its freeform. But when I played GTA3, I saw the gameworld as extremely limited. I would not be surprised at all if the vast majority of mod-makers, custom content designers in the PC gaming community are not fans of GTA3 at all. Eh.

The article rings sorta true for me, however. The only reason I've played PC games exclusively is the ability to play mods and/or create content myself. I've spent hundreds of hours creating missions for Fighters Anthology, mods for X-wing Alliance and Battlezone 2, and I always love to tinker with custom sound files, make my own, etc. But I don't see myself as a Libertarian Party type at all (the big fans of Reason). And I read that Warren Spector, who obsesses over freeform gameplay, is a liberal Democrat of some sort (the opponents of the Libertarians). Plus, the Sims creator, I read, geared his SimCity game to be apparently biased towards mass transportation for game success (railways instead of streets), which is pretty un-individualistic.... the article stated that the creator was some sorta Leftist. Oh well, politics is confusing and full of twists and turns. Afterall, Albert Einstein was a full blown Communist and became Person of the Century, all the while people see him as some sorta "free your mind / individual greatness" figure. *shrug*

I liked the mention of Neverwinter Nights, which I've really gotten into recently. The custom content is great. Finally, I dunno if the trend towards custom content is growing. I think it's actually shrinking. More and more companies are focusing on console games. I've always thought that a game with too much replay value can be the game companies own enemy. If people are still hooked to your old game, they might not buy your new game unless it offers significant upgrades (it's expensive and time consuming to constantly develop new and better graphics and more complicated code). And so we have console games, sequels and sequels, rehashing the same game elements over and over. People still eat them up, because the older game had been played till it was bone dry.

This comment was edited on Apr 9, 19:07.
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