More Sims, Less Shooters?
6:16 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
A recent editorial posted at The Adrenaline Vault examines the mentality behind video game playing itself, and the reasons why so many games are centered around competition and the conquest of foes, rather than cooperative or non-combative activities. Citing Maxis' The Sims as an example of a non-competitive game that has enjoyed much success, the author asks the question, must games be violent and competitive to be fun?
In the wake of the recent FTC report blasting the entertainment industry for marketing violent material to minors, this seems a relevant question to ask. Must someone else lose in order for a gamer to feel satisfaction while playing? How did combat become the pervasive metaphor for gaming across so many genres? And why do publishers and developers continue to crank out violent and competition-oriented titles when totally nonviolent titles such as The Sims, MYST and Rollercoaster Tycoon (a sim only available on the PC) are tremendous sellers with broad market appeal?
Here is an excerpt from the essay, discussing an alternative to violent games:
The truth is, in my opinion, we are not sadistic or insecure dysfunctional people who need to see someone lose in a virtual setting in order to feel any sense of self-worth. Since I admit that I myself love titles where I can pulverize opponents, I certainly do not see myself as this kind of monster. We are capable of deriving fulfillment without seeing suffering or misery on the part of others. But what we need is more computer games that give us the opportunity to experience that special kind of deep noncompetitive satisfaction. That requires companies to be a lot more creative than they have been in developing new and different kinds of releases.Arguments such as these face an uphill battle, even in an atmosphere of increased sensitivity to violence in every medium; the game industry itself continues to crank out large numbers of titles centered around combat, each more realistic than the last. However, as the game market shifts from adolescent males to a broader spectrum of the computer-user market, developers may find that titles such as The Sims are every bit in demand as Tribes 2 and Rune.
Does Someone Have to Lose for Computer Games to be Fun?
What are your thoughts on this? If you indeed love games that could be interpreted as violent, what draws you to these games and keeps you coming back? Is the success of The Sims and games like Tetris the sign of an untapped market, or just part of the overall picture? Leave your comments here and in our forums.
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