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Video Games Dispute

After reading Jones’s The Meaning of Video Games, and computing all that he says about the complexity of video games I couldn’t help but wonder: which games are better simple or complex ones?

Using Jones’s example of Katamari Damacy, I know that even a game with a simple basis can have many elaborate layers that extend beyond the sphere of the actual game. Yet, one must ask are these games really that accessible for the everyday person?  For anyone who’s ever tried to casually join in on a game of Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or any other popular game, you know that it’s pretty much impossible to be successful at it. Without the skills to navigate the universe of these games, the games themselves pretty much cease to be fun. Speaking from personal experience I’m not really interested in playing these games because I don’t know how and I can’t learn how to play without putting in a significant amount of time. Furthermore even if I do put in the time, beating these games would take another myriad of sleepless nights. After reading the story behind Katamari Damacy I questioned the necessity of the story itself. I mean when people are playing these games are they really that worried about the narrative and where it’s going? In my experience during game play you are almost completely enraptured in the game itself and everything else is just extraneous. I mean who does wish they could just skip though all of the intro videos and transition pages?

After playing Rockband in class last week, I was able to confirm that this was more my type of game, something you could just pick up and play, albeit not perfectly, but still easily. Thinking back it also seems like all of the classic great games of the past are all fairly simple ones in context. After all Pacman doesn’t need an elaborate back-story, it’s just fun to play. Maybe times are different now with the new technology that’s available to elaborate these games, but one thing remains, while complex games may come and go with the fads, simple ones will stand the test of time in longevity. People of all generations will always be able to play simple games like Tetris, Pinball, and Pacman because they will never forget how to play once they learn. However, the same thing cannot be said about these intricate cross platform narrative games and that is why I feel as though their presence, while strong amongst certain demographics, is ultimately fleeting in the overall population by comparison.

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