A tech-head’s keen observation
It is very interesting when gamers are made to challenge all the principles on which modern video games are welded.
Last week, Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s told Electronic Design his take on modern video games.
“Video games today are a race to the bottom. They are pure, unadulterated trash and I’m sad for that,” Electronic Design reported.
Now, my first reaction was to vomit. The founder of Atari, the revolutionary of the personal entertainment industry, the man whose game “Pong” defined a generation, is scorning that empire which he created?
I was a bit confused and a bit taken aback, but I decided not to jump to conclusions just yet. And while the rest of the article focused on Bushnell’s new project, uWink, a restaurant in Woodland Hills, Calif., where folks can play electronic games on their tables while they eat, it did not really excise more on Bushnell’s thoughts on the modern gaming industry.
It all came together for me when Electronic Design wrote that Bushnell loved board games, and had originally wanted to work for Disney.
All right, fair enough. This guy doesn’t really hold a huge position on modern gaming. He likes board games and puzzle games, and I don’t. But it got me thinking – there really is a lot of crap out there.
Take my current favorite game, “Halo 3.” For the good: it has great graphics, worlds beyond “Pong.” “Halo 3” has an amazing storyline, beautiful controls and an awesome multiplayer experience. Nothing is missing.
But then I thought about another of Bushnell’s comments on modern gaming.
“A lot of video games today are very isolated,” Bushnell told Electronic Design. “You don’t see mom and dad, sister and brother, sitting down like they used to play, say, ‘Monopoly.'”
Well that’s true. Plus, prepubescent boys who screech into the microphones and cry louder than little girls when one frags them, dominate “Halo 3” multiplayer. Is this really how we want our kids growing up? Sitting in front of a television at all hours of the night screaming obscenities at other people just trying to let out the day’s frustrations?
This is a problem for me. I love being able to watch beautiful graphics, graceful game play and great plotlines, but I hate how these games are turning into a breeding ground for vile, unbearable youth.
But what can we do? The industry demands that the games look much better and get even bloodier, sound more real, become more intense and feed our need for a substitute reality. But at the same time, we need to keep our families close and learn togetherness and all that jazz. Right?
Maybe the two can co-exist. Maybe we need the Wii, with its single-minded games with simple game play the whole family can enjoy. Maybe we need uWink restaurants where people can come together as a family and eat and have fun. Maybe we need more electronic board games and less violence.
Maybe we need to rethink the way electronic media influences our lives and the lives of future generations.
Or maybe, just maybe, parents need to pull their little brats off the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 and drag them in front of a board game or a restaurant. That way I don’t have to listen to their little whiny voices cry and complain and pollute an otherwise positive gaming experience. Just let me frag in peace.
Contact Campus Press Editor Jason Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.