2005 was pretty similar to 2006 in the genre breakdown as well as the frequency of games where the player directs killing. 89 of 105 games (84.8%) had the player directing killing. There was a bit more diversity in the games than in 2006 with a couple not being easily classified but it was still overwhelmingly military and war games in FPS and RTS mode. It’s amazing how often the words “war” and “weapons” are in the descriptions of the games.
Of the 16 games where the player does not direct killing, only 5 are adventure games, so 2006 may indicate a resurgence of the genre with its 13 adventure titles. 2 of the 5 feature the player investigating murders. Of the rest, 5 are sims, 2 are Sims 2 expansion packs, 1 is a mixed genre car racing game, 2 are car racing sims, and 1 is a soccer sim.
I’m not sure why more critics or even game reviewers don’t discuss this issue. Then again, critics and reviewers don’t discuss much of anything related to the industry as far as I can tell, except how many subscribers a MMO has or how many polygons the latest eye candy has. It’s not the number of polygons, it’s what one does with them. “New Games Journalism” was ostensibly supposed to address this issue, but it seems more to address the relative lack of pretentiousness in “Old Games Journalism”. With respect to that it succeeded with flying colors.
The division between film criticism and game criticism could not be more clear or more depressing with respect to game criticism. It’s easy to say “that will change” but it should have already changed.
Tracking sales numbers and subscriber numbers is just another racehorse, similar to tracking polling numbers of presidential candidates. It’s the same vacuous process.