Game critique and statistics from the killing in PC games of 2004

“Did you make Haze because you were simply fed up with the stupidity of most video games? Or as you get older, you want video games to get older too?”

This is from an interview with the desiger of Haze, an upcoming FPS game from Free Radical.

Here’s what I don’t understand, maybe you can explain it to me:

We give kids all kinds of challenging books to read. Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Rings, The Iliad, yet when it comes to games its as if kids can’t be expected to do anything beyond pushing a button and watching an enemy’s head explode. It’s painful to hear shit like “games for older players” which invariably is contrasted against “mindless killing” games that apparently are for younger players. Since when did we turn kids into pathetic cretins? I must have missed the fucking memo.

Here’s a memo from me to game developers – stop with the sad excuses for your shitty game designs. “It’s for kids!” to explain why 80% of all commercial games feature player directed killing isn’t cutting it (or shooting it, or grenading it). Note that a randomly selected screenshot from the (“adult game”) Haze shows a giant gun being fired where just the flash from the gun takes up 4% of the screen. The gun takes up as much screen space as the forest behind it, perhaps implying that these two things are of equal value. They probably are, in the average mind of a game developer.

Game developers… God bless ’em. They should look in the mirror and realize that the only kids are them.

One more point – there’s a big move toward narrative in games, which is the industry’s way of trying to make games more “mature”. So it’s mindless and child-like to push a button and watch a head explode, but it’s mindful and adult-like to push a button, watch a head explode, and read a log entry that explains why the player is doing it. Well, one thing is true – I wouldn’t know much about homicidal feelings if game developers didn’t exist in the world. Now I’m wondering where my local gun shop is. Thank you game developers, for expanding the horizons of kids and adults the world over!

Game developers have this vast incredible medium on their hands, this amazing canvas, and all they can do is scribble. Then they scribble “with motivation” and call it adult-like.

Here are the 2004 statistics for killing in PC games, formulated in the same way by using the Game Rankings list of all 2004 PC Games with at least 20 reviews:

75 of 96 games (78%) feature player-directed killing, Of the 21 that do not, 12 are Adventure games, of which 6 are murder mysteries. 7 are Simulations, one is Sims 2, and one is a multi-genre car racing game. The games that feature killing are very similar in theme and tone to those in 2005 and 2006 – heavily military and sci-fi with FPS, RTS, and isometric perspectives in war-themed environments.


One Response to “Game critique and statistics from the killing in PC games of 2004”

  1. 2011 Killing Rate in Video Games « You’re in Your World Now Says:

    […] 2004 PC Games […]

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