Something that’s been bothering me for a while now is how people use the word ‘gamey.’ You hear it in reviews all the time, often the word is used to describe a mechanic that seems cliche or something that takes you out of the experience and breaks immersion. While there’s nothing wrong with these sorts of criticisms, it does seem weird to criticise a game for being like a video game. But this all ties into the main problem I’d like to talk about, which is people trying to turn video games into something they’re not.
Whenever video games are compared to films, it’s often with the idea that films are just superior to video games already. Which is just completely stupid because video games are a completely different type of entertainment. And it’s also kind of insulting to the entire games industry. Video games shouldn’t aspire to be like film because as of now, it would just be a step backwards.
Video games possess a quality that movies, T.V shows, books and so on will never have. Which is the element of control, people can actually play video games and that makes a big difference. Sure some games are mostly cutscenes and story focused but even they have some sort of gameplay be it narrative choices or just being able to move your character around. To put it simply, movies you watch and video games you play.
But just because a video game may have good graphics, a brilliant story and is presented very well, that does not nessacarily mean it is like a movie. If a movie has a great narrative we don’t compare it to a novel do we? The main goal of any film is to be a great audio and visual experience. While games have to worry about those things as well they also have to consider gameplay and how the player will actually interact with the world.
So many studios and publishers have gone on in the past about how ‘cinematic’ their games are and how they’re proud they have created something that closely resembles a movie. As if that makes the game seem better. Like when Ubisoft said Assassin’s Creed Unity ran at 30fps because it’s closer to a film’s fps. Or when The Order: 1886 had a letterbox throughout the entire game to make it seem more like a movie. The obsession some of the games industry has with Hollywood is just ridiculous. To go as far as limit a game’s performance and implement useless features just to mimic a completely different medium.
Sometimes it almost seems as if people are afraid to call themselves a game developer or a gamer. Like people who say they read graphic novels because they’re embarrassed to say they read comic books. In society the word ‘gamer’ has a pretty negative connotation, with most people imagining twelve year olds yelling at their T.V. And someone who makes games probably won’t receive as much respect as someone who makes movies. That’s just how things are right now but with over fifty percent of adults now playing video games that’s bound to change soon.
People just need to remember that video games are not movies or T.V shows. They are a completely new and different medium and there’s no point in comparing them to other forms of entertainment.Trying to develop a game so it more closely resembles a film instead of a video game, just goes to show that you’re probably not proud of what industry you’re in.