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Against David Cage and Peter Molyneux's speeches at GDC Europe/GamesCom

Both these anti-conformist gentlemen are striving to profess mature and innovative game design and experiences. But they both made a mistake. Let's see what it was.

Colm McAndrews, Blogger

October 4, 2009

2 Min Read

So these two guys said respectively that games need to be mature and deep and how story-telling is at the essence... which is wise and true, and the other avantgarde person of videogaming reminded us how choice is important in videogames, and how it's meant to evolve, which is so true as well.

They both seem to be bent on relieving videogames of their now too small childhood chamber... the fact for example that they're traditionally called games, and because of that, because we are naïvely affected by this word, we believe they're supposed to be mild entertainment, not culture and literature as they're bound to become... maybe art, but the type of brainless art we see sometimes, that abstract nihilistic("everything's art/nothing is") crap.

But they both made a mistake: David Cage made Fahrenheit and his Heavy Rain is well on its way... how can he ask for more mature games all deep with storytelling, when he's making a game for a CONSOLE?

Those things were meant for casual easy entertainment, pastimes, a mindless activity before and after your daily enslavement at the office or buying the new car or cheating on your wife or being cheated by her... that's console gaming, its players don't want mature games, console gaming is not compatible with thinking, even less with "maturity" if you consider that the basis of every console title is gratuitous combo killing.

Peter Molyneux's mistake will cause less flame.

Choice is a fantastic game mechanic, as he says, but his new Fable titles can be defined as sandbox choices, you make a character, and take decisions that are meaningless, your character can become good or evil or so-so (and then back with a click) but there's no reason to pick either, there's no challenge, it's the Mario Bros version of choice, it's silly, it's a great mechanic made accessible for the kids, how can he claim this element is evolving thanks to his works?

For a choice to make sense you have to think before taking one. And not as in "let's see how baaaad i can get" but "at this point of the drama, considering past and possible future events, making this choice is the wisest course of action".

It's the difference between implementing choices inside an arcade game like Gauntlet... resulting in an equally immature game with immature shallow choices, and a theorical "hamlet: the game"... where the acts of the original play are interactive, and there's choices everywhere... the difference is how much you think before making a choice. Will you think about your gear, or the story-character's psychology-gameworld-drama?

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