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Feature: 'How I Stopped Worrying About Gamers'

In his latest Persuasive Games column, social game designer and author Ian Bogost builds upon
August 02, 2007
In his latest Persuasive Games column, social game designer and author Ian Bogost builds upon his much-discussed recent column on 'boring games' by defending video games that make you think or 'zone out' and carry a social or political message, rather than act as pure entertainment. Bogost goes on to explain in the following excerpt why he believes that video games should tackle everyday topics in order to get more people interested in games in general: “...many readers assumed I was calling for more traditional games about boring topics. That is one possible conclusion. But another—the more important one—is that games should strive to serve more mundane purposes. The more things games can do, I reasoned, the more the general public will become accepting of, and interested in the medium in general. One such purpose is education, a domain that has become connected almost exclusively to serious games. This is unfortunate because serious games proponents have also isolated their domain from commercial games, lording their “seriousness” over commercial games implied frivolity. Players and developers of commercial games have taken offense, noting that many ancient board games or modern commercial video games are serious in exactly the way the serious games community intends. This gripe is justified: declaring serious games a separate domain undermines and misinterprets the power of commercial games like Civilization.” Later, citing popular casual game Diner Dash as an example, Bogost argues that these “more mundane” games are just as valid as other, arguably more entertaining examples of the medium: “Why should the restaurant service business be any less fascinating than world domination? Certainly most of us are far more likely to patronize, work at, or open a restaurant than we are to lead an entire society by godlike fiat.” You can now read the complete feature, which includes more from Bogost on the importance of games that deal with topics that the vast majority of people can relate to (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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