Friday, January 29, 2010

Are we all casual?

I subscribe to Borderlands on Facebook. Not so much because I am addicted to the game anymore, but I enjoy what the developers did and the posts they put out. Recently they did an interview with Adam Sessler of G4 which can be read here

The article gives great insight into how the game was developed but there was one key phrase that really stood out for me.

Matthew Armstrong: “When you look at a role-playing-game you see something that's deep and more complicated and more tricky. What Diablo did was Diablo took the role-playing-game and made it accessible. Randy [Pitchford, president of Gearbox] often says that the skill used in playing the game is the same as opening an application -- it's mostly clicking, it starts very simple, it evolves and you learn.”

To me this is an obvious epiphany. I never considered it until Matthew said that but it is very true. Diablo took the very standard RPG game and blended it with an action game then made the interface so simple opening the program was the tutorial. One of the most popular games of all time was created out of simplicity and targeted mass market appeal.

I’ve always considered myself more or less a gaming snob. I’m willing to try out a variety of independent projects and give them a fair shot. The funny thing is this one quote has made me realize I’m just another average gamer. The Diablo series is one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time, a franchise designed around simple mass market appeal. Doesn’t this make me no better than the average gamer, and if so is that a bad thing?

The more I think about it the more I want to fit in with the crowd. As Keen has shown me lately I’m not going to get the MMO I want that blends old school elements with the ease of the game play and casual accessibility of the current MMOs out. The more I try to find this game the more I’m going to be let down. My elitist perfect game isn’t going to be made for numerous reasons. People don’t want to play that type of game and odds are I won’t even like it… because I want to believe I like that type of game rather then what I actually like. I actually like the games with blended genres and the mass market appeal.

This is something everyone has to do as they age. The world doesn’t stay the same and we must learn to adjust. Jon Stewart on the Daily Show did a segment last week about the various News Reporters on some major networks claiming that America is going down hill and it isn’t what it used to be. The point of his segment was to prove that when we are young we view the world with rose tented glasses. To a child the world is always a happy place because it is simple and they have nothing to compare it too.

I don’t think video games are changing for the bad. I just think they are changing and we aren’t realizing that this change could be good because we still remember our childhood fondly. So this makes me wonder, is Final Fantasy 3 really my favorite game because it was an amazing Role Playing Game or is it because I was a child.

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