Gore versus gameplay over at Wired

mortal-kombatMore evidence today that Nintendo is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the current paradigm shift happening in the gaming industry: Violent video games just aren’t very fun.

The article is from respected columnist Clive Thompson. On the lack of innovation, and how it breeds not new games, but old games with violent new paint (see also: Gears of War 2, God of War 3), he writes:

“When they look at a successful title from the past, they say ”˜Let’s do that again, but turn it up,’” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester. So the endless cycle of games based on brooding, bullet-spraying antiheroes goes on and on.

On marketing:

The quickest way to get attention for a game is by touting its limb-specific kill points and “destructible environments,” particularly when the audience for action games is mostly young men. The violence is an attempt to pierce through the overcrowded videogame marketplace; it’s designed to get young men to simply notice the damn game in the first place, even though everyone involved ’ the designer, the gamer, the mildly stoned employee at the game store cash register ’ knows the title will sink or swim not based on the quality of its violence but on the quality of its play.

On the current shift in gaming:

Are action gamers tiring of this cycle of gore? Sometimes I think so. We’ve played too many games in which it’s obvious that the designers spent more time crafting elaborately fractal explosions and multiply-fanged insectoid enemies than making sure their games are actually, y’know, fun.

This is all why more people will remember Punch-Out!! in 20 years time than Fight Night. My opinion, of course.

Overall, it’s a good read, even if it’s something you probably read here on Infendo in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.