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domanz avatar 2:08 PM on 01.05.2014  (server time)
A (VERY) short word about what video games are allowed to be

I'm a little bit upset by comments submitted in this here thread, featuring the upcoming video game "Continue?". People have criticized the comparison to "Gone Home", another out-of-the-box indie game, seemingly aggravating certain folks because there's not much diversity when it comes to gameplay - already dismissing the new game because for them, Gone Home was not worthy of the title "video game".

While I don't care at all about "Continue?", I do care about "Gone Home", and even more about tolerating other people and what they deem worthy of loving, doing, playing.

Before you bring that up, I know that the opinion that certain games are not games is as legitimate as more tolerant points of view. You know, as long as it is left open to discussion and not spelled out in a disrespectful way.

I do, however see potential harm in limiting what a game is allowed to be, whereas I am having difficulties identifying any potential harm that comes from having an open mind, especially when it comes to a harmless topic like video games (ignoring the fact that video games breed hostile youth, shooting innocent people *cough*).

The thing that troubles me is of a very general nature. Opinions we verbalize in front of a large croud (and the internet is a gigantic cloud of people, among others) directly influence mindsets of very many people, which usually is a good thing. Thanks to that phenomenon, we have learned which plants are safe to eat vs. poisonous, or more recently, which kinds of crimes are committed around the world, begging a response and consequences.

What that also means is that by voicing limits we force upon media in order to define what's a video game and what isn't, we preliminary limit the variety of possible games being made in the future, which, we hopefully agree, is a bad thing! We already have a handful of genres dominating the AAA scene, while nobody dares to invest big money in, just to name examples, isometrical RPGs or turn based strategy games, with very few, recent exceptions in the latter category, like XCom (and thank Jim Sterling for that).

I am certain that opinions we voice have very hidden, but still existing effects on people not even present or included in the discussion. By dismissing a couple of video games or game concepts because they are not gamey enough for you, you not only behave intolerant towards people who love to play these games, you also add to the amount of restrictions and creative blockades already in place when it comes to video game design.

We are blessed to witness the expansion of boundaries thanks to indipendent developers who are not or only to a small amount dependent on stake holders and publishers. Kickstarter and other ways to directly fund games allow for the development of niche titles which have been lost for nearly two decades, like Star Citizen and Project Eternity.

Should we not notice the potential of new and old, nearly forgotten game designs now more than ever, instead of growing complacent and stopping the process in it's tracks? There is no reason to loathe games and genres you don't like, especially if you're a core gamer, there's plenty of existing titles, as well as titles in the coming. By allowing a small portion of developers to produce new, alien games, your ability to buy and play the games you want is not threatened in any way.

So please. Can we all play beside each other peacefully, and when we feel brave enough, look at what our neighbors are playing, but not to reject what we see, but to try and understand what makes that thing being played so special to them?

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