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Game dev writes off single-player as a mere 'gimmick'

11:00 AM on 10.29.2012

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

What?

In a statement that may cause the weaker-minded to crumble into a pile of insane confusion, Gogogic CEO Jonas Antonsson has declared that solo gaming experiences are nothing but a gimmick and not what games are supposed to be. What? What?

"The single player mechanic is a gimmick -- games are meant to be played with others and it doesn't matter if it's in-person or online," he told [a]listdaily. "The first games were designed as multiplayer experiences, but when computer and console games became a thing there was a need to construct an antagonist and/or a protagonist for commercial purposes. You couldn't depend on people coming together to have a synchronous experience over a game. That would have simply stifled sales.

"And since there was no reasonable way to connect people in other ways -- the arcade was the only serious attempt -- it became an industry need to project the game as the other player. Playing a game is a multiplayer activity and can easily be seen as such when you watch young toddlers play by themselves. They invent someone to play with, someone that they talk to and interact with."

The things that go without saying are the most fun to say, so say them I shall. This guy's out of his bloody mind and I'm going to rebuke him, point by point. 

  • Just because something happened first, that doesn't make subsequent additions/mutations/directions a gimmick. The first movies were silent, that doesn't make dialog fucking gimmicky. 
  • A gimmick is a quirky feature designed to stand out from the competition. Since all home console games moved toward single-player experiences out of necessity, they weren't putting in something weird to stand out. It wasn't a gimmick -- it was an industry-wide shift to meet demand and work with what systems were capable of at the time. 
  • By the logic presented in the argument, anything designed for commercial purposes is a gimmick. That means everything that exists to be sold, apparently, is a gimmick. This is obviously not true, because it's fucking demented. 
  • Toddlers? Toddlers sit around in their own shit and think ghosts are real. Are we really using them to demonstrate how the world should work?
  • Toddlers?
  • Fucking toddlers?
  • Really?

In his defense, Antonsson did say that single-player games could still exist (we have his permission, thank Christ) but that they have to be designed well and appeal to gamers ... which ... should be true of all games, surely? He also said single-player games shouldn't exist just because they're supposed to be single-player experiences, even though he said that they're supposed to be multiplayer experiences, which I guess means multiplayer games don't have to be good ... is his ... what he means to say there ... is ... huh?

Owls? Why are there owls in my shoes?

Trying to understand that guy's point is making me go peculiar. 

Videogames is owls.

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