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LONG BLOG

95% of games now are "juvenile power fantasies"? I don't think so.

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That is a comment on Anthony Burch's rant Fun Isn't Enough.

That is one of the most ridiculous stat I have heard about games. Even if we broaden that beyond action games with macho heroes (as in including games like simulation racers that fulfill the fantasy of racing cool cars around, or sports games where you can pretend to be your favorite team or player), that is still a really dubious percentage. Even RPGs, which have protagonists that are generally juvenile and male, wouldn't be power fantasies.

And with the Wii and DS, that percentage sure as hell isn't that high, and since Burch indicated this was all games, that number is flat out wrong.

So why the hell would he think most games are like that?

Then it occurred to me, it's that many gamers often refuse to count other games as worthwhile, so the statistic is that 95% of games they care about are juvenile power fantasies.

Wow, those others games must suck then... or do they?

Many of the games they refuse to consider worthwhile are the casual games, the evil part of the market that makes games that are just for playing around with.

I've seen many gamers whine when a game doesn't have a certain feature, like when a Wii game has circular shadows. Their justification is that it supposedly means not enough effort was put into the game, but that's bull. Effort doesn't make a game good. It just makes a game run properly (because a glitchy, unplayable game isn't fun regardless of the genre).

But defining fun as having such arbitrary things as whether it has online, or real-time lighting, or enough enemies onscreen, is not really fun. Fun is not something you can qualify. You have fun or you don't.

And that's why it seems that most games are like that. Gamers have narrowly defined "fun" in video games into being a juvenile male power fantasy.

The solution isn't to make more "art" games, because that just means they can excuse their male power fantasies by being pretentious once in a while. The solution is to rediscover what fun in gaming really is.

And I don't mean going out and playing casual games. I mean not looking at them as the opposite of games like Gears of War. Carnival Games isn't bad (that's Drake of the 99 Dragons). It's just a different kind of game.

I mean stop looking at games in terms of does it meet some arbitrary standards.

Don't look at Rock Band vs Guitar Hero in terms of which has the best features. Look at them in terms how much fun you have with either one (although some do, I just see the arguments online are rarely like that).

Don't look at Dead Rising Chop Till You Drop in terms of whether there are enough zombies. Look at it in terms of whether you have fun killing the zombies that are there (you might not, but the point is that you aren't putting numbers ahead of fun).

Don't look at Mario Kart in terms of whether you can just race your way to the finish line (the blue shell is there to actually prevent playing that game like Gran Turismo), but whether you have fun blasting anyone in your way while you race to first place.

The problem isn't that most games are male power fantasies. It's that many gamers will not look at all the other games. The problem is that they've narrowed their view.
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About Lord The Night Knightone of us since 6:44 PM on 10.07.2007

I have a Wii and a DS, and my brother has a 360. I don't have anything against the PS3. We just can't afford one yet, but I do want a PSP when I can.