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Schafer: Games need to broaden their subject matter

2009-06-18 09:20:00·  2 minute read   ·  Jim Sterling@JimSterling
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Psychonauts and Brütal Legend designer Tim Schafer has said that the biggest barrier between fresh audiences and videogames is a lack of varied subject matter. Stating that games need to get beyond just a handful of basic genres, the respected game creator posits that the industry has a long way to go if the mainstream will embrace the medium.

"I think it's a subject matter barrier. Not everybody wants to get into these super violent worlds and yet here I am making a game about broad axes and decapitation," he explains. "But I think humour would get more people into games.

"It's getting better, it used to be that the games industry had a short list of inspirations. You had Tolkien-esque fantasy, Star Wars, and then new things get added. I think GTA brought a whole new level of inspiration. And I think the broader that gets, the more people will be interested in games.

"If you look at movies, they deal with everything about life. They deal with all aspects of life: romance, comedy, serious dramas. And games are mostly limited to the summer action blockbuster. They haven't really gone outside of that. But I think they will, and hopefully they will soon, or else people will be solidified in their view of games. Their expectations are set."

I would love to see videogames get big enough balls to tackle meatier subject matter, but I must disagree that it's limited themes that are proving to be a barrier. If anything, the Wii has proven that it's significant simplicity and a further dumbing down of videogames that attract new people. Still, show me a good romantic comedy videogame and I'll be convinced that games have arrived.


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