Don’t Complain That Games All Look the Same, Play Something Else

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Videogames are more diverse and varied than you think. You just have to know where to look.

There are people who wouldn’t be caught dead playing a “kid’s game,” but chances are they’re a lot of the same people who complain about every game being painted in shades of gunmetal grey and post-apocalyptic brown. In Issue 281 of The Escapist, Adam Greenbrier says that if gamers could just get over their own snobbery, they’d discover a world of interesting and unique games.

A funny picture from a recent article on Cracked.com compared screenshots from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Killzone 3, and the revamped Medal of Honor. The joke was that you couldn’t tell them apart. It’s an easy laugh that isn’t entirely fair, but it’s a reflection of perennial complaints about the lack of variety in videogame environments. Until the phenomenal success of the first Modern Warfare, seemingly every military shooter was set in the ruined cities and villages of World War II Germany; after Modern Warfare, they’ve been collectively reimagined into the Middle East and the post-Soviet Russian countryside. Fantasy-themed games aren’t much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien’s Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. And seriously, has there been an M-rated game released this past year that hasn’t included some variety of zombie?

Games made for kids – or games made for those Wii-owning, Kinect-buying “general audiences” – provide a delightful relief from the shopworn environments and enemies of games made for adults. Unfettered by the hardcore market’s dictate for realism, children’s games have been able to create surreal worlds populated by strange creatures wholly unlike those found in most titles aimed at older audiences.

Greenbrier doesn’t think that gamers should give kids games a free pass, but he definitely thinks they should give them a chance. You can read more about it in his article, “Rated E for Everywhere.”

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