Department of Awesome!

April 3, 2007

Daisy: “You’re not one of those sci-fi nerds, are you?”

Tim: “No.”

Daisy: “You don’t spend your evenings on the internet, discussing what, like symbolism and the X-Files –“

Tim (offended): “Look, modern science fiction can be pretty interesting. The thoughts and speculations of our contemporary thinkers have probably never been closer to the truth…”

The fact of the matter is that while games began as a fairly open medium, with games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and a slew of Atari 2600 games appealing to a wide audience, some of the most prolific years of the medium were spent pitching games solely to 18-35 year old men. As such, a high proportion of game titles are either banal or puerile, and it can be pretty wrenching (or ridiculous, depending on your perspective) to hear people prattle on about the importance of video games as an art form. While I would argue that there *have* been some real gems over the years, games that were both satisfying and thought-provoking, they’ve been an awfully slim minority.

With the tremendous sales of the Nintendo Wii (that’s one wasabi-covered lemon of a name!) stretching over the traditional boundaries of the gaming market, we might someday see video games begin to take on some relevance as a mainstream art form. While such shifts are slow and labored in the console market (though it should be said that Nintendo is doing a commendable job in broadening its audience), the independent gaming scene on the PC, which has always been progressive by comparison to the rest of the industry, has released a number of excellent titles in the last few months which should appeal to a wide audience.

For example, consider the upcoming Reunion, by Mike Bithell. Although the video is a little dark, it’s worth looking at even if you don’t like computer games.