NPR: Video game industry should make more bad games

NPR, as always, has its finger on the pulse of America.  In a piece on video games, they correctly observe that video games are now big business and bought substantially by adults. But, they continue, “some critics” say that they can’t be taken seriously until they start taking on serious political issues like the war in Iraq, or teen pregnancy.

Naturally, the teen pregnancy suggestion was a throwaway; what they really want is games that oppose the war.  Hollywood, they point out, has spent a lot of money making anti-war movies.  True enough.  Of course, those movies were terrible and lost (let me check the figures) a gazillion dollars.

Undeterred, NPR (er, “some critics”, I mean) wants the video game industry to do the same.  They laud the one game with the courage to speak out against the war, BlackSite: Area 51.  That figures.  Having played the demo, I can say that BlackSite fits perfectly into NPR’s mold: it was a bad game.  (Gamespot rated it 6.5; an terrible score.)  The game flopped, of course.

Great idea, NPR; we need more games like BlackSite.  We should quit wasting our time on fun ones.

The funny thing is, there are some good, popular games out there that touch on politics.  Dead Rising pits a photographer against a plague of zombies that (surprise!) turns out to be the US Government’s fault.  (You know what would shock me?  If the US Government turned out not to be at fault.)  Even better is BioShock, which deals with liberty, objectivism, and the nature of humanity in a really creative way.  I guess those games just didn’t lend themselves to NPR’s narrative.

I’ll keep my eye out for a game about teen pregnancy.  Sounds like a great idea . . .

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