Monday, 19 October 2009

Charlie Brooker - Summing up the trouble with games

I read a great interview with Charlie Brooker yesterday. For those of you unaware of who Charlie Brooker is - He's one of the angry ones on TV. Pretty funny, and very... aware. Go see his stuff if you like someone being bitter. He's recently made a program called Gameswipe which this interview covers. Essentially Charlie, Mr Brooker, wanted to make a program about games that would be entertaining to both gamers and non-gamers. He speaks about the problems he faced:

"Games don’t realise how off-putting the complexity of games is to people who don’t regularly play them. Every gamer has experienced this, and again this is something we were going to put in the show. You introduce someone to something like Grand Theft Auto and they haven’t played a game since Streets of Rage when they were a student.
You sit there with them and within minutes you’re going: “No, press that button. No, that one. No, you’ve gone into crouch. No, don’t do that. That’s the map. No, you can’t run in that door. Why not? Well, you just can’t. It’s part of the scenery. I know you could run in the other door, but you can’t go in that one. Why? Because you just can’t.”
You have to sit there biting your tongue as they point the camera at the ground and run into walls. You forget how difficult games are to the non-gamer."
"It’s like learning a language. We’ve done it. We’ve played games for years. We know the shorthand. There was a bit of the show we had to lose where we talked about this. I know that if you’re running around and the camera’s in the wrong place I know that there will be an option to centre it behind me. A non-gamer isn’t going to now that unless they’ve poured over the manual. I don’t have to read the manual to know that."
I think this cuts straight to the nub of the issue. The reason why the Wii has been so successful is that people haven't had to learn how to play, you just do what you do naturally. More complex games need training, they need understanding, hard work and commitment.
"The closest analogy really is that it’s like we’ve learnt a language. Gamers are people who’ve learnt Esperanto."
Hope you're all keeping your Esperanto finely tuned - and spare a though for those starting out!

"How do you use this?" picture from YoshiVic

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