Some games aren't tailored for the people who typically label themselves as "gamers". Some games are intended to be the true essence of what games should be: a diversion. This means that they don't necessarily need to be the same things that make videogames "fun" as we know them today.
Fun vs. Literature
The videogames that have a good story, good replay value, and that fit into tropes they are discussed with, such as "action adventure" or "RPG" are usually text heavy, or if they aren't, have a story that is told through the video medium. This makes them literature, as they are written text in an artistic medium. Videogames as literature, however, are a different beast from videogames that are strictly for fun, even though they can definitely overlap. It's like a really jacked-up Venn Diagram, because the two would overlap a lot more than they would be separate. Most games that are literature are also fun, and many games that are fun are also literature, but some games are definitely not literature and are fun. These are the primary targets for this series.
The games I will speak about in this series are going from the big "Videogames Are Literature" bracket in the Venn Diagram and are going solidly in the "Videogames are Diversions" bracket, so I will generally ignore all other things normally associated with the "videogames are literature" bracket. Without this step, none of what I say about these games will matter. If requested, I will write more about "Videogames Are Literature vs. Videogames Are Diversions", but keep in mind that I harshly separate the two; I will only be reviewing Videogames Are Diversions, as they are heavily ignored as "not real games", or criticized as if they are terrible games, when in fact, they are just being compared to the wrong things. It would be like comparing novels and epics, or in some cases, epics and comic books.
Literature in History
Now for just a dash of literature in history. Speaking about Videogames Are Literature means that we must associate them with all literature in the same ways that all literature is compared, which only gives them a fair shake. Keep in mind that not all literature is good, but everything written is essentially literature, and can be classified in one of four categories, and then can be further classified. Here, I will not delve into those classifications, but rather, the main four: Epic (poetry), Lyric (poetry), Drama, and History (Historiography). That means that some games are Epic- in that they follow Epic convention, not that they are just "woah dude, epic!". Some games are generally poetry, and go and flow. Some games are for pure entertainment and shock and so forth, and very few are non-fiction, attempts at exploring facts. All literature does this, once again, and videogames are no exception, whether or not we like to admit that they are literature.
The main reasons for going through and defining the types of literature are to remind the reader that even though "Videogames Are Diversions", they are still literature, and that the label is purely to differentiate games that care about any semblance of story, history, beauty — what we typically consider to be "literature", and instead focus on only "fun". Something to consider here about older videogames is that while in this context, they would often be about 99% just diversions, in that they had very little text, if any. The story is told through the game play. I won't go into detail here, but instead leave you with a great example: Metroid. Now that our terms are established, it is much easier to establish the importance of videogames as diversions.
Down to the basics
Videogames being fun is a simple, easy to understand concept that is so simple because it's right there in the name! They are games, which are meant to be fun! The issue, as alluded previously, is that videogames are now a platform, instead of a true term. The word "videogame" is no longer necessarily the literal definition of a video-game, but instead, it's akin to "book" or "painting" or "song". It's a new art form, and it is the most recent widely accepted medium of literature! How exciting! This is the reason for my two classifications: Videogames Are Literature and Videogames Are Diversions.
With the classifications established, my reviews in this series will focus on specifically games that are heavily criticized due to being in the Videogames Are Diversions classification. Sometimes, I will cover games that are considered to also be literature, as they can definitely overlap. Feel free to consider this, and comment on this, as that is largely the point of these articles: to bring it up, and talk about the subject amongst yourselves. Enjoy, and have fun!
This is a series by Duckhead about games that people generally despise. Do you have a game that you hate, or a game that has gotten a bad rap? Suggest it for a future article in the comments below, or email TAYDuckhead@outlook.com!
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