Just my imagination

I was recently watching one of James May’s excellent television programmes about childhood toys. in which he reminisces and/or uses them to build something incredible and very cool, when he said something that got me thinking. I can’t remember his exact words but it was something along the lines of modern computer games being boring because they leave nothing to the imagination.

I’ve been thinking recently about the importance of graphical quality in games, and this struck a chord with some of my own ideas about the increasing fidelity of high-end gaming. As the gaming experience becomes ever more realistic it becomes ever more immersive… or does it? I remember being immersed in games of far lesser graphical wonder, such as The Hobbit with its shaky line drawings, and the brilliant Secret of Monkey Island with its 2d pixelmen. Or even a good book.

I think that May has got it right. By striving for increasing accuracy and definition in games we may be losing some of the essential ‘gameness’ of them – the mystery, storytelling, creativity and imagination that goes on in our own heads as we play.

1 Comment

  1. Ian

    You make an excellent point, madame. To my mind the increase in graphical capability has frequently led to less rather than more opportunities for imaginative use of the game elements themselves. Even in so-called ‘sandbox’ games all the fun is taken out by the fact that whatever you decide to do the developer seeems to have already anticipated and coded for. Which naturally begs the question how can you design a computer game that allows you to restore the sort of creativity and imagination that you get from playing with lego, or the sheer anarchic joy of getting thorin to carry gandalf to carry sam to carry pippin, getting thorin drunk and then locking the lot of them in the ogre’s cave for the rest of the game?

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