One thing I've noticed becoming a little more popular is non-violent gameplay and I really like this trend, even if it's rather miniscule compared to the broader amount of games being made. Violence is a part of our media in general (see the writings of bell hooks for more info) and so it's nice when a game provides different kinds of solutions to obstacles that don't involve 'kicking something else's ass'. Notably, most of these games, though, tend to be in visual novels, but I suspect that there's an infinite amount of possibilities to do non-violent games that aren't simply puzzles or choose your own dating adventure (i'm being sarcastic with the latter, btw) but are still high on action and skill.
I'm just writing this in hopes someone else sees this an possibly thinks of an alternative to the 'kill enemies' approach to gaming. It's been done a billion times (probably literally a billion times at this point) and while I do enjoy a shooty shooty game as I'm an arcade junkie by nature, there's a lot of games I've played that aren't inherently violent and get my palms super sweaty...and yes, I consider abstract games to be of this nature (such as Every Extend, etc.)
If anyone cares to chime in, please do. Again, I'm not making value or moral judgements here, it's just something that I think has great room for exploration thematically within game design and I look forward to being surprised because dude with gun or person that squishes enemies by stomping on them is definitely a crowded genre/concept.
Peace and keep on making games, even if they do involve a little bit of shooty shooty. I'll still be there to play it!
I look for these games too! I have played a bunch in the BBS, and saved many to play on my portable console. Puzzles, stories, adventures abound! I like that your position is not about judgment, rather a note about looking for variety / challenging ourselves to find original ideas.
From a conference about violence in video games, an interesting point was that shooting mecanics are not about violence but precision. The goal is not power or destruction, but the satisfaction of understanding a system (map, controls, timing, etc) and gaining mastery. That said, mecanics is one thing, but of course the theme/art/setting can be violent in itself (game of war, shooting animals, etc).
Maybe we like the classic games we like because we understand that the shooting is not about violence, and the developers avoid realist violence in the theme. In StarFox, we shoot but the targets are robots, and we enjoy developing mastery over flight controls to get out of tight spots. In pokemon, we make magic animals fight each other, but they faint instead of dying, and beside battles, we enjoy exploring the world, the story and raising our monsters. And Zelda has a lot of monsters you have to kill, but we love discovering the world and helping people!
Strategy or RPG games where we fight other humans with realistic weapons are different I think; it's still pretend, but the images and story are more evocative of real-life war and destruction. It's understandable that not everyone would enjoy that, if we already see too much of it in real life news. And sometimes it can be what we want though! I do enjoy driving cars and helicopters in GTA and causing mayhem. Games (and books and movies) let us experience things that we wouldn't do in real life, including destruction.
I guess it makes sense in a game dev journey to try out shooting mecanics, light bikes, bombing, etc. I know I will! But we can try to combine them with other actions than defeat, explosion, etc to make the game more original. One of my ideas is a top-down scrolling game with fast decisions (take, inspect or leave item) and some puzzle aspect. I hope it can be as exciting as a side-scroller shooter!
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