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Bill Kunkel's Farewell

Blake Snow's excellent article quotes the late Bill Kunkel:

Why don't people my age who played video games back in the '70s and '80s seem to care about modern video games? The games have changed, become more complex, and I think a lot of older gamers are simply disinterested in the direction in which these games have evolved. Even my old (Electronic Games) partners, Arnie and Joyce Katz, haven't played a video game in 15 years. People don't lose interest in movies, music, art, etc. as they age, so why hasn't gaming managed to keep the interest of its original fans? …The fact that the storylines in these games continue to expand while the gameplay elements have changed much less significantly is a genuine problem. No matter how grandiose the backstory, if I'm still dealing with the same gaming elements over and over, the differences among too many contemporary games seem utterly superficial. … Today, most of the vaunted titles leave me disturbingly indifferent. To me, they are like a 600 page novel that is the first part of a trilogy. They're daunting. I feel they just demand too much from me to qualify as entertainment.

I'm inclined to agree. Modern games take on epic lengths, which become nothing more than a time-sink for the busy adult. What do we really get from them that necessitates such length? Repetitive levels and a persistent handholding linearity with story interspersed between? Filler. Not every retail game needs to pretend its worth $60, as there is room for a variety of different price points and sizes of games.

Rest in peace Mr. Kunkel, gaming journalism could use more free-thinkers such as yourself.

Sep 08, 2011
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