Okay, so my name is Kenneth Oropeza. I'm 25 years old and I reside in New York City, in Manhattan.
Without getting into the whole story about when I started playing games -- I got out of it once I was probably 14 or 15. So I know I was in junior high school going into high school and that was around the time of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, the old WWF Smackdown videogames, I was big on. Every year that videogames for wrestling would come out. Things like that. And I got out of it -- I don't know exactly why it happened because it was something that I do a lot with my little brother and my older brother. And it was just, like, a thing we would do. That's how we would bond.
And then out of nowhere starting getting into the "I'll watch you play instead of playing" mode. I know that I got motion sickness after a certain amount of time with certain games. And I had that when I was a kid.
When I started playing PlayStation and I bought Spyro the Dragon and I remember I just didn't want to play this game. It made me feel bad. And it looked it nice, but I just couldn't get into it because I kept getting these headaches and nausea. But, I don't -- it wasn't just, like, a drop off. I wasn't, like, disinterested. It wasn't a social thing where it was just, "Oh, you're playing games?"
If anything it was the contrary where I stood out because I didn't play videogames and it was just this thing amongst the boys in the school and my brothers that everyone played videogames, everyone knew how to play Halo and all that stuff but me. But Kenny.
So, since then, you know, I kept watching. I play a little bit, you know. I was always interested in what was happening, the graphics, and things like that. So I've always had my foot in the water, but I never really dove in up until recently. The nausea and the motion sickness was a hindrance that I couldn't control. But I still -- and since you sent me those questions and things like that, I've wanted to pinpoint it and I still can't.
So maybe in the nature of this conversation I'll figure it out.
[Laughs.] Well, what are you trying to figure out specifically?
Well, what was the last game that I played through?
Because I know now I've been playing games from beginning to end, but when I was younger, what was the last game that I played through and what was that ended when I just started watching other people play? It's different because I'll play a little bit of NBA: The Street. That was a huge thing for me, and that was on PS2, so already the second generation.
And I loved handheld games, so -- and I guess in the conversation we'll get into this in the beginning, but I always liked to have a new version of things. But I wasn't a hoarder in the sense that I wanted to keep the old-school Game Boy. I would trade that as soon I could for the best amount of money that I could, and then get the new one. So I'd always have the new Game Boy when there was Color, then the Advance, and once it got into the SP, the flip version of the Game Boy, I stopped. I played Pokémon Red, Yellow, Silver, Gold, but then when it got beyond a certain point, I stopped.
So it wasn't so much that I guess I didn't want to play videogames, just I got my feel for it. I look at it and I'm like, "Oh it's another Pokémon? But I played it already."
"Oh, it's another NBA? But I played it already."
"Oh, this is new? I'll try it." And it just wouldn't grab my attention, so I just wouldn't buy it and play it through. But I did want to see other people play it. I did want to experience it with my brothers and go crazy about it. He would play Killzone and I'd join in for a little bit on co-op, but I wouldn't get into it and do the whole story mode. So it's very strange how that --
Yeah, it sounds like you're talking about just diminishing returns.
Yeah! It sounds like that. I’d still want to experience it and that's something that I've gotten back into it because I know that that's a thing now, that people will watch other people play with Twitch, these other sites and there's a community and things like that. And now I got a PS4. The funny thing is I got a PS3 when it was Rock Band, and that was a thing that was popular but amongst my friends, they're like, "Oh, what is that? I don't want to play that." But that was what drove me to get a PS3 because I still had my PS2 and I thought, "You know, this is fine for the little bit that I play."
But when PS3 came out and I wanted Rock Band, I immediately thought, "Oh, this is perfect."
So those kind of games -- and seriously, when Rock Band 4 comes out, I will be there first day.
In terms of games, I still dabble and I still get my fix for it. But when it comes to Rock Band -- certain kinds of videogames, I will go online and be a gamer. But I'm not a gamer. I just put on the costume, I do it, and then once I'm done with it, I take it off and I'm just like, "Okay, I'm done." You know? So I don't own it. I'm a Mets fan. I own that. I live that. I cry with that. That's me. But with a gamer? I'll just leave that alone. I'm like, "Oh, that's on you guys." You know, like, E3, I look at it, but I don't get engrossed in it. I'm just like, "Oh, this is a demo. Whatever.”
Yeah. So, you mentioned in your emails you talking about what consoles you own and what games you dabble with, like, it makes it sound like you're pretty current and active. But you also said you mainly you keep that stuff around to play or live vicariously through your brother.
Yeah. So, right now, when I bought my PS4, I justified it because my PS3 had just died and I thought, "Well, I need a Blu-ray player." And that was, like, a driving thing for me in terms of justifying a new console, "Okay, I'm going to replace it, but I really just need a Blu-ray player. I'm not gonna buy a Blu-ray player when I could just get a new PlayStation."
So, I bought my PS4. Absolutely no good games were out except Tomb Raider, which was the HD version, and Need for Speed. I bought it thinking it'd have a co-op mode. So I'm like, "Okay, I'll buy this so I can play with my brother." No co-op mode. "All right. Whatever." But I played that game because that's something that's leisure where I can just drive and blah, blah, blah, and I drop it. Tomb Raider, I played it when it was on PSOne, so I was interested to see what changed, and what the update was, and I was hooked. So I played it through, I love that game. I was crazy with the crossbow and I sat here and made time to play it.
But did I buy Call of Duty? No. I bought it for my brother, because I know he would want to play it and I'd watch him play. Arkham Knight, I bought it because I love Batman, but he went through and played through the whole thing. I played through the beginning and I left it alone and then when I have time I'll keep going, but it's not something that I'm crazy about.
So he's playing it for the second time now, trying to get all the trophies.
Yeah, he's crazy about it. He loves these games. And I'll watch it through him because I just wanna see what the story is and what's cool about it, what's not.
How old is your brother?
He's 19 now, but he's been playing videogames alongside me since he was probably eight or nine.
But he had the PSOne, he had GameCube, and he had those better games, whereas I just had Sega, which was basically Sonic and a driving game and a Star Wars game. It was just three games that I had and that was it. That's what Sega Genesis was for me.
Why aren't you crazy about Arkham Knight, if you love Batman?
Because there’s more to Batman than simply, "I beat up bad guys." I enjoy Bruce Wayne just as much since, in my opinion, that was his true costume. He was Batman and put on the three-piece suit when he needed to. So while I still enjoy watching Batman beat up some goons and hear Mark Hamill’s joker one more time, it’s not really exciting to me.
Do you ever talk to your brother about how games don't hold your interest as much anymore?
Well, he's asked me about it in the past. "Why don't you play anymore? What happened?" And he knows that I don't play Call of Duty because of the motion sickness. I just can't do first-person. So he'll play me a game and he's like, "What's the difference between that and anything else?" For example, Grand Theft Auto, I put on my gamer costume. I went on line at 12:01 at Gamestop, and the entire time I'm just looking at myself like, "I don't really care. This is not my crowd." But I wanted to get the game, I wanted it on physical disc. So I got it. And that was for PS3 at the time. So I get it, I play through it, but I wanted to get that game because I already had experience with the game, and I already had that nostalgia. I remember playing it when it was just blocks, you know? When it was an old driving game, really.
And now it's this living, breathing huge open-world thing. So I'll play that, but he's like, "Why would you play that instead of anything else? Even though it's kinda the same thing, like, another open world?" I said, "Well, this I'm familiar with. And this I don't have to relearn something and invest myself." I only have a certain amount of time to learn the lingo and the buttons and the community and what to look out for. This is familiar.
Whereas if you have another open-world game like Assassin's Creed, I'm not getting into it. I just don't care. I'll watch you play for a little bit, but I don't care. I don't want to hear about it. It's just not interesting.
Does he take it as a challenge to try to get you back into the fold, as it were?
He used to.
So, we'd play certain games and he would say, "Here, play. It's two players. Here, play this." He'll do that. He knows that I like watching.
I mean, it sounds like he's kind of getting the sweet end of the deal. You keep buying these things and he'll play 'em.
Oh yeah! He'll play them and I'll watch them.
And I do it that way, too, because that's the economical side of things where, like, I'm the only person in his immediate family that works and will be able to buy these things around the time they come out. So, for that, I do it vicariously because when I was his age I wanted something like that. So that's how we bond, in the sense that I'm like, "Here, come over to my house, play the game for a while. Let's just chill."
I just recently let him borrow my PS4 so he can play it at my grandmother's house where he lives at now. He was able to play Arkham Knight all the way through, and then I took it back. So we'll do things like that, but that's more of a bonding thing. If he liked drawing, I'm sure I would be buying things for drawing. But it's just his thing that it's videogames. So that's why I do that.
Do you think he's worried that he may lose some of the passion, himself?
Well, he is a gamer. So he has that pessimism about E3 and how it looks a certain way, and then when it comes out it's not. So, he's owning that and it's that the first time I've heard him embrace it. He was watching some of the demos, he's just like, "This is bullshit. This is not gonna look like that."
And I said, "Look at you! You're finally catching up!"
"Well, wait a minute, is that a thing?"
And then there was an article -- I don't know if you had posted something about it or someone else, it was on Polygon, and it was talking about how it's a tech demo, but they try to turn it into the game, but it's like they have a separate team for the tech demo, and it's not really -- it's supposed to represent what you're supposed to do in the game but it's not really the game. So I sent him that link and he's like, "Oh my God. This is crazy. I've been lied to this whole time."
Yeah, that was me.
Yeah, yeah. So I sent him that and I'm just like, "Look at this, you'd like this." But I knew about it because I had that for so many games in the past that I just put two and two together, and it's not a good indication of what it's going to look.
I think a lot of us suspected it, but I don't think we've ever really heard it articulated.
And so, like, I don't know. What do you think is the damage or the harm if we don't have those assumptions articulated or confirmed?
Well, it's always that mystique and that mystery. And I knew you were talking about that, too, that you've been in this industry for such a long time but there's still that wall there. So, as a consumer -- and I bought the magazines when there was Game Informer and Nintendo Power and I think I still have some of them somewhere -- I'd buy them to try get this insider knowledge of what the games were about and what it took to make them and do all that. But I wasn't really getting that. All these magazines, maybe they went one level deeper than I could have just playing the game. You know, talking to the director and the producer and things like that. Whatever.
But it wasn't like, "Okay, now we're going to go behind the scenes."
Maybe at the expense of Nintendo. Maybe if it's gonna make Sony look bad. I never got anything like that. So as I grew up, I still had that hunger of, "But what makes this tick? What's the -- how does it become from just a person's idea to just a game? Is it just that? Or is it like a company going, 'Well, I wanna make this game. Can you make it for me?'" You know? And that was a big thing. I read one of your interviews and I was like, "Oh, wow, I didn't even know that was a thing!"
And I've been playing videogames and I think of myself as a relatively smart person that can kind of put things together, but that never crossed my mind that the publishers themselves would say, "We want to make this game because we think that that's what's gonna sell based on these things that are happening. Based on data."
You know, like, Netflix wants to make this movie based on what other people are watching. I didn't really connect that and to think that that's been around for such a long time, you know? When I read that Netflix was doing that I was like, "Oh, that's pretty smart!" But I guess that games have been doing that for the longest. So it's really interesting.
One of the things I've learned in doing this is that notions of the bigger game companies hotbeds of creativity are experimentation -- those days are long gone. I've sort of accepted the fact that these are basically big companies that want to keep their employees fed and having health insurance, and they will do that in the most conservative ways.
Which is fine, but but then maybe also it isn't fine? I don't know. It's odd that the ones with the most money are trying to paint themselves as victims. Because I don't know anyone in my life who has a lot of money who talks a lot about how it sucks to have a lot of money -- even though I know there are certainly parts of it that do suck, too.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly.
But you had said in your email that you "don't think we age out, the same way people who grew up wrestling don't really 'stop.' You're always keeping one foot in the water, subconsciously hoping that something piques your interest enough to get you to come back."
What do you think you're waiting for out of videogames?
Honestly, and I'm hoping that it doesn't make me motion-sick -- but I'm hoping VR is the thing that's gonna make me jump in and go, "Now, this is it." I'm gonna come home from work, and I'm gonna put those goggles on and I'm gonna immerse myself in No Man's Sky or whatever the game's gonna be, and then pop out going, "I can't wait to do this tomorrow." You know? I played games up until I had to go to bed, and then I'd think about it all day in school, and would talk about it in class, and then I would run home and do it.
I don't do that anymore. I play at my leisure when I just have an hour to kill. But I'm always looking at that hour going, "Do I really want to just do this at home? Isn't there something I could read? Isn't there something I could write about?" There's other things and I guess that's more interesting for me, versus doing it in the game. That's why something like Rock Band was interesting for me, because I was playing, but I was doing something and it was a skill. Not a skill that I could use somewhere else, but with the drums, I realized I was getting better at it. And when I went to an actual drum kit, I kind of had a feel for it. I was like, "That's cool." Games should be able to help you out in the grand scheme of things.
You know? And I don't think you ever have that ratio of just like -- because I play Pokémon, I could do that! You never have that. And go figure, Pokémon announces a mobile game that is location aware. Have you seen that trailer? It’s basically making it seem like you’re supposed to go out into a real park to find these Pokémon. I can’t wait to catch Pikachu in a peep show booth near the West Side Highway.
[Laughs.] Well, yeah. But do you think sometimes we expect too much of videogames?
Well, yeah. Think of it this way: They are fun, but when you have fun playing a sport, at some point you think about whether you want to do this professionally. Do you want to keep doing it? Are you good at it? And there's never been that thing for games where it's just fun, and even if you're good at it, that's it.
Now, obviously, there are gaming competitions and things like that. But in my eyes, that's still a very small group that takes it that far. At school you never hear, "Hey, what do you do all day? You play videogames? Are you really good at it? Here, here's that class and maybe we'll get interested in taking you to the next level." That never happens.
And it's weird because you spend so much time with videogames and you need so much skill and just forward-thinking -- sometimes they guide you depending on the game, but there's been some games that are hard that I really have to reshape how I thought about a scenario, but I can't take that into something else.
So, yeah, I guess I'm expecting more of videogames, but it's expecting because I invest in it and it's my person and it's my body and my mind and I'm using my knowledge in doing things like that. And then when I plug it off, it's like I have to plug everything off. Whereas when I play sports, I own that for the rest of the day or the week or whatever. Like, it makes me feel better. So that's why something physical like Rock Band, I guess they were trying to do that with Kinect and everything, but it gives you that extra sense like, "Hey, maybe you'll work out a little bit. You're gonna burn some calories doing this."
Or, you can take this thing and if you really wanna play drums, there you go. This was your gateway drug to take this further.
So, I feel like if videogames can continue that, and I don't know if VR's gonna help you do that, but VR will open up this door of things that we didn't think about. So, it's not so much gonna be, "Oh, well, I'm gonna stay in this world and I'm gonna do this and when I take the glasses off, I'm gonna be better." Not really. But you're gonna be able to do things differently because there's VR. So, something that I did in my normal life. Let's say because I went to the DMV today, maybe there'll be a DMV in the VR, you know? All it needs is for me to provide documents, digital, and it's just me being a person in a queue line.
I don't think DMVs even have email yet.
[Laughs.] They're trying!
But, hey! I was shocked when they let me pre-register online so I could skip the line. I was shocked about that. And at the DMV, at least in New York, you could do certain things at a kiosk and it'll print out for you and you can just do the whole thing there at a kiosk. So that's like state of the art to me. I was shocked.
You mentioned you get motion sickness when you play some videogames. I’ve heard of this before but never experienced it. What is it actually like?
It's basically nausea, eye-watering, and even headaches, but you gotta really be playing to get a headache. And it's just uneasiness. It becomes a laborious thing. It's not fun. It's really frustrating because I hate that. I hate that I can't just sit down and look at something because my brain's gonna be tricked into thinking something else. So in VR, I didn't get motion sickness because my entire body felt like it was moving. I was just afraid of heights so I was like, "Oh my God, this is really huge." But I loved it. I was sold.
What they need to do is the high-res screen so I can't really discern pixels too much. I know you're gonna be able to tell, but not too much that it takes you out of it. And also, I guess that's why Facebook's into it because they wanna have the whole world thing where you can do Facebook in that and what it looks like and all that. But it's a risk. So I'm fine with people -- I like that. I like the murmurings and the uneasiness and the skepticism because that's only gonna either push them to make it right or validate it because they're gonna mess it up.
So, before I forget, something I wanted to ask you about was you saying you were putting on the costume of a gamer.
What does it mean?
I'll put it in context of my thing with wrestling, and that's a big thing that I've invested in, that it's a thing that at least when I was younger only guys liked and only guys did. Things like that. So, with wrestling, up until recently I've been watching it again and watching the product and embracing it live and things like that. And I know someone that works for one of the wrestling companies, so it's easy to go to live shows and it's not so much of an economical investment. It's just my time. So, when we first started getting into it again, he would have to tell me about it: "This character's bad. This character's good. This is the storyline. This probably will happen." Things like that.
So he gave me, like, a primer.
When it comes to videogames, when I talk about the costume, if I just see a Grand Theft Auto game, I probably have been looking at it. I don't have to act like I've been here and I've been waiting for it, things like that. Whereas when people say, "Oh, there's a Batman-Superman trailer, and now everyone has an opinion on Batman, and you’re thinking, did you even read the comics?"
That's what I mean by the costume. Did you wait for this game to come out? Are you that crazy about this to stand on a line? Are you able to keep up with the conversations that people are having about the rumor about this? Do I own it or do I just want to play it?
So, with wrestling, have I been following the storylines or do I just want to go and watch something live?
In my head, being a fan of gaming and being a gamer, you have this thread of stories and articles and drama -- I guess now because of the Internet -- and have you been keeping up with it? Have you had an opinion? Are you on a forum? Things like that.
And I know when I go on line at Gamestop, those aren't my friends. Those aren't my peers. Because I'm just buying the game and I'm gonna play it a little bit and leave it alone.
Oh, I see what you're saying.
I can't really connect to them because when they bring something up, I'm not gonna know that guy's name, you know? They'll be like, "Oh, yeah, when Hideo--" And I'm just like, [Stammers.]
But I was like, "Who is that?" If it were me, it just sounds like that. "I don't know who that guy is." But then as I've been following Metal Gear Solid V, I'm like, "Oh, you mean Kojima. Oh. Okay. I get you now." You know?
So it's like this foreign language. I can still like the game, mostly because I played it years ago and I haven't kept up ever since. But when you live it, now you know the names, now you know the rumors, now you know the this and the that. And I think that helps you out in terms of talking to your friends about it because that's a narrative. Now it has a beginning, middle, and end, and there's a storyline. Versus just me going to a Gamestop, buying it, and going home. That's boring.
Do you feel like you need to wear that costume online, as well? Or no?
I don't even try. Honestly, gaming online is the most intimidating -- I don't do it. So I don't play on the computer. I've never liked computer gaming, PC gaming. I've never liked that. But even with forums, I just don't do it. So I read it. That's a big thing I do on Reddit, I do on a lot of sites. That I'll read it, but I go there for a purpose, like I want to read about a bug that maybe I'm not the only who's going through. Like, if everyone's just talking about something, I'm not going to feel inclined to write about it and have someone retort. Like, I just don't want to do it because I don't like the attitude there. I don't like what people are about and how crazy people get about it. It's just not fun for me.
What do they seem to be about?
It's just like, "My opinion's right and this is fact and you're wrong and you're stupid."
And I hate putting it that way, but let's say the thing with Reddit --
You shouldn't feel bad for stating the truth.
It's sad because I always feel bad about people equating this childish mentality to the Internet, but when it comes to Reddit, when it comes to gaming forums, Gamergate, all that silliness -- they're children. They're children that don't know how to have an intellectual conversation about something that maybe there isn't a right answer about, but let's have a conversation to better inform ourselves and maybe even that approach that, if it should ever exist. But, let's say, Gamergate. That's -- you guys are wrong.
But we still wanted to argue about it.
And I feel like it shows how you really don't want to know the answer. You just want to rant. You just want people to listen. It's like anarchy. You want to do it for the sake of destruction, not for your betterment. You know?
Yeah, I was out at a conference last week and got back last night. I was talking to a woman who runs a games-education program at a university and she was saying as far as that stuff goes, it basically was a group of people that were angry about a lot of other stuff and for some reason this was the thing that ignited the biggest and so they've decided to make it their biggest cause. How do you think that was able to shoehorn into videogames?
I think -- I wouldn't agree with her. I think that they always had that opinion, and I see this when Serena Williams did what she did, and one of the first replies on SportsCenter was, "Well, I'm glad she did this so she can go back to the kitchen." You know, and I feel like that's always an opinion those people would have. And even if they don't really own it, they just wanna say it to piss people off.
I don't necessarily think that all of them believe it to the point that they're going to meetings about it and they live it. I just think they were angry about something and they wanted attention and they said, "What's gonna make people hate us? At least listen to us. Let's just raise our voice, let's just talk about this and then go from there."
But it wasn't, like, a cause that they felt. This wasn't brewing. This was their opinion about something that pissed people off before and now it just became this unified voice of everyone saying the same big horrible thing and they're just like, "Welp! People are paying attention, so let's continue." But if it wasn't that, and I feel like if no one paid attention to that they'll go, "Well, obviously they don't care about women, so let's just talk about the blacks or let's talk about something else."
So I think it's more about what's gonna piss people off and how are they going to send their message out and how can they align those two, but it wasn't so much about, "We truly feel this way." I don't think it was that. I think it was the other thing that they were talking about that they felt for. Let’s piss people off.
Well, the Internet and videogames -- the intersection of the two were weird before last year, right?
What do you remember pre-2014 in the space?
I think before all this stuff came to a head in terms of Gamergate and all that stuff, before that, the Internet and gaming -- well, I knew about swatting and things like that. So I realize that there were Internet gaming, like Xbox Live and things like that. But I figured it was more about the person having a lot of fun gaming. There's always gonna be that subset of people that truly enjoy it. That they're more than just viewers. They're active participants. So when you really go out with your new bike and and you want to talk to people about your experience, you go on a biking forum. But now it's a hobby. You truly enjoy it.
With gaming, I think it was the same way for a long time.
I remember going on gaming websites for, like, GameShark cheat codes and things like that, but when it became something more than that, that it was just like a community of people who were upset about something they thought they knew about, I think that's just up until recently. But it says more about how deeper we're getting in terms of journalists and the stories behind a videogame. Maybe the patterns that have been emerging about AAA games and they're all the same thing, really, and it's everyone going, "Okay, I saw this already. I saw the same movie." And now you're just not watching a movie, you're critiquing the little fault in continuity. So now you're picking at it because you've seen it all over again. Whereas, before, I think we were all just blown away by all these new things that we didn't have time to pick at it.
Yeah. Well, you were saying before, too, that you didn't really feel like this stuff was your scene. Is this what you were talking about?
Well, yeah. Growing up it was something -- like, my grandmother was the one who bought me my first Sega Genesis and that was something that she played with me and that was a bonding thing. But we did a lot more than that. So I wasn't there all the time.
She didn't really limit my gaming use, but she would tell me, "You didn't really want to play all the time." It was only up until when I was older that I would play a videogame and someone wanted to watch me play and wanted to talk to me about it, and it became, like, this kind of competition thing like, "Oh, how many Pokémon do you have?" "Oh, blah blah blah blah blah."
And that's when I really started getting into it because now I owned it.
So when I was a kid, not really. But it was just me and my grandma, when it was school and there were more people, then I owned it because now it was something I could impress people about.
It was something I could work on. I followed it as a skill.
But then when I started to see the fallacy in that, when I didn't think that was right anymore, it was just -- I guess it was, "Well, I'll watch you play because I'm interesting, but I don't really need to do it anymore." You know? Then I let it go, and now I don't own it. I don't think I'm like that. I don't play for trophies or completion percentage. I just play to have fun. And if there's more things to do, I'll do it, but other than that I just leave it alone.
What do you find boring or repetitive about the conversation around videogames online?
Online I guess it always starts with the E3 stuff. "It didn't look like this at E3. Blah blah blah blah."
Recently -- and it's valid, and it's something that I kind of own, but I don't talk about it online. But I have owned it with my little brother: the whole pre-ordering thing. Because I've seen what's happened with these games that aren't finished, but you have it pre-ordered and it comes out tomorrow, but it's not done and you play it and it looks half-finished, it plays half-finished. I know people are talking about that now, that you speak with your money and they see that pre-orders are low because of this whole thing. They'll push to finish it, but now I know that developers, how crazy they get to finish this on time, and the pressure they get, so I don't even know if it's an accurate way to go about it. I don't mind pre-ordering it, and as long as it's a game that's gonna evolve and I'll get an update, then I'll just be patient with it because at the end of the day the people that are doing this are trying their hardest. And I think those are the people that are gonna get affected by it versus the AAA company that already got their money for this contract and that contract. They already got paid. These other employees got paid, but the better the numbers are, I think it'll be easier on them. I think that's how I'd phrase it.
Who do you think makes creative decisions on videogames?
Well, the big thing -- I'm a big fan of movies and with movies it's relatively easy to figure out how to become something from a script and an idea or a spec script all the way to a finished product that you're watching in a movie theater. So I see the evolution and I see how someone will write it on the page and when you start thinking about how you're going to put it on a screen, you start saying, "Well, we can't do that. We shouldn't do it this way. It works better this way." And you start dabbling into -- it's a community thing.
Whereas you can have a great script and a bad movie or a bad script and a great movie.
So that dichotomy is also really interesting, as well. So I know it's not just one person.
In terms of who exactly, I honestly don't know because in terms of the production of a videogame, I don't know what the titles are. I skip through the credits. I've never been that interested in that. But I'm assuming -- if I was to think about it, I would assume that -- I guess not, because I'm better informed, but it's going to be a request: "We want to make a game that does these things. Can you put that together for us? If so, we'll pay you to do the whole thing." So they do it. So, they'll have a whole group there, but I guess from top-down, I guess it's going to be a person that's producing, you know, making sure that everyone has what they need. It's either the developers or the artists, depending on what kind of a game it is. The person working a script, so, writer.
I think it's money-driven, as always, but I think it's really money-driven because of that setup that it's just, like, it has to make sense when you see it, so it has to be flashy. You know: "So we have to do certain things so that it's flashy and will grab their interest."
Whereas with a movie, when it's on page, you don't really have that. It's all about word and story. I don't think it's like that with games.
Why do you think game production on that scale has never really been that transparent? To the point where you can get to be your or my age and still be like, "I don't know! It's a mystery!"
Well, I guess -- let me see. I guess looking at the credits at the game, but they're just so long. I think -- especially nowadays, when you have CG movies, where you'll see the producer and the director and things like that -- but when it comes to the artist, it's a five, 10, 15 second's worth of names and you're just flabbergasted and you're just like, "These are all the people that worked on just the CG aspect of things?" So, even though I know who the director is and I know all that stuff. You don't really get a feel for who's actually making it because it's just hidden in this other way and they call it artists or they call it anything else.
I don't think there's much attention to, like, the hierarchy of, "This is the person who came up with the idea." I don't think there's just one wire. I don't think there's just one concept artist. I don't think there's just one artist, obviously. It's this whole slew of people -- and I'm not saying that one person is just gonna do that one thing. I think it's a collective of effort to do something and then it's another collective effort to, you know, pick at it and go, "Okay, we want this, we want that."
And another thing is the motivation behind it. So, when you have a movie, you have the motivation of getting the script and whoever wrote it, getting it to the screen because it's worth watching apparently.
With a game, I don't think it's like that. I don't think someone's looking at it going, "You know, I have this idea. Oh, that's worth doing!" I think it's just: "I think that's gonna make some money, let's do it." I think it's the other way around, they're seeing the movie and they just wanna start from scratch. Whereas some people start from scratch with this and everyone's like, "Oh, I didn't even think we could do that. Let's do that."
I think it's on its head, the whole -- the system. And that's why you can't a good feel for it, because everything we know in terms of movies and everything else is top-down, and I think this is down-up, you know?
Well, let me ask you this, since you've been making parallels to movies: In games, there are isolated instances of people going, "But, hey, lots of people make that game. It isn't just one person!" But, like, nobody really does that for movies. We gladly blame Michael Bay for TMNT, even though he was only the producer. Why do you think that happens?
Well, I think we do get that, but the problem is that we don’t have as many "big names" in video games to blame it on. When I think of a “big name” I think of Kojima. So if MGSV sucks, it would be his fault, according to the Internet. Guaranteed. But with movies, they sell most of them according to the “big name.” So if you see, “A film by” then when it sucks, the Internet will make sure to address it to whoever put their name there, you know? There’s pros and cons to that mystery!
What do you think the games media could be doing to improve the industry?
Well, all it would take is someone with the production. That's another thing, too.
So, I'll read something with, say, Terminator Genisys, and I'll read something that was written months ago, but they have an embargo. But the whole point was that they sat in and watched it become something, they watched the scene, and now they can better inform us about how it became what we’re going to see next week. But you get the origin story behind that.
I don't really read those kinds of things unless it's, like, a classic. And then we go back as a retrospective where it's just like, "You know, in the beginning, it was this, this, and this." But we don't get that.
When Call of Duty comes out, I don't really hear about, you know, someone sitting there and watching all these people and talking about how they worked long hours and what that looked like, and then the meeting about -- I don't really get that. I only -- when I read Call of Duty, I read about the new feature. About the thing they want to sell.
Why do you think that is?
Because I think that's how they grant media access, and media wants that access, so they're gonna say, "Well, we're gonna do this. They're gonna write it." Maybe media would like more access, but I think that -- I don't think game companies want to show what it really takes to make a game. I don't think they want to show people working 60-, 70-, 80-hour work weeks. I don't really -- because I think someone's gonna be like, "Really? That's what it takes?"
So, when you have an app company that's doing something and you're coding and you're doing thousands of lines of code, it's hard to equate that to time because people don't code. Like, most of the people reading it don't have experience in that. Whereas when you play a videogame, you're watching it in front of you, and I think you feel like you're better educated about what it would take to do this. And if you hear 80 hours you're like, "Really? Eighty hours, one person to do one punch? That's crazy."
But when do you an app, it's a little different. It's like, "Okay, because it has to translate, and it has to talk to this and talk to that." So I think it's also about showing the complexity behind a videogame. Behind the layers of how it becomes lines of codes and turns into images and pre-production to production and blah blah blah, cinematics and things like that -- that's another thing.
Like, when I see a cinematic, that makes more sense to me in terms of an origin because I can see how that has a narrative, has a beginning, middle, and end, they have trailers and things like that, and then you have the graphics behind it, but that's because we know about movies. But when I see a menu screen, I don't know what that took. I don't know long it took to make a menu screen. So it's that minuscule detail that they have to expand on and go, "You see that little pixel there? Odds are it took 10 hours to make sure that that pixel was right and this right."
Do you feel if people had a better understanding of some of the work that went into this stuff, there would be less anger or entitlement around videogames?
Well, it's gonna help that you said "some," because --
I did say "some," yes.
Because even with movies, it's very transparent, and you still have people who blame the director, even though the director is one part of a bigger thing. And I know a lot of screenwriters go, "You know, even though it was a great script, it could easily turn into a bad movie. And vice versa."
So if you inform people about it, I feel people can own it.
But this is why I like your website and what you've been doing: There's a lot of people that don't talk.
So, like, for example, Max Landis is a screenwriter that -- he ended up becoming his own person because he just started speaking. But I don't hear a lot of other screenwriters talking for themselves. They just do the work. They go to a party. People know them in the industry, but I don't know who they are. I don't know their personality, I just know their name. You know? And if I know a good movie and I see that name, that means he's a good person. Whereas Max Landis, he's funny to me and he's interesting. But if he has a bad movie, I'm not gonna hate him because he's still funny and interesting and does other things that I like.
So, when you have a whole slew of people that do stuff that don't talk and don't give interviews and are simply "known" by insiders and they give interviews years later anonymously, there's no ownership there. So there's no -- you only point fingers at Nintendo, at Sony, at a producer that you may know or at the system in general, or you start picking at the things that have nothing to do with it like women and other things. You know?
And also, it's hard because you have to put an arrow on your back. And that's what he talks about, Max Landis, when he's like, "I kinda regret it because I have to own my movies and people can hold me responsible for it, even though there's other things that go into it."
So, if you don't have it top-down that the president and the producers and the people that are doing the codes and everything else -- they're not talking, and it's there's just one person, then he's gonna get the brunt of it. So there has to be a whole vertical expose of what it took and all these people and this is what they feel like and this is what they like and don't like about the industry.
So that's another thing that media don't go into because people don't want to talk.
Well, what are things you wonder about with videogames and the industry?
I want to see someone in the meeting room going, "This is what we want to do. How do we go about it?" And then I want to see what comes out of that idea. Like, what's the first thing people start thinking about when they hear the idea?
"All right, we want to have a shooter." What's the first thing? Do you wanna have it on rails? I wanna hear the lingo, I want to hear the terminology behind it because then I can Google that and I can start to have a feel for what it takes to make a videogame. And I think another thing, too, is that they dumb it down for us. I'm like, "No. Keep it at the lingo. Keep it at the insider knowledge of something." Because then I can own that and go, "Oh, now I know those words." That's what I talk about with the costume, people like to feel like they're included.
So, I wanna see that meeting. And then from there I wanna see someone coding and I want to see what it looks like afterwards. So I wanna see lines of code, I wanna see what it looks like on a computer, and then how that's translated into the menu screen that I take for granted.
And then from there, I wanna see the revisions and why you revise things and why it becomes what we see.
So, I want to see the origin story behind a game, but I don't want to see it in the sense of dumbing it down for me. I want to see, like, "This is what it takes, and we'll explain it, and this great idea that was there, we chopped it down because of X, Y, and Z. This is why. And I want you to live with it."
So if a videogame came out, I want the behind-the-scenes DVD with it.
Yeah, I was gonna say, and there are some documentaries about the making of, but they suffer from what I call "black leather couch."
Yeah, yeah! [Laughs.]
Yeah, yeah, with the frame behind them of a game they worked on or something. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, and they're sitting there talking about how it's so hard to make a game but it's so rewarding.
"This was a real challenge, but we did a good job."
So what do you think is the message when that's presented as a peek behind the curtain? Like, what do they think that they think we're learning from that?
I guess -- let's see.
Thanks for laughing, by the way. I guess you've seen the same things I have.
I definitely have.
But before I get into it, but there was a thing about Crash Bandicoot, did you put it out? They put it out and it was like, this, old, very old series. It was 12 parts or something, and it was talking about day one of Crash Bandicoot all the way to shipping and then even afterwards.
It was talking about polygons and how much space they had in the PlayStation. All these things that -- honestly, I wanted to play the game again. Because they were talking about it on a technical level. Not so much that we couldn't understand it because they did kind of explain it, but they explained the relevance of why it was important. So they talked about the polygons and how they made something into something else and how they kind of cheated, but they talked about it because it meant something to know about those limitations of the PlayStation and what it looked like in that time period in the '90s and E3 and people weren't really doing that and blah blah blah.
So it had the context behind it and that helped you in trying to figure out what they were talking about. But it didn't dumb it down. It was creators just talking about it, talking about how much they kind of hated each other and the arguments they would have about things, the quick drawings. All that stuff. And it was a great, great piece. I'm gonna find it and send it to you.
If I can get that about Rock Band, about Tomb Raider, then I promise you I will keep buying their games.
It's sad that [Nintendo President Satoru] Iwata died yesterday, and I remember a conversation I had with some colleagues last year about what's going to happen when people at these game companies start dying. What sort of knowledge about these things will we never be able to gain because it goes with them? Like, are there really documents about other things the way there was with Crash Bandicoot that you mentioned?
I know that a lot of this has been steeped in Japanese business culture, but, like, it's not only company secrets that's under wraps. It's just, like, context and understanding for what is the work that went into this stuff?
Yeah. But it's true. That's what you think about: What's the work? Why?
And what's the new thing you invented? It wasn't so much about Crash Bandicoot and why they made the game because it's like, "Oh, you have an idea. Let's try to do it." But, it's like, they invented things and they created a new programming language for this. And that shows me that it's not so much about trying to make a buck. They really wanted to make this right. They really wanted to try to do this the way they envisioned, and I feel like if you had that, and you could talk about that more, then sky's the limit in terms of people owning it and feeling like there is some work, there's some quantifiable amount of hours that I can attribute to my own life and say, "Okay, 80 hours there, but they're just making videogames. That's not that much, you know, I work 50 hours and that must be crazier because I'm doing this and this." It's like, "No. This is what 80 hours looks like, and this is why it's so hard because of these miniscule little details that have to work with each other."
And as long as you try to communicate that better, then you can get into that. But I totally agree, like, I read about when he died, but it wasn't -- I knew why I felt a certain way, and it was because of Nintendo. I don't remember the last time I read anything about him or the things he's done for the industry and things like that, and it's not because I don't look around for it. It's just that it's not there. I just don't see it.
Now we're gonna see it. Now people are gonna talk about it. But before, we didn't get anything. So maybe it's that kind of -- we don't talk about it while it's happening because we don't want to talk about trade secrets and things like that. I honestly don't know.
Well, when they do present that "behind the scenes" look on those black leather couches, what is it seem that they think of their audience and the things that we might learn from them?
So, when I see one of these "behind the scenes" things, it's always that same thing of black couch and the frame and the sports-guy speak of giving 110 percent, blah blah blah. It doesn't really mean anything. So then you're gonna have, like, a quick montage of people at computers with headphones on typing away. But I don't know what they're doing.
And then you're gonna talk about -- like you're gonna show some, like, where it turns from a drawing into the actual person and you get that kind of narrative. But that doesn't mean anything else to me. But I guess I see why you would have that so that you can empathize with what they're doing so that it resonates to the average Joe. But I always see that as not, like, "I'm gonna inform you." It’s more, "I'm gonna sell something."
It’s always a marketing gimmick.
Because you'll notice that it's usually before, not after. And if it is after, it's a long time after, so much so that you can't even buy that game through retail. You know? So I don't ever see it around the time that it comes out unless they're trying to sell something, and I think that's the pattern that I've always seen.
So I read some huge thing on Polygon about Call of Duty, and I loved them talking about -- I forgot what it was exactly. I think it was talking about Kevin Spacey and everything he's been doing for the game and things like that. But it was selling it. Like, the whole time, I'm reading it and I'm just like, "This is because they want me to buy this game. It wasn't because they just wanted to talk about what it takes to make a game."
So it's in that context, it's in that bubble, and I think they're afraid to talk about it outside of that unless it's a long time from when the game came out. They're looking at us as consumers. They're looking at us who just need to buy this game. But if there's a psychology behind it, it's empathy. It's saying, "You want to buy this game, but this game is a disc. Let's put some people behind it, let's put some things behind it. But not so much so that you start asking questions about ethics in journalism. [Laughs.] Just, let's do a little glance and then, here, pay for it."
If anything, those behind the scenes things are trailers. You can do it that way, too. They're never a documentary. At least in my opinion, they're not a documentary. They're a trailer, but it's not with a cinematic. It's with people.
Do you subscribe to the school of thought that games were better when you were younger?
I don't know, because obviously you have limitations in technology and I feel like if we had that at our disposal, it would have been my youth that my brother's going through now. I think because we weren't able to make the games that people wanted to make or when they made it, it was very limited. Like, when Terminator -- James Cameron talked about he wanted to do the liquid Terminator from the get-go, but he couldn't, so that changed the story and now it was the greatest two movies ever. But if he had the technology, Terminator 1 could have been shit because he would have made that Terminator and it wouldn't have worked.
So you have to apply that because we have that limitation with technology.
Now, a good question, I guess -- and not to say you should ask this, but a good question from me is looking at when we started making high-quality videogames, in terms of the PS2, PS3, and so on, what's the quality of those games and was it better when they first came out versus now? So, did we have more experimentation? Do we have more risks versus now that the technology's been there and they've identified what the people want to pay for and that's all we're making now.
Because you could say the same thing about movies. You always have good movies, but the trend now is superhero movies. So, the technology is there and that's why we can make these stories about superheroes that are not like people, but you can still have a great superhero movie like Superman 1 and not have the CG. So it's kinda hard to say, "Yeah, when it was just retro graphics for the ring in Sega and Sonic, that's when it was better versus now because it's 3D and open world and all that stuff." Not really.
It's the story you tell, it's the risk you take, and it's the experience. And I think the experience would be the same whether it was before or now. Because I love Rock Band. But would Rock Band have come out years ago? Probably not. They would have tried to, but they didn't have the technology.
What do you think is different about the risks games used to take then versus the risks seem to take now?
Well, I think you have more opportunity to make a certain type of videogame, whereas first-person shooters and things like that. Before, you couldn't have that kind of interaction, so you had scrolling games and had to go to A to B, and now you have the technology to go to A, B, C, D, and E, and that'll change, like,the Goosebumps books books, things like that, when you change your ending and you pick what you want to do. You still have games on rails, but I think before -- I just think it was limited. It forced people to think in a certain way, and I think it ended up being a great story and a great experience because it was just basic, you know? It was the art, but it was also the story.
It was like, "Okay, if all we have are these five things, right?" And I can't equate it to kilobytes and things like that, because I don't know too much about. "But let's say we got five pieces of paper. We gotta put this whole game on five pieces of paper, the whole story. And we wanna put all these details in it, but it's like, 'Nope! You only have five pieces of paper!' So one of them has to be the graphics. One of them has to be the things that make things work. So, three of them have to be the story."
So now I'm forced to minimize everything so that it's a great story, but it fits within this limited amount of space. Whereas now, you can go anywhere you want, and if it doesn't work you can just patch an update. We didn't have that before. No one was gonna recall a game. So now you have that kind of breathing room.
It just -- it creates this all this kind of space where it's just like, "That's not finished? We'll patch that up. Just give me something that works." "You want to include this? We wanna include that." Let's make this work.
And it's just, like, everyone now has a hand in the kitchen, whereas before it's just like, "There is no space. You can't even look at this kitchen right now. We can just do these things. How do we make as great a game as possible with these few things?"
[Laughs.] Let's just make a house of kitchens.
Yeah, yeah! And it's just, like, yeah, now everyone has an opinion. And now you know that you can make this work.
Where, with movies, it wasn't always like that. But with Man of Steel, I know there was one producer or something that wanted that scene in, and otherwise he wasn't gonna put his money in it. And they put that scene in.
Years ago, fanboy favorite writer Kevin Smith had been brought on to write a Superman movie. In the video below, he recounts his insane "True Hollywood Story" about the time he spent on this project, including the incessant meddling of Producer Jon Peters.
The tl;dr version is that Jon Peters, owing to a little too much time spent watching the nature channel, was insistent that Kal should have polar bears guarding the Fortress of Solitude because they were the "fiercest killers in the animal kingdom." It took 15 years, but Peters finally got his wish. Was that good for the story? Probably not. Did it look cool? Maybe. But did it serve the narrative and the story you wanted to tell about, you know, Clark Kent and his point of view on the world? Probably not.
And that's the thing.
Whereas if you did this back in the day, would you have had that problem that someone wanted to just put this really cool scene in? Not because there was no money.You just can't do it, the technology isn't there.
So, I think it's -- now everyone has a soapbox, and I think that's another thing about the Internet, that now everyone has the same playing field. And I think that is true with game companies and I feel like now everyone has a say in it and, yeah, it's gonna be data-driven, but it's data-driven in terms of what people like about their games and they're gonna try to make the best-selling game possible. But it's not because it's a good story, it's because all these things that people like to play, they're gonna try to put that all together. You know?
Like, do I really need to drive around in the Batmobile in the Batman game? Probably not.
Because look at what they had to do. They had to make it so that the bad guy had drones because what are you doing in a car instead of just driving? You gotta shoot. But Batman doesn't kill. So I don't think that was story-driven, I think that was ‘you want to drive.’ I think that people like these games like Grand Theft Auto and want to add that extra layer. "But Batman doesn't kill." "Oh, well, he's fighting drones." "Okay, that works." And now it's this whole complicated thing where all people wanna do is beat up guys and kinda be Batman.
Seriously. People were geeking out about the whole Batmobile thing and I'm like, "But why? He's just driving from A to B." "Oh, but you shoot!" And then they were doing it like now it's a puzzle game where you have to pull the winch to pull the elevator and I'm like, "Really? This is so tedious. Really? I don't want to do this." You know?
Do you think anything is harmed by that approach of building these houses of kitchens that people want to use?
Well, yeah, because basically if someone has an idea and say, "Okay, we want to make the best Batman game or whatever, the best Mario game." And what is it that people like about Mario? What is the core, fundamental principles about Mario and what a game of Mario is?
And then you're gonna look at it and go, "Okay, so, we're gonna do this. Now what technology can we throw at it?"
"But why are you gonna use technology?"
"Well, because I want to put him in space or whatever."
"Okay. But is it still gonna be a Mario game?"
"Yeah, because X, Y, and Z."
"Perfect, okay. So this is the technology aspect of things."
And you keep going from there, but when you start looking at Mario, I think you're just looking -- "Well, this is the benchmark. This is how much money we wanna make. This is what we have to make to clear even or to make a profit because it's Mario and we're gonna do this, this, and this."
Or, you're gonna save money because it's Mario and it's an established property, but we still wanna clear a hundred-million or whatever. So when you start thinking about the money aspect of things and knowing that you have this whole slew of technology that you can throw at it, you start doing it for the wow factor and the bullet-point in the back of the game factor instead of the story thing, because, think of it this way: Everyone's worried about spoilers, right? We've always been like that because we want to experience the game. And it's even harder now to keep a secret because of the Internet.
So, if you can't sell a story because word of mouth isn't the primary way of selling a game, then it's more about the cool things you can do with it.
So, it's not just a Batman game because there's already been five, six Batman games. But what's the cool thing that you want to re-buy this Batman game for? "Yeah, we killed Joker, but what's the thing that, you know?" If you just say, "Well, it's gonna be a great Batman game, trust me, the story's gonna be great, but it's kinda the same as the last one," no one's gonna buy it.
And I think that's another thing that's our fault, as well, because you can just spoil the story. Well, you can't spoil the experience of, I guess, playing with the Batmobile or doing this faster. It's our fault in terms of consuming it that way. It's the Internet's fault for spoiling the story so easily and us being such a curious, like, people, I guess, that want to know before we're ready for it.
And then they do it.
I think that's why people love Nintendo, because they don't fall into that so much. I think that's what I've observed, that they just make the best game but they stay within the aspect of what makes a Mario game great or Metroid or whatever. Whereas, when you talk about Sony and everyone else, they're not doing it. They're doing it for the bullet points on the back of the thing. Or, you're like, "Oh, are you gonna play this game, bro? I can't wait because I'm gonna be able to fly and blah blah blah!" But it's like, really?
It all comes down to the same things when you're talking about Call of Duty and Batman or anything else, but they gotta put those layers of flash on top of it or gloss so that it can sell. So I think that instead of the story selling it, it's the same thing with movies. Instead of it just being the story of everything happening and that's why it's a great movie and you just gotta watch it to know, now it's Thor selling it. Now's Avengers selling it. Now it's the Marvel logo -- forget who's a superhero -- selling it. You know, the expanded universe and all the crap.
Look at the Telltale games.
Yeah, exactly! Now it's just, "Well, you like Game of Thrones? So you're gonna play Game of Thrones." You know? But do I really want to play Game of Thrones? It's hard enough watching Game of Thrones. You know? Do I really want to play it? So then it's like, "Oh yeah! Of course you wanna play it because you can do this and this and this." "Oh, I guess."
And I think that's why you drop off because why I am playing these games? Why did I live it and it's the nostalgia behind it, that's why I put my feet back into the water and I'm kinda diving back in again. But if a great Mario game came out, like Mario Kart -- I was thinking about it, too. I was like, "I should get a Wii U, because I wanna play Mario Kart. I haven't played it in a long time." But it's not because I know anything about the features and the mission. It's not. It's just because it's Mario and I want to experience that again. And I'll figure out what's new as I go along, but that's not why I want to go in.
And I think there are a lot of people that need to be sold because otherwise they're like, "What's the difference?" Same where there's a whole slew of general audience members that want to go to a Marvel movie because they know that their other favorite characters are gonna pop in. You know?
It's weird. So, I know a lot of people you could easily be doing this interview about movies in general and talk about the same thing and then connect it to games. So it's weird, in terms of media consumption and entertainment in general, how it's going from a story-driven medium to a money-driven and profit-driven medium.
And I know that's really like a copout, but I truly feel, like, it's about money. Moreso than ever.
Why is that a copout? What is?
Just saying, "Oh, it's about the profit and the money and the big guy."
Well, of course it is. It's a business.
But it's always been a business. But why is it that before you had these great stories? So you have to connect that to the technology, but it's, like, you still coulda made a crappy game with the technology. There's been a bunch of crappy games. But why did those great games stand out and why are we just aping the same thing over and over again? Why isn't there a new Batman? Why is it just Batman now? Why couldn't that be someone else?
Like, Joss Whedon was talking about the new movie he was talking about. He said, "This is a Victorian Age Batman, but female." Why Batman? You know? Because that's the context, but that, immediately is like, "Oh, but I like Batman! Ooh, I'll probably wait for this movie to come out."
So now it's that context and that relationship you have to do from the get-go. He hasn't even done the movie! But he's already trying to relate that to something we know. And I think that's -- You know?
So, No Man's Sky looks great and I have no idea what that even takes to make infinite worlds and all that stuff, but I'm gonna play it because it's the unknown aspect of things. And I think that's the exception rather than the rule.
What do you think videogames have accomplished?
Wow, way to end it with the biggest question.
The one word that stands out is "memories." I think about movies and how many of my ideas about romance start with my memories of these movies I liked and how so and so approached that girl. With games, I think about how I drove in Gran Turismo and how that still works for Drive Club. Or how this triple orange section on drums in Rock Band reminds me of this other section in a song. My point is that it creates these bookmarks in your mind, things you suddenly always go back to. Some may be useful, but others are purely emotional. I remember how good it was to max out my arrow in Tomb Raider, or how much fun it was to get the sasquatch in NBA Street. Then I think about playing with my brothers, and how much fun that was. I think back to happy moments, and I think I’m better off for it. videogame makers should focus on making it fun for the player, regardless of technology. I’ll always go back to something that made me happy, and if videogames can make one person happy on a rainy day, then they should feel validated.