Unpopular gaming opinions

I discussed videogame violence here. The view I expressed (that it’s a good, kind of necessary thing) is currently the overwhelmingly popular view across ‘gaming culture’. Even if my argument for it is kind of idiosyncratic.

Here, let’s look at some of my less popular opinions.

1. Games are too long

They’d be better, shorter.

This applies mainly to single-player action games. AAA FPS and character-action, and retro 2D platformers. (Puzzle games get to be ‘longer’, because they’re supposed to stump you for a while, a few times.)

Most games aren’t particularly revolutionary or unique. They will bring a few new ideas to the table, or put an interesting new twist on some theme or mechanic. But much of a game will be derivative. About 2 hours is typically enough to exhaustively explore a few worthwhile new game concepts, to demonstrate how they interact with prior established motifs of the genre, and tell the story you need to tell.

So, I say: cut the fat! Be all killer, no filler! I’d buy and play more games.

Tomonobu Itagaki wanted to make Ninja Gaiden two hours long instead of twenty

Can you even begin to imagine the possibilities of such a design choice? (meaning a two-hour game made with the budget of a twenty-hour one). I certainly can, and no doubt Itagaki, yet half a decade later and still no one has dared explore them!


What a tantalising idea! Perhaps it’s too much to ask for. At least, it should be understood that game budgets are variable, as are game prices, and game length is a variable that need not be determined by genre convention.

2. Fan art is haram

This video pretty much explains it:

Like it or not, the financial success and growth of the videogame industry is based on copyright. And then there’s this fan art industry off to the side, happily working while ignoring or evading the implications of this.

First, let me be clear in saying that my position is not that fan artists are ‘hurting’ the copyright-owning companies. In fact, they’re helping them. They are pouring a hell of a lot of passion and dedication into… making free advertising. That’s what they’ve said in defence of their legally-nebulous practices.

They could be putting that energy into game-inspired original works. Or authorised fan art, deriving from works after actually getting permission from the owner. Let the big companies pay for their own ads.

The ubiquity of fan art puts original artists at a disadvantage. Fan art gets more attention. This distorts the incentive for the newcomer to be truly creative and invest original characters and world-building. Big shame!

If I owned a site like DeviantArt, I’d ban fan art there.

3. ‘E-sports’ is ridiculous

I mean, seriously.

Credit goes to icycalm aka Alex Kierkegaard. Shame it’s probably hard to get a hard copy of Videogame Culture Volume I right now. That’s where this charade is exposed once and for all. The relevant essay, On Why Scoring Sucks And Those Who Defend It Are Aspies, isn’t on the site like most of the others.

4. It’s not good for games to be ‘addictive’

They should be interesting, and worth playing to the end–and there should always be an end–at which point you stop playing, and move on to something else.

The addiction issue needs an entire article. This might include my thoughts on gambling too. It’s complicated.


I decided on a weekly schedule, and didn’t realise how overdue this post was. Curses!

Upcoming content:

  • Design considerations for videogames for children
  • On the videogame website of the future
  • Iconic gaming icons
  • A gaming lexicon


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