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Matt Barton's picture

Games and Metaphors: Deep Thoughts by Eric-Jon Rossel Waugh

Every now and then I find a true gem on the net--more than just some tidbit about a new piece of hardware or some developer ranting about the lack of innovation in modern gaming. When I find something like Culture: Games and Metaphor, I like to slow down and really see what the author is trying to get across. Waugh's point in this essay is to get us to think about metaphors--specifically, metaphors in games and how they relate to the real world as well as the game world. He also talks about how the videogame industry has essentially been inbreeding for a few decades, rehashing and making questionable "progress" as it attempted to "revolutionize" the previous generations' hardware and games: Ever since Super Mario Bros. came out, basically all we've done is build on it. Waugh would like to see a revolution in game metaphors--rather than merely point back to earlier games, it's time to start thinking sensisbly about a new kind of metaphor, one that functions like great metaphors in books and films. Waugh uses a number of great examples to illustrate his points, including several from classics like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.

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