Video Game criticism should be better. An interesting if currently futile piece criticising video-game criticism as being about games as purely functional economic objects. It is true that much commercial criticism does seem obsessed with the newness and the playability of a games features, however I think it is unfair to say this argument is not being had at all. The most obvious example is Nintendo ideals versus the rest of the industry.

If you look at the questing varitey of games, your Mario’s and Zelda’s, there is a strong theme of overthrowing evil empires and rescuing colourful lands under the jackboot of, well whatever cartoon villain is chosen. The older the age group aimed at, the more transgressive games seem to get however. First person shooters after all are all about shooting and killing, be it a military opposition or zombies (undead are evil obv). Tomb Raider, even before she got ludicrously trigger happy, Lara Croft was basically plundering tombs, a digitised thief. And plenty has been written about your role as ganster in Grand Theft Auto and The Getaway.

But what about games which try and moralise whilst giving you these thrills. Driver placed you as an undercover cop, hence allowing you to kill, maim but feel it was in a good cause (whether this is the case is highly questionable). Comand And Conquer, the origianl edition, was even mor einteresting – predicting an Al Quaida like international terrorist army. And allowing you to play both sides.

The kind of cultural criticism that should be leveled at games is unclear, how much about structure, ploit and ideology can be discussed without completing the game. But there is a charge to be leveled at computer magazines, a compelling plot and scenario should be becoming more important than sheer game mechanics.