Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Games Explained

Video games are under attack again. People are worried that 25 to Life encourages kids to kill cops, and Getting Up encourages vandalism. Sure, that is what video games do: they instruct people to literally imitate whatever is in the game. Frogger makes kids play in traffic, Super Mario Brothers tells them to experiment with magic mushrooms, and Pokemon teaches them to capture a bunch of small animals and force them to fight each other.

More traditional games have the same problems. Chess encourages people to attack kings and queens. Bridge teaches people that spades are more valuable than diamonds -- obviously a crazy, warped system of values. Mouse Trap urges people to rely on unnecessarily complex and unreliable devices.

Games work this way because all art works this way. People who sit around "interpreting" art are just wasting their time, because there is only one interpretation. Art is nothing more than a literal instruction manual for how children should live their lives by precisely imitating everything depicted. Shakespeare's plays teach kids to get into swordfights, kill their lovers, disrespect their parents, commit suicide, invade France, and take misleading advice from witches. And when kids walk into an art museum and see an oil painting of the crucifixion, that is just encouraging them to go around nailing people to crosses. If they happen to see a Jackson Pollock painting, that teaches them to spill things.

The only reasonable video games would be about what kids should do in real life. "Timmy, did you finish the game yet?" "Well, I got through the cleaning your room level, the doing your homework level, and the lawn mowing level, but now I'm stuck on the eating broccoli level. I need to get the hint book."

The following titles will be coming soon for Playstation and Xbox:
  • Good Night's Sleep
  • Refraining From Jaywalking: Legend of the Cautious Pedestrian
  • Picking Up Litter Tactics
  • Wash Grandma's Car
  • Sit Still and Study

3 comments:

Squidley said...

What about other exciting upcoming titles, like

Ultimate Xtreme Book Report II: Read, Write, and Present!!!

and,

Visit With Aunt Mildred, Part 3: The Saga Continues

not to mention,

Behaving in Public: Miss Fussbudget and The Fidgetmeister Contain Themselves

?

Tom said...

I like those.

Oh yeah, and curling is just teaching kids to "throw rocks" at a "house." Scandalous.

LeesMyth said...

Sign me up for beta testing of "Legend of the Cautious Pedestrian II"!

In a more serious vein, some argue that video games (unlike books) make us smarter:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/
content/articles/050516crbo_books

(Take out the line break to see the article.)

P.S. I tried to invade France after seeing Kenneth Brannaugh in Henry V, but they confiscated my sword at customs.