Today i want to talk about "serious games". I personally hate the word "serious", mostly because of its inflationary overuse nowadays. I worked in several companies that threw around with it like some nasty people (not me!) popcorn in theatres... Err, where was i?
I mean games, that adress a more mature player with maybe a splash of intellect and yet still manage to make a good game. My favourite example of that is the Total War Series. I played Rome and Mediveal 2 so far and i love both of them. On the one hand they are great strategy and management games. But what i really, really love about them is the mature way of dealing with the matter. The written text is so well crafted, i really read most of what i was presented through... Something i barely do in say a Mario game or for that matter actually 90% of the games out there.
The developers have no problem with giving the characters all kinds of character features, good as bad. It especially adresses a topic most game make a huge bow around or treat it in the most superficial way possible: Sexuality, even homosexuality is just another part of the game. In the sorta 200 years my campagne is lasting now i came across a gay general, a lesbian princess and a spy, who's complice seems to be a male stripper kinda guy. And it is nothing all too special.
Thats exactly what i would like to see more: Sexuality treated in a mature kinda way. No japanese schoolgirls panties, no huge titty warrior mamas, no "oh, she's an archeologist, so it's okay to look like porn actor barbie". Pure and realistic depiction is quite a nice break once in a while and i can't imagine i'm the only one that feels that way.
In a way i'm not surprised that games are still treated a little like the younger immature brother of cinema, it seems games feels pretty happy and safe in this role. Which is another reason why i buy less and less fullprice games. They just don't seem to adress me any more.
To end that rant with a positive note: It's not like the total war series is only serious. The developers built in a very nice and subtle humor that contrasts beautifully with the general over-the-top-presentations of the mainstream:
I actually laughed...