Enough with the war video games, says Marin Hollis, former chief creator of the great first-person shooter GoldenEye and now one of the ambitious handful of people at the Digital Romance Lab.
The Lab is a group of game creators, academics and other thinkers and tinkerers who believe that it's time for video games about love.
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Hollis made a pitch for the romance video game. He did it with a short presentation, much of which is quoted below, sans slideshow.
First, he reminded us that creation of games about violence, victory and conquest didn't start with any video game... they go back the Royal Game of Ur and Go, several thousand years ago.
Here is an excerpt of his pitch—his plea—for games about... love, delivered today at GDC:
"So [there have been] 5000 years of games about war. Zero-sum games in which one player loses and one wins. I sense a change is in the air. A fresh breeze. A sea change.
"There are many books, films, plays, etcetera, which are romantic. That is to say: concerned with love and loving relationships.
"The genre essentially does not exist in video games.
"I believe the answer is fashion. Everybody is swimming to make competitive, combative games. This leads to a vast blue ocean of opportunities for anyone who can deliver a romantic game.
"My goal with my experimental game is to produce the joy of being a matchmaker. My mechanic is very simple. Put two people together. Will they like each other? Whether this happens or not will depend on their personalities. It is basically a match-two game.
"So, will this little game change the world? I doubt it. But I think there is a sea change, and I think change is coming. When? In 5000 years, it will be GDC 7001, the latest games [will be] Call of Duty: Wrestle of Cowardice 6996 and Final Fantasy MMMMMX-Something<.em>. Is that all?
"Games have been about war for thousands of years. Why not change that?
"Really, my message is an old message for a new industry: Make love games, not war games.
"And, maybe, in 5000 years, half of the games will be about war. And half about love."
Good luck, Martin Hollis. Everyone else, keep your eyes on the Digital Romance Lab.