How Would You Make A Mature Themed Game?

Intelligent games with mature themes can be great. But do they work as games? dracosummoner wants to hear your proposals.

Honestly I'm getting a bit tired of hearing certain people complain that more games aren't dealing with social issues like homelessness or the Occupy movement. The next time someone brings something like that up, instead of hearing them complain about how "in order to sell five million copies of a game you have to make a Michael Bay film,"* I want to hear them explain how the mechanics of their proposed game will work (what will you do in the game, and can that concept entertain long enough to justify a retail purchase or even an indie product?) and how the game will be marketed to what kind of audience (who will even be interested in buying this, and how do you motivate them?). Even if those story ideas were simply used as background elements, such as for an individual character plot in a Bioware RPG, how would they be integrated into a larger story and into a game as a whole, and what would the player be doing in order to progress through such stories?

At the end of the day, games need to be games first, even at the risk of having superb gameplay and a really, really weird story (e.g., Dark Souls). If they want to tell deep and involving stories about complex characters and mature themes, that's just fine, but if the game mechanics can't stand on their own (in ways that are reasonable for the genre and medium — I'm not going to judge a visual novel in the same way as I would something like Gears of War), I can't help but feel that such games have failed at their primary purpose.

* The only systems for which this statement seems to be accurate are the two Xboxes, unless I missed something.

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