Mario Is Written For Simpletons, Assassin's Creed Is A Gore-Fest And Other Problems Crippling Video Games

Illustration for article titled emMario/em Is Written For Simpletons, emAssassins Creed/em Is A Gore-Fest And Other Problems Crippling Video Games

A lovely profile of the ever-fascinating game designer Jonathan Blow in the Atlantic magazine is bundled, online, with a sneer about the world's non-Jonathan Blow video games.


The profile's writer Taylor Clark is trying to establish what's special about Blow and his intent to make games like Braid and the forthcoming The Witness use the distinct elements of the video game form to elucidate meaning in the player. Blow's is the ambition of an artist who crafts with the seriousness of an artist who values the expression of ideas over the collection of income.


Blow doesn't love many common video games, and he mocks the "shitty action movie" blueprint on which many are built. It's the Atlantic's Clark, however, who swings the scythe between gaming's good and gaming's bad in the video accompanying the piece. And it's this video that lit up my Twitter feed yesterday with outrage from many corners:

It's possible that the assertions in this video will distract from the quality of the Atlantic's profile of Blow, much as the focus on, say, the brutal animations in Assassin's Creed might distract from anything else worth praising in that game.


But who should be outraged the most when Clark delivers the line: "The mainstream game studio version of creativity lies in finding new and exciting ways to bludgeon someone to death."?

In the abstract, he's... wrong?

The Most Dangerous Gamer [The Atlantic]

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ACR does have some brutal death animations, particularly in multiplayer. But 'gore fest'? I take it someone never played God/Gears of War or Dead Space.

When a game has dismemberment, flying chunks of flesh and more blood spewing then the human body could possibly contain, then I'll consider it a gore fest.

I get what he's saying in the video, and I'm not disagreeing with him - I think both these types of games (the deeply thought-provoking and the action-packed) are needed. I just think he could have chosen a gorier game to stand in for ACR. Ah well.