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Maybe video games are better without characters? Ian Bogost explores that idea over at The Atlantic and concludes that we should all join The Borg and play Sim games forever. Well okay, there's a little more nuance than that.


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While I do agree that the almost OCD nature of identity politics has made discussing games kind of a minefield in recent years, I'm not sure I agree with Bogost's point all the way.

We should definitely put more emphasis on mechanics and structure and less on "does this game have a character in it that makes me personally feel good", but I don't know if that means games don't need characters as much as it just means we need to realign and reassess what we want out of games. If we're playing games solely for catharsis or emotional self-insertion purposes, why are we playing games in the first place? What separates them from movies or books? Why are games specifically the target of so much hemming and hawing about what a character looks like or who they love?

Does that make sense, or am I a crazy person?

Personally, I'd rather we just get more interesting characters and more interesting mechanics.