I firmly believe that videogames and boardgames are two different techniques within the same artistic medium. However, many do not agree and see them as being essentially different but with some overlap.
I’ve created a test to explore that overlap. In it, I showcase 30 games to be ranked in a scale from boardgame to videogame. No wrong answers, just questions to challenge our views of games. How different are they? What separates a boardgame from a videogame?
I’m no stranger to mean-spirited games. The Republic of Rome sits proud on my shelf, bringing back memories of triumvirates and last-moment bribery. I love Dune and Cosmic Encounter but would not miss the chance to play a robber baron in 1830. And I’ve enjoyed my single play of Diplomacy, which should automatically label me as terrible people.
And yet, when I sat down to play to play Power Grid today, I did not expect it to turn so ugly.
With the release of Sekiro we have been having the same old conversation about difficult games. Difficulty in games is a form of gatekeeping, they say. An unnecessary quirk of game design which ought to be abandoned. Difficult games are disrespectful, even, and good developers would add an easy mode.
And I disagree. I don’t believe some games being difficult is disrespectful, elitist or wrong but simply necessary.
It’s often said that critics enjoy writing negative reviews. At least, it’s a common stereotype of critics in media, which are often depicted as tearing up the protagonist’s work and enjoying every minute of it.
Of course, that’s a clear exaggeration. But still many people believe that critics have a particular liking for giving bad reviews or dishing out a rhetorical beating, perhaps because they are incapable of creating themselves or because they feel superior to the creators whose work they are reviewing. And I think that’s a belief worth discussing.
I never have. By the time that shameful picture of Geoff Keighley surrounded by Doritos advertisments and reading lines for a commercial spread like wildfire two years ago, I was so desensitized by similar events that I barely reacted to it.
I was already tired of game journalists being flown to five star resorts or being pressured to the point of firing to give games a different score. Seeing another well-known figure sell his integrity on live TV was not so much a turning point as it was additional proof that something was rotten in game journalism.