To: The Game Industry
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: The Medium is the Message
Date: Apr 2003

Or to paraphrase it – the medium is the gameplay. Let me state my preferences up front – I prefer the games that are made for the PC. Notice, I didn’t say that I preferred the PC. I must admit that lounging in the living-room with company on the sofa is more comfortable that sitting at my office computer playing a game. But there is no comparison in the game play. First off, I don’t have ten buttons between me and the story. Game rewards are for thinking things through, picking up clues, being aware of the surroundings, not madly mashing on buttons.

However - I am a realist and notice that many games, that can be classified as games for girls, are being produced on consoles. I almost dread what I will find at E3. TV Buffy is an interesting character. Game Buffy drowns in too many tiresome moves. The producers of Max, the Dark Angel boast the there are over 50 different moves – bam, out goes the story. I shudder to think what would happen to Nancy Drew if ported to a console. Instead of wandering through the scenes picking up clues she will be able to do a reverse flying kick to ward off an opponent, shoot through a locked door, slink past a lighted window, jump across a pit, even push a stone to find a map. None of these actions are necessary. Pleeze, don’t use all the buttons you have - only the ones you need to advance the story.

The move to consoles is also why there is now Leapfrog and et al. You cannot make a learning game – which does require thinking – on a console. Edutainment games use a different play space and time. The console designers are not sensitive to the different cadence that the PC-type games offers. Too bad, maybe they should tie one hand behind their backs.