Is It really just a game?

A lot of hot takes on Far cry 5 reviews is that their digging into the game’s narrative too much and just say have fun, it just a game. But like my culture thread it a pretty poor excuse for a game with bad messaging and stereotypes. So when is a game just a game?

I mean, it always is. But the story is as much a part of it as anything else.

To spoil a future video a bit, the game critique the Boogies and Penny Arcades of the world want is the one we had some 20 odd years ago: shallow product reviews that break down a game’s qualities to looks, sound, mechanics and how much time we can squeeze out of it, and that’s the be all and end all of the “critique”. We’ve since progressed and realized that all those aspects are part of a holistic whole that we call a game.

Just imagine if a movie critic, even on YouTube, suggested that movie critics are wrong to talk about the themes or ideas of a movie, and that they should stick to discussing, say, peformances and cinematography - no one would take them seriously. But gaming has no dignity, so it gets no respect, and so the dregs of the medium remain its most outspoken and visible personalities.

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I’ve actually been grappling with this myself. My problems with it are conflicting in a major way with the things I genuinely like about it. As someone who grew up in rural/middle America, I know a bunch of these characters unexpectedly well, but I know that there’s more to them than Far Cry 5 gave them credit for. It’s also weirder then Far Cry 5 in some ways as well. But that’s another topic entirely.

To answer your question, I think games are just games when they’re more abstract mechanics than story or character because that’s when statement and point of view become inherently entwined with the game.

Example: I think Chess and Go are just games. Checkers is just a game. But ascribing motivations and story arcs to the characters (read: pieces) moves it a tad beyond.

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The moderation team feels that this thread is too similar to the previous topic that was linked in the opening post. We are looking for thread topics to be more distinct and pronounced, not simply an iteration of the same question every time a new game comes out.