Mills & Boon have been producing romance novels for over a hundred years. Their popularity is without question and they have every right to enjoy this by entertaining, what I would guess, must be millions of people by now.
I’ve never read one.
I probably never will.
But I don’t deny that they have their place in the world. I’m happy for them to be on sale in bookshops, and if I saw someone reading one I would in no way feel that person was wasting their time.
So why is it that when it comes to video games so many of us refuse to accept that any game should be produced that we don’t all want to play?
Perhaps it is the way things used to be. We were a small community of gamers playing games produced by an even smaller subset of ourselves. In such an incestuous setup you could enjoy every game coming along, both because they had been made by someone just like you, and because with so few to pick from you had to look for the good in a game else you had nothing to play.
Fast forward to 2011 and games are a major force in the entertainment world as a whole. Multi-million dollar games sit side by side with games that would be classed as shovelware to those of us who consider ourselves ‘enthusiasts’. And we kick up a fuss when along comes a game that hasn’t been written for us. It’s for five year olds, or soccer-mums, or people who are happy if a game just consists of clicking on cows every few hours.
And yet why?
Why should we deny these games the right to call themselves games? Just because we self proclaimed experts don’t get on with them? These aren’t bad games, they are not poorly created, they have not skimped on production values. They are simply targeted at an audience other than us. It’s the natural progression. We should rejoice in these games for they show that gaming is no longer the minority entertainment format it once was. Now, like films and books before that they are evolving in involve the wider audience, the young, the old, the masculine, the feminine, the dedicated, the casual.
But give them their space, they’ve earn’t it. We’re still getting more games that are aimed at us more traditionally minded gamers than we can actually play so why not be happy that others are doing the same?
I might prefer to read my Terry Pratchett and Tolkien, but I bet if I ever did pick up a Mills & Boon I’d still find the essence of a fun story.