Gardening. DIY. Painting. Kitchen. I sing. Sculpture using open cans of tuna. Construction of used toilet paper airplanes after a competition to eat more expired eggs. What am I doing? I am suggesting you some passions. Because? Because I wish you would stop spending time on video games to dedicate yourself to something else, and that you involve all your gamer friends in following you towards new horizons of entertainment that do not include pads, keyboards, controllers, gestures, joysticks, peripherals or assorted devilry.
Bizarre incipit, by one who scribbles on TGM, who thus out of nowhere suggests readers to abandon video games. It would be like if a butcher invites customers to become vegetarians, or if a barber sells lotions to make their hair fall out. Instead I am absolutely convinced of what I write, and I do it for the noblest purpose that gamer can conceive: to save our universe. I ask for your sacrifice in exchange for a better world. Or are you happy with the current situation? Let’s take a step back. There was a happy time when we, the usual four cats, always slipped coins into coin ops. We were part of a niche market, which however did not fail to churn out a myriad of masterpieces, from Bubble Bobble to Ghosts’ n Goblins. The same goes for home computers: Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amiga and the first gaming PCs were in a small number of homes, as were the Sega and Nintendo consoles. Yet the market was thriving all the same, the John Carmacks of the situation still had their Ferrari and delighted us with the complex parts of their minds. As they say, we were few but good.
AND THE DAY CAME
But one day, in a meeting room on the eight hundredth floor of one of the most prestigious buildings in who knows what metropolis, a CEO must have said: What if we invent something for everyone to play video games? Here you are! He was the hero we needed, the Julius Caesar who could cross the Rubicon of gaming and bring our passion to anyone with an opposable thumb. Do you think about it? If a market created to satisfy a few million people had nevertheless produced wonders of a certain caliber, imagine what could have been dared if the audience had expanded to include the entire earth’s population. There was indeed a problem to be solved: how to put people who had no idea what expare, ressare, buffare, micrare, platinare mean? In the plan for everyone to play, it had to be taken into account that the vast majority of the population was unable to play. And the problem is, they didn’t make any new games for us in the end. They made new video games for them. And what better way to tickle the palate of those who have never gone beyond Prato Fiorito, moreover by clicking at random without understanding the rules, if not producing toys of disarming ease? Thus were born puzzles in which you have to look for hidden objects, line up three bananas, count how many red balls there are on the screen, and so on.
THE SO-CALLED VIDEO GAMES FOR EVERYONE ARRIVED. AND FROM THERE, MY DEAR READERS, AN UNRIVALED CATASTROPHE BEGAN
The so-called games for everyone had finally arrived. Trivial gameplay productions have always existed, mind you, but once they were used to fill the gaps left free in the various CD-ROMs of the Twilight series, after all the serious titles had been inserted. Hey, we still have two mega available, let’s also get into that deal where you have to line up three stars of the same color, so we close the release. But at some point videogame mediocrity became the new trend. I realized that my world had taken a dystopian drift when those commercials on TV began to circulate in which the whole family played amused. Wii Party, Wii Sports, Wii Anything, with enthusiastic expressions in shaking the controller with random movements, observing characters designed to please three-year-olds to perform trivial actions. I really wanted to be considered a debauched by my parents to spend the afternoons at Lucasfilm adventures, although thanks to them I learned English. My elders had to worry about the existence of video games in the house, not welcome them warmly in the living room. “Love, I went into Emanuele’s room and I surprised him at … at …” – “Don’t tell me! To play those things! ” – “No, no, that was where he masturbated watching videos of air disasters, and with the other hand he smoked crack, probably bought with money he got by snatching and pickpocketing” – “Oh my God, thank goodness, what a scare you gave me”. These are the educators I remember and regret.
But here we are all here, surrounded by seemingly brain games software for cognitive recovery after you are out of three centuries of a coma. Here, look, here are two pears, we need to find the third and make sure that it aligns with the others. Don’t worry if you can’t, it’s hard, I know, but in ten seconds a handy hint system will do the move for you. I’m absolutely not doing videogame racism, mind you. I also have friends who play Candy Crush. I would never allow myself to discriminate against them, on the contrary, leaving my smartphone on the dashboard of the car with a session at level 1345 of the King’s masterpiece, they should be allowed to park on the place reserved for the disabled. Exaggerated, you say. It is not possible for everyone to play, but really everyone seriously. As easy as a puzzle may be, it will always be too complicated for those on Facebook who try the quiz “find out what variety of eggplant you were in the previous life” or “find your Viking name by associating each number of your credit card with a letter, and write it in the comments “.
VIDEO GAMES YOU DON’T PLAY IN
But in the famous eight hundredth floor, in that damned meeting, they had foreseen that too. And they created the Idle Game, the video games that play for you when you’re not playing. Are you unable to move the triangular shape into the triangular drop zone? No problem. Do not even try. We do it for you. Come back in half an hour and you will find the puzzle solved. Fantastic idea, right? Just what it took.
Riding the wave of accessibility in fact, I decided to open an IdlePizzeria, to which you are all invited. How does an IdlePizzeria work? It’s simple: go in, sit down and order a nice Margherita, or a ham and mushrooms, or a rubble and vomit, it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to eat it anyway, because this is where the revolutionary idea comes into play. Once you have chosen dishes and drinks, you get up and go to have dinner at your home. Then come back to me and I will tell you: “congratulations! In the 40 minutes you stopped all activities in my IdlePizzeria, you consumed three pizzas, four medium beers and a tiramisu. They make 70 euros “. Does this sound like a scam? Look further: you can eat ten IdlePanini with mortadella without gaining weight. Or drink twenty IdleSambuche and then drive calmly and blissfully, certain that you don’t have alcohol in your blood in case the police pinch you. Does it still sound like a scam? Actually, it is. So why did the world agree to try its hand at those idle shit in mobile phones? Because everyone has to play. Even those who can’t play. Even those who don’t like to play. Think that once to counter piracy they said “A game worth playing is a game worth buying”. Today we arrived at “A game that isn’t worth playing, it’s a game that is worth buying anyway, you don’t play it anyway”. Now you will quote me Elden Ring, AAA headline with a high rate of depth and spectacularity, to show me that videogames actually travel on two parallel tracks, on the one hand the masterpieces as we know them, and on the other the hyper casuals. Two worlds that can easily coexist.
Mistaken. We are experiencing the last act of our era. The FromSoftware masterpiece has sold a lot, also clearing one of the most difficult genres in the industry: Soulslike. The next step, after the overwhelming majority has abandoned it at the first slaps taken, will be to make it accessible to all. Such as? For example by modifying the boss fights, which could happen with a gameplay similar to Bejeweled, in which you have to line up three identical weapons. If you succeed, you win. Even in a future GTA, the missions will be based on a gameplay similar to Bejeweled, in which you have to line up three identical cars. If you succeed, you win. And the next soccer games could feature Bejeweled-like gameplay, where you have to line up three identical balls. If you succeed, you win.
If you’ve noticed, Diablo Immortal is coming to mobile, and too the world of Azeroth is about to land on the tiny screen. From here to converting the gameplay into something similar to Bejeweled, in which you have to line up three identical – or maybe even different – designs! – to win, it will be a moment, in the name of videogames for everyone. And we, on the other hand, have to catch the developers off guard. Hang the pads on the nail. Look, nobody plays anymore. They will think that people are tired of lining up smiling strawberries and they will come up with something new. Not today, not tomorrow, in a while. The war is almost lost, and decisive action is needed. Stop playing. Get your friends to do the same. Save video games.