Why games will replace TV

The idiot box has had its time. These games do its job better

Lost

The TV experience

A bunch of disparate characters is thrown together at random by a catastrophe of unknown origin and forced to make sense of an unknown, alien environment, while under the manipulation of an unknown other with an unknown agenda. Every vague answer they discover comes with three or four new, much bigger questions and the whole thing is dragged out at a nigh comatose pace over countless episodes in order to maximise intrigue and keep the audience frantic for new information, to the point of potentially losing several viewers a week to cardiac arrest.

In reality, the audience is split between those who adore it and those turned off by what they see as a cynical prick-tease with no rewarding payoff.

The better, video game alternative

The Half-Life series, in which a bunch of disparate characters is thrown together at random by a catastrophe of unknown origin and forced to make sense of an unknown, alien environment, while under the manipulation of an unknown other with an unknown agenda. Every vague answer they discover comes with three or four new, much bigger questions and the whole thing is dragged out at a nigh comatose pace via the use of snack-size, frequently delayed episodic content intended to increase the frequency of updates, but which actually slows the pace of instalments to the point that at least one full-sized game could have been released during the same period.

In reality, the audience is split between those who adore its immaculately-designed gameplay, stunningly-realised world, perfect pacing and scary level of character attachment, and those turned off by what they see as a cynical prick-tease with no rewarding payoff and not enough shaven-headed space marines making things go boom. The latter group is wrong.

Also, Lost does not have gravity guns.

America%26rsquo;s Funniest Home Videos, You%26rsquo;ve Been Framed

The TV experience

Above: Nurse! Our sides!

Viewers submit their humorous home videos with the hope of winning some money for the perceived comedy value of their clips. We watch these clips, which invariably consist of people falling over. And other people falling over. And other people falling over. The comedy of other people getting hurt wears thin after the fourth predictable icy driveway-based laugh riot in a row and we all switch over wondering why we even bothered in the first place. The entire concept has been made obsolete by Youtube, but no-one seems to have noticed.

The better, video game alternative

With the fully searchable internet providing fast access to much more amusing schadenfreude nourishment for all, and the content of these TV shows so generally lame, tame and predictable anyway, the PSN’s Pain provides a much more worthwhile replacement in the old comedy injury department.

Above: Nurse! Our everything!

With wince generation en masse via the eternal wonder that is ragdoll animation and a whole city centre of chain reaction mutilation to link together, it’s Burnout’s Crash mode with a soft, fleshy embodiment of human suffering instead of a car. It’s brutal, it’s ludicrous, it’s never the same twice, and because you’re customising the damage yourself, it’s very very satisfying. And hilarious. With no real people involved, the injuries can be far in excess of anything TV would run, and the whole thing is totally free of idiot pseudo-parents making a quick buck out of exploiting their kids’ pain.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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