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Numbers. Man, there must be millions of ‘em. Seems like every other game on the shelf has a number in it. Boy, I bet you could count to a hundred using just videogame titles and related items. Let’s see if I’m right.
We’ve all had our fun spotting recurring elements in games. So many kidnapped princesses! So many spiky-haired antiheroes! But why the constant repetitions? Are developers that lazy? Or could games, in their transition from high-score one-upmanship to narrative medium, have tapped into the basics of mythic tropes?
One in five Americans are born with some sort of personality disorder – something that makes them zag when everyone else zigs. It might be as subtle as a nervous tic, as confusing as Asperger's or as overt as psychopathy. But mentally unstable individuals are part of the real world – and part of the world of videogames as well. Sometimes their damage leads them to be horrible, monstrous villains, and other times it can make them loyal friends, or complex protagonists. No matter what it does to them, though, it's usually hard not to be sympathetic to their problems, and to, in a way, fall in love with them... even if they're murdering sociopaths...
You’re probably kicking yourself for not thinking of it first. Instead of relying on one critic’s point of view, mash them all together into one easily-understood uberscore. Rubbish games will be punished, quality will win out, and the occasional dodgy verdict will be smoothed over by the masses. That’s the theory.
You know that red line that pops up in Word, Firefox or any other program with a spell check? It's helpful, don't get us wrong, but they really should spend some time working on spell check's virtual intuition. When we typed "Firefox," just now while writing this article, the red line asked if we meant "firebox." Um no, we didn't. And that's what happens countless times every second across the world when people type in video game names -
Pac-Man and Mario owned the 1980s. Sonic, Lara and Snake took over for the 1990s. Their games are considered classics. Their names are timeless and iconic. Their images are burned into the memory of every gamer, even those who were born after the characters themselves.
Now we have another ten years worth of heroes, villains, sidekicks and love interests to occupy our imagination. Which, however, will remain there?
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