Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pong Save Us!

My old favourite, Wired strikes again. This time with an interview Nolan Bushnell by Ethan Watters. Bushnell wants to create games like his original Pong that act as social facilitators and bring people together and exist in the background. He wants to move away from the sex and violence that many of the games today are based on. Part of what he says makes sense, the part about exploiting taboos such as sex and violence will likely lead the gaming industry to demise, but the rest about games being used as part of a dating service... I'm not so sure. The point that the article makes well though is that originally there were not many people who were intimidated by games, or the technology that drove them. Afterall, the Pong cabinets that I remember (vaguely) were essentially table where there was likely more time spent eating and talking than playing. Today, some games are so over the top that it does seem to take a special kind of person to even try. I don't think that Bushnell will succeed in changing the minds of those who create increasingly violent games, but what he might end up doing is succeeding in his quest to make games that fade into the background - Poker today, like Pong and Tetris (likely both responsible for their share of marital strife) in the past seems to have hit that sweet spot of social interaction and invisible gaming. Technorati Tags: ,