Return To Pointless Fun
I recently went to a game store and picked up an old copy of Blast Corps for the N64. N64 games look like crap on HDTVs but that’s an article for another day. As I sat down to replay the game for the first time in about 10 years I reflected upon the premise of the game. A missile carrying truck with the cruise control stuck in the on position is barreling toward large cities and the slightest bump will cause nuclear devastation so you must pilot an array of vehicles and destroy entire cities to make way for the deathmobile. Hell yes.
Some games are serious in nature. Some games are artistic. Some games are cash-ins and others are just shovelware. Personally I would like to see more games which are based on little more than the thought “Wouldn’t it be awesome if…”. Burnout is a game series that remembers what every kid knows about cars: crashes are awesome. They whole game is built around the premise that exploding cars in all forms are great. You can wreck your car, you can wreck other peoples cars or you can just barrel through rush hour traffic destroying everything in your path. Blowing cars up is fun and fun is the most important aspect of a videogame. Katamari Damacy also comes to mind. You play as the Prince of all Cosmos, son to the rainbow puking king who goes on a universe destroying bender. You spend the entire game creating snowballs of destruction rolling over everything in your path in order to save the galaxy. Bulldozing over cars, trucks, people and buildings while leaving chaos in your wake is awesome. Probably the best example of pointless fun is Porrasturvat: Stair Dismount. You push a dude down a flight of stairs and try to inflict as much damage as possible. No story, no point, just bodily injury.
Most games these days have a story to one extent or another but many times the story can be an obstacle to the gameplay. Red Faction Guerrilla featured a truly impressive destruction system but the story was generic and resulted in hordes of cops prohibiting you from doing what you want which is to destroy everything in sight. Being killed by cops the moment you begin your demolitions exhibition is not fun. Battlefield: Bad Company suffered a similar fate. Players don’t want restrictions they want freedom.
I’m all for AAA hollywood style games but one thing Hollywood can’t do is create a playground held together by an absurd story meant for nothing more than indulging in your childhood destructive instincts. Don’t stop making AAA games but please let us see more games with mindless destructive fun being the selling point. These are the games which you go back to and play again. These are the games that are timeless.