Guest Article: The Comical Short-sightedness of American (Gaming) Press

By Nipsen

So, a while back I read a piece of writing about “The Last Guardian”, because I am a bit interested in that game. And at some point Ueda is asked: but don’t you want to make an fps-game at some point? Like everyone else is?

I thought it was strange at the time, but I didn’t think anything of it.

Later, I read something about Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker. And naturally, the story-telling was in focus. And I expected to read something about the setting for the game. But instead the writer of the article did not ask Kojima about the setting, or how many hours of mind-numbingly intricate narrative the game would have – no, instead the guy asked: wouldn’t you rather make an fps-game?

Later, I read something about Gran Turismo. And someone casually asked the creator and director: “what would an fps game by Kazunori look like”?

Now, all of this could be coincidence. Perhaps all the interviewers were simply uneducated rabble picked up off the street who have no manners and sold their sense of culture off years ago. Perhaps they just like first person shooters with an unusual, but disturbing, passion – and so feel everyone else has to like them as well. Perhaps they are just not very interested in the the limits of the computer game format.

I thought it was strange at the time, but I didn’t think anything of it.

And honestly, what else can you say about people who write, without Irony, of “the story-telling genius of Infinity Ward and Bungie”.

The problem, though, is this. I don’t care about people’s sickening love for fps-games. If I read about “Alpha Protocol”, I don’t want to know if Obsidian is considering an fps-game, rather than – more details about their game that I am reading about.

Is that honestly so difficult to grasp?

Meanwhile, no one asks James Cameron if he’d not rather turn “Avatar” into an fps. So why is that?

I’ll answer this question myself: it’s the same reason that Avatar is suddenly considered a trend-setting masterpiece by the (American) Gaming press. It’s the same reason that makes Avatar become something glorious and new, and therefore starts a new 3d glasses craze all on it’s own, without being inspired by anything else that has happened in the industry at all.

And it’s called “advertisement”. Huge amounts of advertisement.

Now – call me old-fashioned, or even stupid. But I used to believe that advertisement was made for customers. Who actually bought the products.

Not so. What advertisement is for, is to shape the apparent perception of customers, as held by the press. The press then will shamelessly ask the stupidest questions in history, with the backing in this perceived popular opinion.

And this then allows the (American) gaming press to ask the creator of the quite famous Metal Gear Solid series: if he’d not rather make an fps-game, so he could really let his story-telling genius flow freely. Like the “story-telling genius” of Infinity Ward and Bungie, I suppose.

And it allows the gaming press to ask the creator of the most untraditional story-telling in games since Kirby about if he’d not rather give his abilities a boost, from the measly results he has attained so far – by simply changing his format to an FPS.

At some point, someone even asked the maker of Katamari Damacy and Noby-Noby boy if he’d not want to make an fps. Apparently in the belief that he would perhaps want to ride on the glory of better known computer game developers, so he could finally gain some real recognition.

In many ways, I’ve had enough of the arrogance of the (American) gaming press. It’s not enough that I have to be browbeaten with the fact that I like something else than “the mainstream”, if such a thing even exists. Oh, no. I also have to be subjected to a “reality” where all creators of original works also want to create mindless crap – to become accepted as real computer games developers.

It is time for some self-reflection in this case. It is the case that not every local reader, by statistics, prefer fps-games to the exclusion of everything else. Not even by a long shot. So why the obsession with the stupidity jargon? After all, it takes no particular skill or creativity to observe that the advertisement narratives do not necessarily reflect what all, perhaps even a majority, of gamers find appealing. Something the gaming press, regardless of publishing philosophy, should have no difficulty taking into account.

By Guest Writer

PXOD welcomes anyone to come contribute to the site. These articles are written by our readers and you're welcome to join them.


  1. Good article. I think it’s partly that Kojima, Yamauchi, Fumito Ueda and Keita Takahashi are all considered to be unusual Japanese developers who produce games that “could only come from Japan”. So the interviewers are then curious about the developers take on the most stereotypically western genre that exists. Also, in Kojima’s case he actually is a big FPS fan. I think I remember reading about him playing Left 4 Dead and the TGS 05 trailer for MGS4 teased about the game being an FPS.

    But there is also a certain arrogance that I’ve noticed in Western gaming media recently such as IGN’s “How to fix JRPGs” article where they seemed to just repeatedly praise two Western developers (Bethesda and Bioware) and criticise JRPGs in areas where many modern WRPGs are also deficient. One point I found particularly ironic was multiplayer where some Japanese developers seem to be moving forward with Demon’s Souls and White Knight Chronicles but Western development seems to be moving backwards (Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights had multiplayer whereas Bioware’s newer games Mass Effect and Dragon Age do not).

  2. FPS games have already over-saturated the market, undoubtedly more so than music games, another genre everyone seems to rag upon. So why ask people, who actually make something different to the obvious norm, if they want to make something that everyone else is already making, and probably not be able to do it better since they’ve probably never done it before?

    FPS games will eventually get stale, and unless people can come up with new ways of delivering the first-person genre outside of shooting and driving (Looking at Mirror’s Edge and maybe at a stretch Fight Night as being good examples of this), the whole thing will eventually burn out and die a slow and painful death. Nobody can come up with new ideas when everyone’s just copycatting everyone else, after all.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I like FPSes. Most of the games I have for PC are FPS games. But on consoles the only one I have is Modern Warfare 2, and I just can’t seem to grasp why people see what’s so great about them that a good portion of current-generation console games see the need to be FPS games in order to compete, when in reality they’re just doing what others have done – albeit badly – and wind up falling by the wayside in mediocrity when their ideas could have been translated to a new genre, a new perspective, and would have been tons better off for it.

    Asking Tetsuya Nomura if he’d like to make an FPS just really put an exclamation point on this. It was an absolutely un-necessary question, in fact, almost putting ideas into his head to a point, and kinda pressurising him to do something that he may not want to. I still think he was only being polite when he said that he would, instead of blowing off the interviewer.

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