Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and co-creator of "Pong," thinks games have lost their way, and violent games and long, complicated gameplay is to blame.
But he finds hope in the rise of Wii and casual games, he told Multiplayer in a phone interview yesterday morning.
I proposed that games started as a hardcore medium, but he disagreed. "The way that games started, they were virtually all casual. If you really think about 'Breakout,' 'Tank' and some of those things, games were very, very simple," he said.
He can even pinpoint when things went astray.
"I like to talk about [how] 1983 was sort of the break point where games went from casual to hardcore," said Bushnell. "They got violent. They went long form. The violence lost the women and the long form lost the casual gamer. I actually sort of stuck to my roots, and the console game market moved away."
He doesn't believe the current gaming experiences are going to disappear. "Grand Theft Auto" is here to stay, even if he doesn't approve of it. But new gamers are up for grabs, and they might like the kind of games Bushnell championed 25 years ago.
"I actually think the future of gaming is going to be much more emphasis on games that are casual," he said. "The Wii was as much about a return to fun games -- what I call universally accessible games -- as much as it was about the controller. There's clearly been a demand for games for everybody else, and that's why I think this is getting so much attention."
What do you think of his argument, readers? Are "Grand Theft Auto" and "Final Fantasy" responsible for turning off a whole market of would-be gamers?
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