Why Games Matter Blog

Welcome to the archive for Why Games Matter, a blog dedicated to big issues affecting computer games. Updated each week, Why Games Matter covers everything, from AAA titles to indie hits, to gaming's awkward past and its troubled present, and is written by IBTimes UK tech reporter Edward Smith.

Anita Sarkeesian

At Last, Women! - The past seven days have done a lot for women in games13/3/13

'There's still plenty out there, particularly in comment sections and on forums who can't seem to get their frankly reptilian brains around the INCREDIBLY BASIC concept that women and men are equal. So, thank God that over the last week in the game industry we've seen a proliferation of feminist dialogue.'

Game BAFTAs 2013

The Game Baftas Are Brilliant - Computer games deserve this kind of representation 6/3/13

'I'm sorry if this sounds a bit twee and a bit pleasant, and a bit like the kind of unbearable conversation you'd overhear at some boring business conference which, before we get started would like to take some time to thank the caterers, but last night's BAFTAs were really just...nice; they were good, they were fun.'

Games Are Just Gadgets - As we roll into the next generation, it feels like games are more about technology than culture 27/2/13

'There are no clean hands in the game industry because everyone is up to their wrists in silicon. Fans treat games like smartphones, constantly looking forward to the next thing and grubbing for the latest in graphics tech. Game critics, too, feel more like technology correspondents than commentators, hyping up one generation of machines or iteration of game before disposing it and moving onto the other.'


Why we Need More - Games and game journalism are all about getting more 20/2/13

'As anyone reading this on an IBM 5150 will tell you, technology loses its value as it gets older. By nature of their graphics engines, animation systems and so on, videogames come with a short lifespan built-in, and just as we upgrade to a better model of mobile phone, so too do we commit to "better" games.'

second hand games

The Industry Needs Second Hand Games - Don't disrupt the balance between art and finance 13/2/13

'Unconfirmed console rumours are like episodes of Law and Order - there are hundreds of them and they're all rubbish. But if the murmurs are right for once and the next Xbox won't run second hand games, well, at least then we'll be finally able to know what we've all suspected for a while, that videogames are consumer electronics and that developers are just factories.'

battlefield 3

Battlefield 3's Multiplayer is Art - Even the biggest games have intellectual value 8/2/13

'We aren't told why we need to kill the Russians, or the Americans, or why we need to capture their car park or blow up their computers - we just do it because we're playing soldiers. And that, to me at least, opens Battlefield 3'smultiplayer up to much broader interpretation.'


Computer Games Aren't For Adults - Computer game subject matter is aimed at children 1/2/13

'Computer games are gleefully shut in. Like your average young gamer (door locked, curtains closed) it's rare a videogame troubles itself with real-life.'

Indie Games Aren't Art Games - We've conflated 'indie game' to mean 'art game' 24/1/13

"Independent games are finally coming to life. But these first waves are just the cave paintings; exciting though they may be, if we want them to develop, we can't continue talking about them as if they're Guernica. Otherwise, what is there to be? "

The Old Republic's "Gay Planet" is a Bad Thing - Why Makeb will make gay players feel more vulnerable and give power to bullies 16/1/13

"It's plausible that the same kid who felt better watching Shepherd and Cortez in bed together might go to Makeb, only to be confronted by vitriolic chat bubbles and PMs calling him God-knows-what."

How I Spent Christmas in Skyrim - Immersing yourself in a fantasy world won't always help you escape from reality 3/1/13

"Trying to live up to being The Player Character, the deus ex machina in Skyrimdrove me to despair, exactly like some tired matriarch trying to make Christmas work for everybody."

Hitman: Absolution Isn't Sexy - The last in a three part series that dissects what used to make Hitman great 5/12/12

"The guards in Hitman games are all biceps and six packs. The women are even more exaggerated, jiggling caricatures with deep cleavage, pert bums and puffed up lips. It's an excellent way of emphasising 47's Otherness."

Hitman: Absolution Doesn't Play Right - The second in a three part series that will dissect what used to make the Hitman games great 27/11/12

"Since we'd die if we went guns blazing, we had to use the map; since we used the map, we got used to seeing guards as dots instead of people. And since they were just dots, we had no problem killing them."

Hitman: Absolution Sounds Awful - The first in a three part series that will dissect what used to make the Hitman games great 20/11/12

"By shutting the hell up the old Hitman games created symmetry between you and 47, whereby, without even knowing it, you felt like he did."

The Time I Stayed Sane in GTA IV - Even in the biggest playgrounds, sometimes it's more fun to just do as you're told 13/11/12

"Playing in Niko's mindset was my way of solving that story versus gameplay problem, where the characters and plot set up by developers is rarely reflected by what you do in games."

The Time I Went Mental in Fallout 3 - How sandbox games give you the space to make your own fiction 6/11/12

"Computer games, especially ones like Fallout give you enormous creative freedom to invent and live out your daydreams. For some people, that means starting a family in The Sims or building a giant nob in Minecraft. For me, it meant being a drunk, self-righteous mass murderer with a bald head and a tidy house."

Dishonored is Pointless - How hiding the stats and mechanics in Dishonored makes the game much better 30/10/12

"I got to be myself for a change. I got to play a game how I wanted to play it, instead of how I thought I should be."

GameCity, Where Games Are For Everyone - How festivals like GameCity show the game industry at its best 26/10/12

"As gaming veers towards mainstream acceptance, it's important for the industry to maintain its dignity and its core values. GameCity shows that we can have it both ways."

Mobile Games Will Kill Us All - Why console games are still the most important 16/10/12

"I like the hierarchy of console games; I like that not everyone can make them and that if you want to play one you need to dedicate the money and dedicate the time."

Freedom Fighters, My Favourite Game - Why Io Interactive's forgotten squad shooter still matters 10/10/12

"Despite its sheer ruddy brilliance, Freedom Fighters proved less popular than the decision to rename Coco Pops to Choco Krispies."

What Money Can't Buy - Why expos like EuroGamer are bad for games 3/10/12

"For the sake of sheer entertainment, shows like E3 and Eurogamer are just fine; as the only form of exhibition for an emerging art form, they're worrying."

I Don't Need a Hero - It's time we did something new with computer game characters 25/9/12

"I want to play something that makes me feel guilty, or weak, and as somebody just as emotional as I am."

Dis-Kinect - How motion controls make games less immersive18/9/12

"The Kinect is for people who don't play games; those looking for big, immersive game worlds that we can easily escape into know to stay clear of motion-sensitivity."