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The One Game and the Other Games

Content of the article: "The One Game and the Other Games"

This is a reflection of my own preferences, but I think there's some truth in it as well. I think this has implications about how we criticize and think about games.

I like to think that over time, games are progressing towards an ultimate perfect form. Like the Singularity for games, if you will. I'll call this ultimate game, The One Game.

Thing is, only a certain category of games are marching forwards towards this future. There are other games that don't walk the road of progress, and just do their own thing isolated in time. I'll call these The Other Games.

What is The One Game? Well, basically it's a complete simulation of a virtual world, but with changes in mechanics / physics / content to make it more fun than the real world. We see fictional versions of the One Game all the time – the holodeck in Star Trek. Fulldive VR in Sword Art Online. VR in Ready Player One, The Matrix (although it's not a game), etc.

The Other Games are usually things that are much more abstract. Tetris, card games, rhythm games, etc. In terms of art style, Other Games are also those that ignore realism for a different style, like anime / toon games, Obra Dinn, pixel art games, etc.

These days, we have many games that we can think of, that are subcomponents of The One Game. Driving and flight sims, military FPS, HEMA games, open world shooters, 3D fighting games – anything that wants to give you at least a "realism flavoured" experience, if not actual realism. You can imagine that in the future, all of these things will be merged into a big single thing, a bit like how Battlefield or GTA has aircraft and vehicles.

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Why does this matter? Think about a lot of the criticisms "one game" style games get. They are too grey/brown, they are all the same, there's no innovation in gameplay, all they concentrate on is graphics tech, etc. I want to argue that those criticisms aren't entirely valid, because all of these games are actually supposed to be the same game – the One Game.

People who expect these games to have the same variety, creativity, and uniqueness of the Other Games are somewhat missing the purpose of progress towards the One Game.


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