5 Games For The Intellectual
In the early days, gaming wasn’t really a credible artform. There’s only so much deepness that you can see with a broken circle eating a bunch of dots and dodging ghosts for example. Games were only seen as frivolous entertainment and money sinks that a bunch of bored children would utilize in arcades. Unfortunately, that transpired into our current generation where people still adopt the mentality that games are just stupid little things people do to unwind. They certainly have no idea how deep this well is, however. Games have grown up, much like its fanbase. With more advancements and tools that can be used to give a more believable depiction of a fictional world, people have started becoming creative.
Amongst all the Call of Duties and Medal of Honors, we see beacons of hope for truly engaging storytelling. Games that make your mind wander and make you lose sleep just thinking about events that happened. Games that spark emotions within you that can only really be found in real life situations. Frivolous fun my pale ass. These games were made for intellectuals and people that can understand certain things and can grasp various contexts. They weren’t made for the average 12 year old Call of Duty player, but the person that can understand things that are said and have the patience necessary to figure those things out.
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Here are some of the games that were made for people with some intelligence.
Mass Effect Series
The Mass Effect series in itself isn’t really that mind numbingly thought provoking because it only really gives things to you at face value. There’s no deep thinking involved for the most part unless you’re one of those loonies that belong to the Church Of The Indoctrination Theory. But what makes the Mass Effect games unique is their approach to emotional connections. You really do feel certain emotions towards your crewmates and it differs from person to person. Such as myself that hates Miranda, but absolutely adores Tali. Other people might think the opposite or have vastly different opinions. If you’re a member of the Idiot committee, you would only see the emotional and deep conversations as “too much talking, when I get to shoot things lol”.
It’s for people that can form meaningful connections with fictional characters. It’s a game where the loss of a character actually makes you cry and making you miss them even though you can just start up a new game and they would be there. Emotional storytelling is great.
Spec Ops: The Line
Now here’s an interesting one. On the surface you would think that this game is perfect for the Coven of Idiot, but there’s where you would be very very wrong. The game looks like a standard military shooter. It plays like a standard military shooter. But its intentions is to make you feel as bad as humanly possible and crush your soul into a deep black abyss. Spec Ops tries to make you feel like a monster. The bad guy that modern society has so adamantly tarred and feathered. How the hell did that get into a game about shooting people? Isn’t that like 95% of gaming these days?
Spec Ops had you questioning your actions and losing trust in the fictional character you’re playing as. As the game progresses, things get a little strange and nonsensical at times, but of you put your mind to it you can figure out why these things happened. It requires you to think really hard about what you’re witnessing on screen and that’s why it’s a game for the intellectually minded. It’s not just a blockbuster action game with a lot of explosions, but a journey through your mind and a test of your mental endurance.
Yes, I pillaged a PS3 recently from our very own Rudolf and quickly went to work on experiencing the games that I could not on Xbox 360. Seriously, fuck exclusives because I missed one killer of a game. Journey is a game that you really have to dig into to define. On face value it’s a game where you walk forward towards a big mountain and solve a bunch of puzzles along the way, but in reality it’s so much more than that. There is no dialogue, no character names and no words at all. At first I was very confused how people could call it an “emotional” game because of these reasons, but as I played it I noticed more and more how truly deep the game is. It’s a different kind of deep though. A more abstract approach to storytelling if you will. Because there’s no synapsis and explanations given, it’s completely up to you to envision what is actually going on.
It really got my mind thinking and it took me to some rather thought provoking places. Not to mention the stellar soundtrack and beautiful visuals that helped it all along. I can’t comment on the co-op aspect because I couldn’t play it at the time, but I imagine it is a much more emotional journey than the one you get when playing alone. Truly a fantastic game.
The Last Of Us
As part of my PS3 pillaging, I played The Last Of Us in its entirety from start to end. I can safely say that the game was meant for a more mature crowd. It’s not deep or abstract, but it really brings home the essence of human conditioning and the darkness of man’s mind. The “fallen back to the food chain” idea was really well realised and presented and the increased focus of “surviving at all costs” was really welcome. And then there’s the scenes that almost made me explode into tears. It really made you believe that its world is now barren and its inhabitants almost feral to a degree. It also tackled some fairly dark subject matters that you don’t really see in many other games.
It’s a game designed for people with more social context and understanding of the world. The members of the Great Circle of Idiot wouldn’t understand most of the things happening or they would lack the sensibilities to truly sympathise with the characters. Also, Clickers are scary as hell. Bloody popcorn faces.
Throughout Infinite’s story you never feel like the game is treating you like an imbecile. It presented intellectual ideas and subject matters that required a lot of context. If you didn’t have an understanding of slavery or early American racism you wouldn’t understand some of the things that the game explored in great detail. It’s a game made for smart people that can understand a lot of the things that are contained within their world. There’s also moments in the game that really test your brain’s capabilities that require you to think really long and hard about what actually just happened. Anyone that experienced the ending would understand how much thinking was involved to truly understand it. The abundance of internet explanations would give further evidence of that.
That’s not even including the emotional connection you have with Elizabeth. The connection you have with her is unlike anything I have ever witnessed within a game. It’s just done on a really deep level and it differs from player to player on how much they care for her. BioShock Infinite will be forever etched into the annals of gaming history as a game that truly fucked with your mind.
I’m not trying to be an elitist douchebag when I say that these games were made for intellectuals only. I’m not trying to be condescending towards people that don’t really have the mental capacity to really understand these games. I am, however, grateful that these games exist to make my mind wander and truly test my understanding of the world. Who knows, maybe people that don’t have a firm grasp on all intellectual details of these games can still enjoy it like I did, but in an entirely different way. I find it amazing that games are able to pull that off. It’s really a magical thing to be a gamer and I’m forever grateful for the experiences that I had.