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Outside the Box: Gameplay Versatility

Posted Mar 20, 2006 by Dana Massey

Outside the Box: Gameplay Versatility

Nathan Knaack, our Monday columnist, is back with a look at the concept of gameplay versatility as it relates to MMORPGs. Every Monday, Nathan offers his unique perspective on some aspect of MMORPG design.

Why are MMORPGs almost universally based on combat? Aside from a few rare exceptions, the vast majority of games, online and offline, are centered around, or at least focused on, battle. Perhaps it has something to do with games being an escape from reality, which makes sense considering that your average gamer isn’t a secret agent, mythical warrior, or space cowboy (despite any costumes worn at conventions), thus they do not encounter life-or-death combat on a daily basis. To further enforce the “escapism” explanation for video game violence, one could consider the fact that the average gamer isn’t having much sex, either, which almost entirely explains the industry’s almost disturbing fascination with anatomically exaggerated female characters. If we make the assumption that video games are an escape from reality for predominately 12-25 year old males, it’s easy to understand why we see so much combat and cleavage. You’d think by now more game development companies would have realized that, as recent studies suggest, a full 40% of the gamer population is female. No wonder they’re not as wildly attracted to FPS and RPG titles as males are. As a male gamer, would you play a game that traded battle and boobs for meaningful relationship conversations and large, strategically-located bulges on all the pants for male avatars?

To read his full article, click here.

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