matt.jpg The last time that we covered Matt Sakey's regular 'Culture Clash' IGDA column, we got a little perturbed at the level of invective in there, and his latest April 2006 IGDA column, on 'establishing an industry identity', again falls on the combative side.

Sakey's central theory seems to be that, well, gamers are dumb: "Everything that is wrong with the games industry can be summed up in one word: Psychonauts. The fact that this wonderful game moved only a handful of units in the United States is an offense. The publisher didn't advertise aggressively, and I do hold Majesco partially responsible. But mostly I blame gamers for failing to buy a title with practically universal appeal." Um... one would think that the definition of 'universal appeal' is that everyone would buy it?

The conclusion? "There's certainly profit and probably long-term stability in continuing the status quo: franchises, sports licenses, movie tie-ins. But following that path exclusively means that gaming will never aspire to anything greater. If that's okay with you, then so be it; accept that this medium will forever remain a bastard stepchild, the lower spawn of higher arts."

This Au-like argument seems, to me, to be fallacious - you iterate reliable, fun, profitable titles (yes, aesthetes, Madden is enjoyable to play!) so you get the opportunity to take greater risk on other titles, or you just use digital distribution and lower development costs to take those risks. It's not a fire and brimstone moment. But I guess it's more fun if we pretend it is. Gamers, you suck!