Five lessons that video games could learn from television drama

Developers make too many assumptions about players. They should learn from the more intuitive structures of modern TV

Earlier this month, game designer and programmer Brie Code wrote an interesting opinion piece for GamesIndustry.Biz. Entitled “video games are boring”, the article questioned pretty much all our assumptions about what games are, how they work and what they can do. Her argument was that a huge number of people are locked out of playing games because of age-old conventions, mechanics and assumptions. If you look at the major output of the big publishers, it’s all first-person shooters, action adventures, sports sims and 100-hour role-playing epics, filled with complex controls, assumed knowledge, violence and dextrous challenge. Many millions of potential players aren’t into all that.

But even if we accept those genres and conventions as a given, games could do a lot more to be approachable and intuitive to a wider audience. In many ways, game designers could learn a lot from the way narrative television has evolved over the past few golden years. Here are five examples.

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