Back to my point. One of the things that stuck in mind about the more ethical and philosophical aspects points he brought up was how game designers are using evolutionary needs for rewards and goals to cheapen the game playing experience. If there were no golden coins to collect, or princesses to solve, would the game still be playable? He made a big point about comparing the simple and addictive (yet ultimately empty) rewards based system of World of Warcraft to gorging on fast food. I'd always wanted to hear him delve deeper into this, and read the odd interview where he did so but they never provided the meaty discussion I was hoping for. Thankfully, I found an audio of a lecture he gave at the 2007 Montreal International Games Conference and it was all I'd hoped. Thoughtful, detailed and insightful. Clicking on the link also gives you a powerpoint presentation of the lecture as well, so you're really getting a two-for in that package.
It also says, it doesn't really matter if you're smart or adept at trying to get ahead in a system because what really matters is how much time you sink in, because of all these artificial constraints on you. It also says that you don't really need to do anything exceptional because to feel good, to be rewarded, all you need to do is run the treadmill like everyone else
Honey is sweet because we like it; not we like it because honey is sweet. There's nothing intrinsically sweet about honey. If you looked at glucose molecules until you were blind you wouldn't see why they tasted sweet. You have to look inside our brains to understand why they're sweet.
Conspicuous consumption arises from human instincts for showing off our intelligence, personality traits, and moral virtues to family, friends, and mates. Consumerism is not a matter of 'materialism', but of runaway signalling, status display, and socially validated narcissism.
The rules of the game, the kind of interactions that the game puts you into, is the meaning of life for that game. And the meaning of life in WoW is you're some shmo who doesn't have anything better to do than to sit around and kill monsters
The real meaning of a videogame is expressed by the rules. He explains that these expressions may not be perceived by the intellect, they can be perceived in an abstract, holistic way by the player.
Games are where you are trying to achieve a goal and there are some rules governing the actions you can perform and their affects on the game world and also what the game world can do back to you
the rules of a videogame have meaning, intended or not, that is where their expressive power comes from, and that these meanings are absorbed by the people who play them
As such, I'm not sure I agree on your statement on games not needing narratives. I think one should see narrative as something broader, more as the 'meaning' of the game. Isn't a 'generative narrative' uh, a matrix of expectations? Applied as you spend time in the game, the narrative is 'that' what keeps you interested. Apparently, people are on a superficial level (junk food; delicious analogy!) easily satisfied as proved by WoW, the challenge lies, as you state it, in delivering the people more intellectual fulfillment through healthy intellectual narratives. But aren't these just more complex reward models?
All this is written from a abstract/generative film viewpoint, who share the problem of infinite time and/or abstract narrative with games.