PBS Idea Channel Explores Whether Video Games Are About Their Mechanics

PBS Idea Channel (see previously) host Mike Rugnetta recently explored whether video games are about their mechanics. Specifically, Rugnetta points out that story elements are rarely interwoven into the actual gameplay, and that his memories of video games are almost always the lineage of tasks rather than particular plot points.

Are videogames actually about their mechanics? As we play games over and over again, we spend a lot of time getting pretty darn good at the mechanics and gameplay. Each shot fired and potion consumed engrosses us more and more, but does that engrossing nature work against the STORY, the NARRATIVE, and maybe the bigger picture of what the game is (supposedly) about? Do we care more about what we do, instead of what happens? And SHOULD the interaction be more important than the message?

Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits (see previously) popped in briefly to Rugnetta’s analysis, and also narrated a companion video about the value of video games and media.