Video Games Are Better Without Characters — The Atlantic.

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But making games about complex systems instead of tanks or plumbers or hedgehogs or soldiers was always a long-shot. Culturally, video games are often cast aside as vulgar and flagrantly violent. They’re maligned as pointless drivel serving no purpose and simultaneously criticized for encouraging outrageous, irresponsible behavior and delinquency. Some will concede, at best, that video games offer harmless distraction, like the idle dream of being a professional football player. These perceptions come from the same place as video-game advocates’ own love for the form. Games are a place to escape, a place to be powerful, a place to have agency in a world that so often wrests it from us.

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