I was thinking about Tetris recently and how it was the only video game I really enjoyed. I think the reason for my enthusiasm stemmed from the game’s elegant metaphor for existence: oddly shaped objects are constantly being thrown at you and you have to make them fit into the most solid, sensible patterns. If you don’t, they stack up quickly and overcome you.
This got me thinking about other video games, like Pac-Man. It has a vaguely materialist message: run through the maze of life and consume as much as you can. Avoid the spiritual beings. They only represent death.
Donkey Kong’s message is one of corporate ambition. Climb the ladder, avoid everything the guy on top throws at you, and you can make it to the top, where you’ll live happily ever after.
Are there any abstract video games anymore? Or games that invent their own reality? Everything I see these days is variations on virtual reality themes of combat, racing, and movies.