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David Cage offers nine examples of how the industry can “grow up”

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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From his talk at the DICE summit. There's much more at the link on Gamasautra:

Personally I do not agree with all of his points, but I do agree that the games industry need to diversify itself, both in terms of genre promotion/availability and appealing to different audiences by creating experiences that aren't necessarily tailored for one specific demographic (i.e. white adolescent males). Moreover, I also agree that the gaming media need to use their critical thinking much more and try to actually reflect on the experiences they are supposed to evaluate. Reviews affect consumer preferences and it to some extent influences which games are considered hallmarks of the medium, so I agree that reviewers should improve their critical assessment.

1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.

2: Change our paradigms. “We cannot keep doing the same games the same way and expect to expand our market,” Cage cautions. “We need to decide that violence is not the only way.”

“For most people out there, mastering a system is not something exciting, it's boring,” he says. They don't want to compete. It's fine when you're a kid, but not as fun as an adult. “I don't want to feel the strange experience of getting my ass kicked by a 10 year old,” he added, challenging the industry to start making games with no guns.

3: The importance of meaning. “When you think about it, you realize many games have absolutely nothing to say!” says Cage. “There's nothing against that, but that's a toy. Can we create games that have something to say? That have meaning?”

To do this, we need to let authors come in, he says. “Games today, most of the time -- not all, but most -- are written by programmers and graphic artists and the marketing team. We need to have authors really at the heart of the project.”

In addition, we should use all real-world themes. Most games take place in a world we can never enter, but Cage says we should focus more on human relationships. “We need to put games at the center of our society, the center of our life. Games can do that in a very unique way.”

4: Become accessible. “Let's focus on minds of the players, and not how fast they can move their thumbs!” he says. We need to think about the journey versus the challenge. Is a game a series of obstacles, or could it be just a journey? Just a moment that you spend?

5: Bring other talent on board. David Cage in his career has worked with David Bowie, and the actress Ellen Page, which he says brought new perspective to his games. “Working with these people has been an amazing experience,” he says. “They came to the game industry because that was something new to them.”

6: Establish new relationships with Hollywood. Relationships with Hollywood have traditionally been based on what Cage calls “a misunderstanding” for some time, largely through licensing. “I think the time has come for a meaningful constructive, balanced new partnership,” he says. “We can invent, together, a new form of entertainment.” They master linear art, and we master interactivity. We should bring them together.

7: Changing our relationship with censorship. “I see myself as a writer,” he says. “I try to write scripts talking about emotions, dialogues. Sometimes I use violence, and sometimes I use sex. And that's fine. But now I have somebody looking over my shoulder saying 'no, you have to change this. That's not possible.'”

8: The role of the press. “I think press has a very important role to play,” Cage says. [In the] press, we have on the one side, very clever people. They think about the industry, they analyze it, they try to see where it could go in the future. On the other side of the spectrum, you've got people giving scores. Just scores.”

“I don't think this is press,” Cage says. “Where is the analysis? Where's the thinking about this? Can anyone give his opinion and be respected as a critic? Being a critic is a job. It requires skills, it requires thought.” He here referenced the famous Cahiers Du Cinema, a film journal which helped influence the French New Wave of cinema, and changed movies significantly.

9: The importance of gamers. “I often think that buying or not buying a game is almost like a political vote,” Cage postulates. “You decide if you want the industry to go in this direction or not go in this direction. Buy crap, and you'll get more crap. Buy exciting, risky games, and you will get more of them. When you buy games, you vote for where you want the industry to go.”
 

Sn4ke_911

If I ever post something in Japanese which I don't understand, please BAN me.
May 9, 2009
45,856
0
985
1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.

2: Change our paradigms. “We cannot keep doing the same games the same way and expect to expand our market,” Cage cautions. “We need to decide that violence is not the only way.”

“For most people out there, mastering a system is not something exciting, it's boring,” he says. They don't want to compete. It's fine when you're a kid, but not as fun as an adult. “I don't want to feel the strange experience of getting my ass kicked by a 10 year old,” he added, challenging the industry to start making games with no guns.

3: The importance of meaning. “When you think about it, you realize many games have absolutely nothing to say!” says Cage. “There's nothing against that, but that's a toy. Can we create games that have something to say? That have meaning?”

To do this, we need to let authors come in, he says. “Games today, most of the time -- not all, but most -- are written by programmers and graphic artists and the marketing team. We need to have authors really at the heart of the project.”

In addition, we should use all real-world themes. Most games take place in a world we can never enter, but Cage says we should focus more on human relationships. “We need to put games at the center of our society, the center of our life. Games can do that in a very unique way.”

4: Become accessible. “Let's focus on minds of the players, and not how fast they can move their thumbs!” he says. We need to think about the journey versus the challenge. Is a game a series of obstacles, or could it be just a journey? Just a moment that you spend?

5: Bring other talent on board. David Cage in his career has worked with David Bowie, and the actress Ellen Page, which he says brought new perspective to his games. “Working with these people has been an amazing experience,” he says. “They came to the game industry because that was something new to them.”

6: Establish new relationships with Hollywood. Relationships with Hollywood have traditionally been based on what Cage calls “a misunderstanding” for some time, largely through licensing. “I think the time has come for a meaningful constructive, balanced new partnership,” he says. “We can invent, together, a new form of entertainment.” They master linear art, and we master interactivity. We should bring them together.

7: Changing our relationship with censorship. “I see myself as a writer,” he says. “I try to write scripts talking about emotions, dialogues. Sometimes I use violence, and sometimes I use sex. And that's fine. But now I have somebody looking over my shoulder saying 'no, you have to change this. That's not possible.'”

“Why would this be okay in movies? Why would this be okay in novels? And the answer is always the same - because you are interactive,” he adds. “On the other hand I was quite shocked by some things I saw at the last E3. Some games go over the top trying to be more violent, or have more sex than its competitors. And I think that's also a mistake.”

“Sometimes we go too far, and we behave like stupid teenagers ourselves,” Cage says. “And we should stop doing this, because it's a matter of being responsible not only to our industry, but also to our society.”

8: The role of the press.
“I think press has a very important role to play,” Cage says. [In the] press, we have on the one side, very clever people. They think about the industry, they analyze it, they try to see where it could go in the future. On the other side of the spectrum, you've got people giving scores. Just scores.”

“I don't think this is press,” Cage says. “Where is the analysis? Where's the thinking about this? Can anyone give his opinion and be respected as a critic? Being a critic is a job. It requires skills, it requires thought.” He here referenced the famous Cahiers Du Cinema, a film journal which helped influence the French New Wave of cinema, and changed movies significantly.

9: The importance of gamers. “I often think that buying or not buying a game is almost like a political vote,” Cage postulates. “You decide if you want the industry to go in this direction or not go in this direction. Buy crap, and you'll get more crap. Buy exciting, risky games, and you will get more of them. When you buy games, you vote for where you want the industry to go.”
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186167/David_Cage_Game_industry_has_Peter_Pan_Syndrome.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+GamasutraNews+(Gamasutra+News)#.URLAiWcYF0J

http://www.vg247.com/2013/02/06/david-cage-offers-nine-examples-of-how-the-industry-can-grow-up/
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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On a sidenote, if we want a fruitful discussion in this thread, it would be prudent if the the ensuing replies to this thread aren't littered with ad hominem against David Cage's person or portfolio. While he has been responsible for severely flawed attempts at narrative in games, that does not mean that his other statements on the topic of video games are invalid (although his way of conveying arguments could benefit from a bit of humility and friendliness if he wanted to help his own position)

So basically, if you agree or disagree with the statements, please refer to the claims themselves, not the person stating them :)
 

grimshawish

Banned
Dec 30, 2011
9,164
0
0
Agree with some, disagree with others.
Go make a Visual Novel and put it on a handheld David and I'll come.

Seriously. Its the best genre for the adult audience if we are looking to focus on more human aspects.
 

Dance Inferno

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Dec 30, 2008
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I agree with most of what he says, but especially with this:

3: The importance of meaning. “When you think about it, you realize many games have absolutely nothing to say!” says Cage. “There's nothing against that, but that's a toy. Can we create games that have something to say? That have meaning?”

To do this, we need to let authors come in, he says. “Games today, most of the time -- not all, but most -- are written by programmers and graphic artists and the marketing team. We need to have authors really at the heart of the project.”

In addition, we should use all real-world themes. Most games take place in a world we can never enter, but Cage says we should focus more on human relationships. “We need to put games at the center of our society, the center of our life. Games can do that in a very unique way.”
Seriously, can we get games that are well-written and have something to say? I'm tired of saving the president from ninjas just because I'm a badass.
 

Coffee Dog

Banned
Aug 23, 2012
14,437
1
0
A good majority of that list is happening/has already happened.

However, David Cage living in an alternate reality is not surprising.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
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1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.
Why wasn't this outburst livestreamed?
 

EMT0

Banned
Dec 7, 2012
5,009
0
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Isn't this the guy that wants to turn video games into interactive movies? Yes, the video game industry is dominated by ma children that think guns are a necessity, but trying to become a movie isn't the answer by a long shot.
 

Servbot24

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Feb 14, 2012
30,486
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0
Austin, TX
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I strongly agree with 3. I have never played a video game with what I would consider to be a good story when compared with the best books and movies. Why shouldn't a video game have the same level of meaning and relevance as a work by Shakespeare? I also agree with 2 and 5 in particular, though the former is already happening quite frequently.
 

Dance Inferno

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Isn't this the guy that wants to turn video games into interactive movies? Yes, the video game industry is dominated by ma children that think guns are a necessity, but trying to become a movie isn't the answer by a long shot.
Just because he's doing those kinds of games doesn't mean he wants all games to go in that direction. Just that there are things mainstream AAA games should change, and I agree with him.
 

bone_and_sinew

breaking down barriers in gratuitous nudity
Feb 17, 2009
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800
This explains a lot about David Cage.
You can still do both too. See: fighting games or just about any deep game. David Cage has a rather narrow meaning of what "challenge of the mind" means though.
 
Aug 27, 2007
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Agree with some, disagree with others.
Go make a Visual Novel and put it on a handheld David and I'll come.

Seriously. Its the best genre for the adult audience if we are looking to focus on more human aspects.
Pretty much this, as soon as western developers stop thinking that visual novels = hentai games, we can get some serious adult-oriented games.
 

RM8

Member
Mar 11, 2012
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David Cage said:
When you think about it, you realize many games have absolutely nothing to say! There's nothing against that, but that's a toy.
What's wrong with being a "toy", though? Most games are supposed to be fun, we get he doesn't think games should be fun, but his own personal views shouldn't be followed by an entire industry by any means.
 

Isak_Borg

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Jan 28, 2012
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I agree with most of what he says, but especially with this:



Seriously, can we get games that are well-written and have something to say? I'm tired of saving the president from ninjas just because I'm a badass.
They don't make games that are thought provoking because no one buys them. Spec Ops:The Line was one of the most thought provoking games I've ever played and no one bought it.
 

lantus

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Apr 15, 2009
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Isn't this the guy that wants to turn video games into interactive movies? Yes, the video game industry is dominated by ma children that think guns are a necessity, but trying to become a movie isn't the answer by a long shot.
Where does he say games should become movies?
 

XANDER CAGE

Member
Mar 21, 2011
21,046
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7: Changing our relationship with censorship. “I see myself as a writer,” he says. “I try to write scripts talking about emotions, dialogues. Sometimes I use violence, and sometimes I use sex. And that's fine. But now I have somebody looking over my shoulder saying 'no, you have to change this. That's not possible.'”

“Why would this be okay in movies? Why would this be okay in novels? And the answer is always the same - because you are interactive,” he adds. “On the other hand I was quite shocked by some things I saw at the last E3. Some games go over the top trying to be more violent, or have more sex than its competitors. And I think that's also a mistake.”

“Sometimes we go too far, and we behave like stupid teenagers ourselves,” Cage says. “And we should stop doing this, because it's a matter of being responsible not only to our industry, but also to our society.”
I hope this is him subtly owning up to the weird treatment of sex and gender in Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. Shit was terrible.
 

see5harp

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May 12, 2009
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Number 1 is probably the most obvious thing. Don't insult your audience, we've been playing games for 20 years. Part of the issue is that many of the people playing games don't seem to care that the narrative and presentation is so bad in these games.
 

Violater

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Jun 11, 2007
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Posts on Gaf seem extra cynical today, yes while there may be a few examples of games out there already doing some of the things he suggests.
The wider non gaming populous still look at video games as toys and people who play them as time wasters or children.
Yet these same people will sit down religiously and watch reality TV or soap operas.
 

Pojo_King

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Aug 12, 2012
111
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I like how the op put that David Cage Reiteraged

That is almost as good as Revengeance

On a side note. I agree with a lot of what Cage said. Particularly about trying to make more games that don't have guns.
 
Aug 27, 2007
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What's wrong with being a "toy", though? Most games are supposed to be fun, we get he doesn't think games should be fun, but his own personal views shouldn't be followed by an entire industry by any means.
I don't think he's trying to say that the entire industry should follow these steps. If he does think that, then he's as crazy as people say he is. But it couldn't hurt and would be nice to see some more developers pop up who can create the kind of compelling experiences that Cage is pushing for more of.

He's right in that we definitely need some more variety. I'm very sick of every major game out there just being about killing things.
 

Isak_Borg

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Jan 28, 2012
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Number 1 is probably the most obvious thing. Don't insult your audience, we've been playing games for 20 years. Part of the issue is that many of the people playing games don't seem to care that the narrative and presentation is so bad in these games.

part of it is people thinking that we are asking for a cinematic experience and writing (badly) it that way.

the way forward is creating a solid narrative that flows through gameplay and cut scenes. Game play should be an essential part of the narrative. Best example is Spec Ops The Line where the gameplay slowly reflects the narrative.
 

braves01

Banned
Nov 8, 2008
15,601
0
0
The underlying condition of all those examples is if it's sufficiently profitable. The industry won't grow up unless it makes money.

However, gaming media can influence consumer taste and demand so that consumers buy more "grown up" experiences, but there is dearth of quality gaming criticism and coverage to trigger such a shift.
 

massoluk

Banned
Dec 19, 2011
22,036
0
0
1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.

Yeah, I'm done there. The industry is putting disproportional amount of money toward adult audience as is. Like only Nintendo and Activision are making some serious AAA effort for younger audience.
 

Persona86

Banned
Jun 14, 2012
6,085
0
0
Sounds like feminists have taken him hostage.

hehe
1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.

Yeah, I'm done there. The industry is putting disproportional amount of money toward adult audience as is. Like only Nintendo and Activision are making some serious AAA effort for younger audience.
Where's Banjo Kazooie? :(
 

RedSwirl

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Mar 29, 2009
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I keep wondering if he's played Walking Dead. The first thought that entered my head upon playing that game was that it was exactly the game David Cage has been trying to make, but done right.
 

Isak_Borg

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Jan 28, 2012
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The underlying condition of all those examples is if it's sufficiently profitable. The industry won't grow up unless it makes money.

However, gaming media can influence consumer taste and demand so that consumers buy more "grown up" experiences, but there is dearth of quality gaming criticism and coverage to trigger such a shift.

Art is only as good as its critics. Tom Bissell has been doing some great writing on videogames but most "journalist" are basically PR mouth pieces. I can't visit joystiq or kotaku without feeling like I'm reading a collection of PR pieces reworded by "journalist".
 

Derrick01

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May 9, 2011
34,663
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4: Become accessible. “Let's focus on minds of the players, and not how fast they can move their thumbs!” he says. We need to think about the journey versus the challenge. Is a game a series of obstacles, or could it be just a journey? Just a moment that you spend?
I know that when you're spending so much time making games you don't have a lot to actually play other people's. So someone needs to do him a favor and give him just about every game from this generation to play. They've all beaten him to the punch.
 
Aug 27, 2007
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Yeah, I'm done there. The industry is putting disproportional amount of money toward adult audience as is. Like only Nintendo and Activision are making some serious AAA effort for younger audience.
The industry is definitely not making a lot of adult games in the sense he means. Call of Duty is practically aimed at kids just as much as grown-ups. We definitely need more kid-friendly games, but we also need more games that are mature in ways other than having lots of violence and tits.

"Adult-themed" would be better wording on his part.
 

bill0527

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Jul 21, 2004
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I agree with number 2.

I'm 38 years old and have no interest in competitive online multiplayer shooters. I just have to be honest and say that I really don't care for the smack talk, vulgarity, rudeness, and hypercompetitive attitude that makes up the general demographic of the people that play those types of games. Yes, I don't feel like getting cursed at and insulted by 13 year olds.

But I do think the industry caters very well to people like me, who aren't into those kinds of games. I've got plenty to play and not quite enough time to get to all of it.
 

Pojo_King

Neo Member
Aug 12, 2012
111
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0
1: Make games for all audiences. “I believe it's time for this industry to create content, interactive experiences, for an adult audience,” he reiteraged.

Yeah, I'm done there. The industry is putting disproportional amount of money toward adult audience as is. Like only Nintendo and Activision are making some serious AAA effort for younger audience.
Yeah, but I think what Cage means is games with more mature themes such as he explored in heavy rain. Stuff like loss,infidelity and depression. Perhaps he should have said mature games instead of games for aults then.
 

RM8

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Mar 11, 2012
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He's right in that we definitely need some more variety. I'm very sick of every major game out there just being about killing things.
I feel like there's plenty of variety, gaming isn't reduced to AAA shooters on PS360. There's plenty of racers, puzzles, platformers - it's just that they also don't try to "say anything". Because really, he needs to get over the fact that games aren't inherently designed with narrative in mind.

And really, as much as Heavy Rain has its place (like any other game) I don't want to see the industry shifting towards meh-movies trying to be games, or gameplay-anemic games trying to be films.

Stuff like loss,infidelity and depression. Perhaps he should have said mature games instead of games for aults then.
Loss, infidelity and depression? There's nothing adult about those themes, I reckon such games would be loved by tons of angry teens.
 

KirbyKid

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Aug 25, 2012
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That's one more person who doesn't appreciate gameplay for its art and depth and meaning. His bias/blind spot is obvious.

He misunderstands challenge. He misunderstands skill. He misunderstands abstraction. He misunderstand gameplay systems and the meaning they convey. He conflates meaning with storytelling.

*sigh* Looks like I have to discuss this in my next podcast. Anyone else game?
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
19,552
1
0
45
Space is the Place
#2 and the claim that "most people" don't want to master anything aka, actually play a game or learn something, seems to fly in the face of popular trends.

The mainstream population seems to adore games that are actually games. From Popcap, to World of Warcraft, even to something like Angry Birds and so-called simplistic mobile games. Hell, even "social" games such as Facebook stuff - even if those games are manipulative, they're simulating a person learning and being rewarded by mastery of a system.

Cage still seems stuck within his own disdain for "mere play". Perhaps he believes the average person is like himself, with a strange sense of detachment between a vaguely defined concept of intellectual challenge and the process of learning things.

Reading or watching an "artful" story is not the only way to be intellectually stimulated or challenged. Ironically, the framework presented seems to hinge on a stereotypical and even cynical definition of adulthood. The adult world and society would be far better if people were never conditioned to believe they should stop being curious, stop thinking, stop learning, and stop mastering new things. Personally, I think the continued popularity of genuine gamelike systems and experiences with the general public attests to this innate desire people have.

I feel like there's plenty of variety, gaming isn't reduced to AAA shooters on PS360. There's plenty of racers, puzzles, platformers - it's just that they also don't try to "say anything". Because really, he needs to get over the fact that games aren't inherently designed with narrative in mind.

And really, as much as Heavy Rain has its place (like any other game) I don't want to see the industry shifting towards meh-movies trying to be games, or gameplay-anemic games trying to be films.
When Cage speaks about this stuff I get the sense that he has compartmentalized a great many things as intrinsically "childish" and beneath adults. The problem is what he has tagged as childish. The idea that finding entertainment and satisfaction in learning a skill, a concept, and being challenged by such education is for children is incredibly biased and frankly bizarre. However, it does seem to tap into a common adult notion in western culture that stratifies and shapes society: children learn, then they become "serious" adults to go forth and do, the learning phase over. The way Cage frames things kinda makes it sound like he is painting the adult as too "tired" by the heavy weight of being an adult to care about such childish things as mere toys. His attitude is not unique, there are plenty of people who play games that would also wish to do away with things which annoy them, like game mechanics. And having to learn something new in order to play a game. As the gaming population ages, this thinking seems to creep further forward. See: the calls for everything to be as standardized as possible, claims that there is no more innovation, only iteration towards a single perfect form, etc.

Again though, these attitudes seem iconic of a certain strata of adults who are enthusiast game players; one wonders if it's literally a sign of burnout more than anything else. The so-called casual masses, or mainstream audiences, seem much more open to games as toys and interested in engaging play mechanics without assuming games are intrinsically about narrative. Or at least, narrative that merely mimics existing forms of storytelling. Pure games do often tell stories - the story of the player's experience, one act at a time.