Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Two styles of games.

What is the essential difference between "Euro" games and American games? I'm glad you asked. The split comes from World War II.

Europeans fought World War II on their own soil. It was their homes being destroyed by tanks and guns and bombs. This is why their games are about building, buying, and trading.

(I would have a quote here about how building things is better than blowing them up, but I couldn't find one.)

Americans fought World War II on foreign soil. The collateral damage happened to somebody else's country. Therefore, they like games about killing things and blowing things up.

The latter point is best summed up by General George S. Patton: "Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed."

When I started running Swiss format tournaments for That Company back in 1996, players didn't understand losing and continuing to play. Americans understand single elimination, that's how things are done. You lose, you're out. We are a brutal and unforgiving society.

You can see this dichotomy in action when a group of American gamers finish a fine round of games like Adel Verplichtet, Puerto Rico, and Princes of Florence... and then reach for a game of conquest like Risk or Axis & Allies. The urge to blow stuff up is strong in Americans, and we can't be without it for long.

We know, deep in our heart of hearts, that building, buying, and trading are for girly men and girly girls, and blowing up stuff is why those barrels are there in Doom.

(Read more about this important issue in this Geeklist. Which happens to be funny as hell.)

1 comment:

Jason said...

Interesting day to post an entry about "blowing up" and "building." That'll get you on some watch lists, I bet.

Interesting that this hasn't stopped Koreans from having all sorts of violent MMOs, though.