Not to say that I endorse war, or believe it to be fun. But I’ve been playing Battlefield 2142 lately and it’s pretty freaking sweet. I don’t care what the ratings said when it came out; I have lots of fun playing it, just like I did with BF1942 and 2.
I think the thing that’s so hooking (I say hooking and not addicting because whenever a game is “addicting”, people freak out and send you to rehabilitation) about games like 2142 is the ranking system. Needn’t I say, it’s the same deal with MMORPG’s — it’s the feel of being rewarded. It’s what helps you get through the not-so-fun but still not-so-horrible parts of the game like grinding — the thought that it’s all worth it because next level you get so-and-so new spell, or next promotion you get to choose a new weapon.
I admit that it’s a shortcut to hooking people in (a game that’s good at heart should be fun all the time no matter what), but I don’t disrespect any companies for taking it, because hey — it’s a tough crowd, and if you can make a game that people will play, that’s what you do. Plus, it’s not so different than real life — work hard and you will be rewarded. Not that I’m saying games should be like life, because that’s the opposite of why we play them — but it’s just not as crazy a concept as we might think.
Speaking of, to reward you for reading this far into the post (or maybe for just scrolling past this cah-RAHZY blob of text you saw), here’s an xkcd comic. I love these comics’ relations to math and intellect without losing ties to pure humor (assuming you can get the comic).