Sabina is obviously right:
What I sometimes wonder, though, is if filmic storytelling is a massive red herring, and games by their nature have regained some of what movies have lost out of the literature toolkit. Like, maybe ppl are using/emulating the wrong benchmark? In a more Occam’s Razor sense than “games are a new art and we must invent a new aesthetic language by which to judge them!!” Most of the “literary” novels I read don’t have a proper plot in the movie sense. Like this Bret Easton Ellis book, Less Than Zero, it is all numina. The protagonist does nothing but drive around L.A. and go to parties, and the mood screws itself tighter and tighter via cryptic messages on billboards and newspaper articles about bizarre crimes and snatches of song lyrics… Or a high-tech version of Nabokov’s proto-HTML Pale Fire, where one always has the choice of not reading the footnotes.
Well, not about the footnotes, like fuck that’s a choice. :D
But it’s definitely a more useful way of looking at things. There’s a special exemption for Call of Duty, which is trying very hard to be just a movie; even there they have to sell it in the same box with a close-to-pure sport, for legitimacy.
All in all, though, I’ve become more permissive about categorizing things. Once upon a time I had strong opinions about things like “is Zelda an RPG?” or “is Star Wars science fiction?” (young me says: both no!) but I’ve pretty much given up. There’s not a lot to gain from drawing fine distinctions that don’t really hold up. Same with “video games”: pretty much anything goes. If pressed I guess I’d require a single input somewhere after the thing begins.
As if what I say matters! I’m pretty much just acknowledging the status quo here.
But there’s a massive variety of interactive entertainments, and I’m kind of tickled that the boundaries of the space are defined by indies in all directions, from Dear Esther (to bring it back to Kelly, lol) to Dwarf Fortress. The big commercial games are a little more conservative, but it’s not all big dumb action movies; EA is making a killing selling imaginary furniture.
I’m also starting to appreciate that Venn diagram (okay, not quite that one) a little more, and focusing on what I like ∩ what I’m good at—Halo isn’t really my thing, so me trying to figure out how to make a better version of it doesn’t do anybody any good. Looting it for useful pieces is something else entirely.
I kind of hate the device of using your younger self as a strawman, by the way. But it’s too easy.