by Conor Daugherty
"More than four decades after Pong, players are tackling a range of heady subjects including cancer, depression and alcoholism. Instead of pumping adrenaline, these "empathy games" use the videogame form to tell stories that are far more personal than the Hollywood tropes most big budget games still rely on.
"You now have at least two generations of people who have grown up with games and feel so strongly about them that it is part of their DNA to want to express themselves in that form," says Tracy Fullerton, a professor at the University of Southern California's Interactive Media & Games program. "The bandwidth [of videogame emotion] is usually tension and competition—a sense of aggression. That's changing now."
"Behind these games are big shifts in the gaming industry. With the top videogames now as expensive and risky as movies, many of the mid-tier game studios have gone out of business while the dominating survivors pare back the number of offerings and mass-produce sequels. At the same time, game-making software is now cheap and easy to use, allowing amateurs to easily create their own titles and distribute them online."