Editorial: Pointless Games

I love pointless games. That is to say, I spend a great deal of my gaming time on games with such simplistic goals as “get lots of points” or “unlock the next item/level/whatever.” Now, perhaps these games should not be called entirely “pointless,” but they are pointless in that there is really no discernible story, plot, characters, and so on. My top three pointless games just so happen to be Super Stardust HD, Meteos, and Tetris DS.

I love exploding meteorite things!

I love exploding meteorite things!

Instead of playing a variety of games I have never played and are waiting to be played, I find myself instead occupying my time on the PS3 with this gem of a downloadable title. The music is fantastic. The graphics are fantastic. Most importantly, the game is simple enough for me to play while not being numbingly easy. The colors are subdued enough that I can explode rocks, ice, and gold without feeling like I may have a seizure at any moment– as is often the case when I play Geometry Wars.

Meteos was the fist game I bought for my DS. It is one of those games that is great to play with friends, or during brief intervals between class, or even while waiting in line somewhere. One level in Meteos takes only a few moments of stylus-meteos-launching-action and leaves me feeling like I have accomplished something. The fact that there is a variety of unlockable items, planets, and sounds, make me all the more willing to come back for more. Gotta unlock ’em all!

Tetris DS is another of those handheld games that are great for playing with friends or while waiting for the next episode of NCIS to start. Admittedly, I am not a talented Tetris player. In fact, I very rarely am able to clear more than 80 lines before I panic and everything falls apart. However, I keep coming back for more punishment in the hopes that someday I will reach that elusive 200-lines mark.

So, while the rest of the Lusipurr.com staff is busy playing serious games and bringing readers hardcore news, Thea is sitting in the background unlocking planets, buying items for her Webkinz, and wasting time that might otherwise be spent writing excellent articles.

0 comments on “Editorial: Pointless Games”

  1. The nice thing about such games is that it is like going back in time to the arcades of the past: Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Galaga, Centipede, and so on. Games don’t have to have a complex storyline with professional voice-acting and Hollywood-quality cinematics to be enjoyable–they just need to have a good design.

    Happily, games like SSHD combine the two admirably. :)

  2. Tetris DS is tied with Pokemon for my most played title on the system. It is the best version of the game.
    I understand your love entirely.
    It’s also why I love achievement points. Just like high scores in Mario and Tetris are “pointless”, your gamerscore is also “pointless”, but it’s a meta-high score. Reason for bragging rights.
    I’ll have to try out Geometry Wars…

  3. Super Stardust HD is a great game, and the new Pixel Junk game that is coming out looks fun as well.

  4. @Ethos: Geometry Wars is alright. I know Lusi really likes it, but the colors are really neon bright and all over the place… so if you are prone to headaches I wouldn’t recommend it, hahah.

    @Oyashiro: I’ve only played a little of Pixel Junk, but it seems really addicting and fun so I will have to pull myself away from SSHD to give it more of a chance, it seems.

  5. I wouldn’t call such games “pointless,” as they are still an exercise in one’s skill and/or reflexes. There are other games I would sooner classify as “pointless,” most of them of the luck-based variety (Peggle comes to mind immediately). About Tetris DS, I’m not exactly a fan of that version of the game, as is uses the same rule set as Tetris Worlds, which basically breaks the game by allowing you to spin the pieces forever when they reach the ground. Gimmie the old-school Tetris (GBC, SNES, PS1, DOS) any day.

  6. The NES/SNES iteration of Tetris is the best ‘classic’ version by far. Though, I am certainly appreciative of the DS translation.

  7. Part of me wishes pointless games didn’t exist; my “pointful” games backlog would get a lot more attention. That being said, PixelJunk games are just about the best waste of time out there, so much so that you don’t even realize you’re wasting your time. But you are. You definitely are.

    And NCIS, Thea? Seriously? Maybe the site should have an editorial on pointless TV shows.

  8. @Sand Wizard: I like pointless TV shows almost as much as I like my pointless games… but yes, if there were less of them around the other games waiting to be played might actually be played.

    But then again… games are for fun, so as long as I’m having fun there can’t be much harm in it, right. :)

  9. Wait, I assumed all games were “pointless.” I mean they’re just for entertainment value, right? I always figured all forms of entertainment were pretty pointless if you look at it from a “betterment of mankind” sense or something, but as long as you’re having fun, who cares if the game you’re playing has a story?

  10. @MasterChief: Fair enough. Sad as it is to say, though, I might be more likely to watch a Lifetime Original than NCIS.

    @DarthGibblet: If you approach a story-driven game with the right attitude (not the one you demonstrated in your post), then you might find yourself reflecting on it for days, weeks, or even months afterward. You cannot say the same for storyless games, which, I agree, are purely for entertainment. Furthermore, the idea that anything which doesn’t serve the “betterment of mankind” is automatically pointless makes me have seizures.

  11. @Sand Wizard: I’m not saying those things shouldn’t exist, don’t worry :F. Personally, I do prefer story games and the Final Fantasy series is one of my all time favories, I’m just saying that doesn’t make them more “worthy” of being called “pointy games” as SN so masterfully put it. I’m just saying the “point” of a game is to be enjoyable and to kill free time. That means whatever game you’re playing is, by definition, not pointless.

  12. The pointyness of certain games (albeit a firm minority) can extend well beyond the territory of time filler into the realm of personal development (though I do believe all “games” made exclusively to this end are complete rubbish). People who need Brain Training are well beyond saving to be sure, yet IMO games with sophisticated scenarios and/or translations can have substantial literary value. Further it has recently come to light that playing FPS’ can improve eyesight and depth perception

  13. @SN: hehe, man, I forgot about the Training-type games. You’re right, though, that’s a topic for another time.

    I guess I’ve just never really associated literary value with personal growth (although I will agree a good game story can have plenty literary value). Maybe I’ve just been unlucky in my choice of activities. I’ve never really run across any media (game, book, TV, movie, etc) that I’d classify as personal development. (Well, technically that’s not true, I’ve read textbooks that certainly weren’t fun to read, but hopefully contributed to some personal growth, but I think that’s a different category). Maybe I’m just not getting as much out of my media as I could be (or maybe I need to find textbooks with more pictures).

    In either case, though, I’m just saying there’s plenty of room for both categories of games in the market, and the pointless games will probably start getting more and more attention as time goes on thanks to the new deluge of casual gamers (although, for all my talk, I still refuse to buy any minigame collections :F).

  14. Well I do think growth in this area is hard to pinpoint and quantify, but anything that hones the intellect and expands your horizons is bound to have at least some effect. To an extent we are the sum of our experiences so anything that contributes toward this is bound to have some future bareing. Can you name a more succinct deconstruction of the work of Ann Rand than Bioshock? How many comtemporary books are released with a use of language as sophisticated as Vagrant Story of FFXII?

    Also I half suspect that for many of us rpgs and rts’ was our first step on the road to understanding the ecconomy and money management.

  15. @SN: Ayn Rand’s objectivist nonsense is the sort of barnum-bunkum balderdash that makes real Philosophers cringe. There are so many fallacies and baseless assumptions at the heart of it all, and yet it is continually propped up by a bunch of mindless parrots eager to do her evil bidding. Terrifying! Do not link that vile woman and her insane reasoning to Bioshock, sir!

    As for contemporary books with a language as sophisticated as that which we’ve seen from Team Ivalice, I have but one word for you: Twilight.

  16. I actually think the secret final boss of Bioshock 2 is Ayn Rand’s zombie-ghost. Either that or she’s an unlockable character. Maybe both.

    Are we saying that Twilight is the literary equivalent of a minigame collection? I think that’s a statement I can get behind.

  17. It will be her head in a glass jar mounted on mechanical spider legs.

    Well I’m sure if you did a survey of thirteen year old girls you would find that Twilight is the greatest literary masterwork/prepubescent mastebatory aid ever written.