Has anyone developed a video game as elegant as Go?
I'm old. I'm so old I feel like I should insert an "I'm so old ..." joke here. You know the kind. "I'm so old Millard Fillmore was my paperboy." If you don't know who Millard Fillmore was, don't worry. I'm sure polling would indicate that most people don't. A paperboy, in case that's a mystery too, was a kid who delivered newspapers via bicycle.
If you don't know what a bicycle is, I can't help you.
The reason I'm pointing out how old I am is that I am absolutely, positively, not the target audience for AAA games. I've never held a game controller. I'm aware of the names of popular mainstream video games, because many people I know on social media are involved in them in degrees ranging from Facebook games to hardcore shoot-em-ups.
I do play online games though. I play one Facebook sword and sorcery game (Castle Age), a retro game (a flash version of Pacman), one android game (Desert Golf), and, most importantly for the question I'm about to ask, the ancient Asian board game variously called "Go", "Baduk", or "Wei Chei".
Of the games I've listed, Go is the one that makes my life richer.
The community aspect of social media games can be satisfying, and Pacman makes me nostalgic for the arcade game installed in a bar across the street from a factory where I worked in the early 1980s.
But Go is in a different league. It requires concentration, study, skill development, and the cultivation of a strategic sense. Go is at least as complex in strategic potential as chess, but has an amazingly simple set of rules. Put in computer programming terms, Go is the lisp of the gaming world. Put in martial arts lexicon, it's Aikido.
Go is played on a 19x19 grid. The two players place stones at the intersections of the grid lines, and attempt to surround the stones of their opponent. Beyond that, there really aren't many more rules, but the enormous number of possible approaches have sustained interest in the game since at least the 4th century B.C.
So I have a question for those of you who are knowledgeable about the overall state of the video game industry. Is there a video game comparable in strategic possibility to Go (or chess, for that matter)? If not, are there game developers who aspire to create games with enough tactical and strategic depth that they stand the test of time?
Current tools for building virtual worlds should create the possibility for games even richer than Go or chess. The "board size" allowed by those virtual worlds could be infinite, and the landscape could even be self-modifying.
My old-guy sense of the state of video gaming may be off-base, but what I've seen in the mainstream is analogous to moviemakers recycling the plot of Road House for every movie, changing the locale and costuming, but keeping the same plot elements.
This is a serious question.
Am I wrong? Are there video games as strategically solid as the best of the games developed hundreds of years ago using only pebbles and wooden planks?
If so, point them out to me, and I'll give them a try.