Just as narratives have global appeal, it seems that computer based games are globally accepted as play tools. Ive been doing some thinking about this, and the wider demographic that has been exposed to games thanks to smart phones now comprises people who are further down the socio-economic classification than before, and also more women are playing computer games than ever before.
Gaming is no longer the bastion of the american, male geek expressing his pent up testosterone in the virtual world.
So, whats the reason for the newfound love of games worldwide? First is the obvious. The new games that have made it really big are not on console but on phone / tablet. These devices have limited computing power, and hence the games too are simple to view and simple to play. Play times are short, generally, and you dont need to be genius to enjoy these games for a few minutes. Infact digital natives would remember similar games on commodore 64 and sinclair zx80, atari etc. Its almost a reprisal.
The second observation that i have may or may not make sense to a lot of people, and that is: computer games allow moral plays. Computer games reward good behaviour, and punish bad behaviour. Many succesful games are based on a quest (something akin to the heroes quest). Infact, all multistage games are quests of a sort, even if the back story is absent. By their quest based nature, and their inherent moral engines, games today are connecting with women, children as well as lower education individuals around the world.
I know grand theft auto went against this, and now some games allow you to play from the bad guys perspective, however, in my opinion, this will never be mainstream. Humans are wired to a moral economy. Like it or not.