Harold Goldberg, author of a new history of video games called All Your Base Are Belong to Us, makes the claim that after spending 100 hours playing certain games, “you’ll almost feel as though you’ve read a great work of prose”, comparing games to novels. Salon, which ran an interview with Goldberg, seems to agree, announcing in its headline, “They’ve become sophisticated, beautiful – and as smart as literature.”
Anyone who make would such a bizarrely illiterate claim—be it the editors of Salon or Harold Goldberg—has all of his work in media studies ahead of him. Authors of such a statement would change their minds if they spent three weeks in a 111 course in communication theory.
Marshal McLuhan’s maxim, “the medium is the message”, is not merely some clever quip or cute exhibition of wordplay. It is a foundational principle for understanding media and technology.