John Carmack has admitted a certain amount of nostalgia for the simpler days of gaming, and admires the ‘pure’ gameplay of mobile titles.
The computer graphics guru that first made 3D gaming possible through the vertical scanline scaling algorithm employed in Wolfenstein 3D, and this innovation propelled the first person shooter into the market maker it is today.
Twenty years later Carmack has told Ars Technica he looks to Mobile gaming for the sort of ‘pure’ gameplay that made titles like Quake III so fun.
“I was really happy that when mobile came along with the more ‘pure’ games, they didn’t have to be a $50 game that had man-centuries in them," he said.
"In Cut The Rope, you have the rope dynamics and that’s still really great. You can have these small things that cost people a couple bucks."
It’s not just the price and gameplay that appeals, but also the fact the games make fewer demands on a user’s time.
“That’s really nice—rather than justifying a $60 game that you’re going to be playing it for a dozen or more hours,” said Carmack.
“I don’t have a lot of free time and I don’t have 50 hours for Skyrim. That’s not to take anything away from the massive titles, but it’s great to have this broad spectrum of gaming, and each one has its own interest on the development side of things.”
In addition, Carmack is a parent, and he says he takes an active interest in his kids gaming, and is interested in making something more family-friendly.
“I do wish the games that I made were more things that I could share with my sons," he said.
"I’ve often thought that it would be nice to make something that’s family friendly, like another Commander Keen, but that’s always a tough thing to do."
The creative and educational aspects of games like Minecraft ,of which Carmack’s eldest son is a fan, have him hoping for the best.
"I hold out hope that there can be positive aspects to the games,” he continued.
“It’s never going to be the central focus, but the games are there to be fun.”
This isn’t to say Carmack is suddenly against the violence in games his tech first made possible.
He says he considers the controversy around games like Doom and Quake to be a point of pride.
One of the things that I was always proud of was when Doom was a Congressional prop,” laughed Carmack.
“I always felt that we had a strong moral high ground; there is no moral ambiguity when you are fighting demons and zombies.
Even so, Carmack says he feels a certain amount of discomfort at the road modern games have taken.
“I did have some qualms when I saw Grand Theft Auto, saying that I would never insinuate that it ‘should not’ be available to people but it wasn’t something that I felt really good about,” he explained.
“Rage – we had people in it, which was something jarring. But I liked it better when we were shooting nothing but demons and zombies."