Op-Ed Frank T. Rutherford
Op-Ed: Video Games Were Better When They Only Had One Button

If you see a barrel coming at you down some girders, what do you do? Well, I guess you have a lot of options. You could dodge to the side. You could pull out a machine gun and shoot it. You could call up the police and say, “Hey! A giant monkey is on the loose throwing barrels, and I am in mortal danger!” You have so many options that you might just freeze up and stand there as the barrel rolls over you and the giant monkey laughs and runs off with your girl.

Now let’s say that barrel is coming at you but you only have one option: jump. What are you going to do? You’re going to jump over that barrel and live.

And that’s why video games were much better when they only had one button. It was simple. You knew what to do. That button made you jump. Or in another game it made you shoot. What if you wanted to jump and shoot? Well, maybe you shouldn’t be so greedy. You don’t need to do everything in every game.

But today people don’t know that. They got their PS-Boxes with their controllers with eighty buttons on them. Holding that controller makes you feel like you’re at the controls of a space shuttle. What do you possibly need all those buttons for? You need a button to pull up your inventory? Inventory! If you want inventory, work at a warehouse (which I did, when I was eight). And you need another button to bring up a map? Is it really that important to know exactly where in the mushroom kingdom you are? You’re pathetic.

But me, I’m a simple man. I wear a hat. I destroy what I don’t understand. And I play good video games where you only have one button that does one thing. And while you’re just standing there sorting your potions, checking how far you are from the next dungeon, and picking which of your fifty weapons to use, I’m charging ahead, jumping over barrels, and I am going to kill that monkey.

But not by shooting him. That is not an option. I’m going to kill him somehow with jumping.

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