thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower) cofounder and president Jenova Chen is upset with the idea that as people grow up they abandon video games. He dreams of a future where "everyone loves games" and they are a "respected" medium like film or music.
"Video games have always been a part of my life," Chen told Mashable in a new interview. "I always played games with my friends, but as I got older, my friends stopped playing."
"People still read novels, watched movies, listened to music. The fact most of my friends are abandoning games makes me feel sad," he added. "How can I help video games not just be for kids, and respected from people of all ages and genders? My dream is to make everyone love video games."
"The fact most of my friends are abandoning games makes me feel sad" -- Jenova Chen
Chen went on to say that video games too often only cater to genres that are most appealing to a young male audience instead of tapping into categories that can appeal to wider audiences. In order for video games, as a medium, to become "healthy" and "respected," developers need to expand into new genres, Chen argued.
"Look at the genres women like: a romantic comedy game doesn't exist. Few examples of a documentary game exist," Chen said. "What is the equivalent of a real drama game? They don't exist. Emotion with that complexity for a more mature, older audience are necessary to make medium like video games healthy, so it can be highly respected like the film industry."
For Chen, video games can be so much more than a simple distraction from the struggles of your daily life. In fact, he argues that video games, when appropriately designed, can help people cope with loss or even help expand their minds.
"These games have more meaning than just pleasure, or just a moment of escape," Chen said. "There is more power in these games when you are doing it right. I think certain types of feelings can heal and change people, can make their lives better. We want to make positive change to the human psyche worldwide, even if you just think it's just entertainment."
thatgamecompany is currently working on an unannounced game that it will self-publish. A release date for this project and details about platforms are TBA.