This is another interesting comparison between movies and video games. As is par for the course, video games lose.
I must thoroughly contest the author's point, as he's making the same mistake every critic and skeptic of the video game has made since Space War. They're comparing an established media form to a nascent one. It's akin to complaining that a toddler doesn't stack up to a valedictorian. Seriously, that three year old needs to get his act together.
I state it's an unfair comparison, and I mean so because people have forgotten that the same complaints being levied against Super Mario Bros can be turned upon many early but unequivocally important films. Take, for instance, the french film Le Voyage dans la Lune. Youth viewing it today will not, by far, have any reaction similar to that of those who viewed it back in 1902. Viewed through today's lens it's completely outdated, overcome by films that took its principles and surpassed it. So why do we even still know its name?
The truth ignored in the article is that films such as Le Voyage dans la Lune are breakthroughs, as is Super Mario Bros for video games. Eighty years from now people will still know about the intrepid plumber's first adventure even if Nintendo hits game over. The platformer's platformer may be completely outdated, but it's a snapshot of the progress of a media form whose importance can not be ignored.
So how many films from the first thirty-five years of cinema are recognized today as timeless? Looking at IMDb's top 250 films, I found all of six films that fall into that time period, ten if you boost it a couple of years. In fact, it's only when we fudge the range that we even get a film in the top 100.
This isn't to say that all films before the 1930s or 40s were bad, but that they suffer the same problems outlined in the article. They were the natural products of a young media form, and we remember those films not because they were timeless but out of nostalgia or recognition of achievement.
All of the video games today with few exceptions will feature similarly on the lists next century. People will recognize Super Mario Bros as a landmark title important to the development of the industry, but as little else. They'll laugh at Oregon Trail the same way we ridicule the old PSAs. Even the blockbusters of today, such as Spore, will occupy spot #217 on the lists of tomorrow.
It's a fair argument to say that at this exact point in time video games are still an undeveloped art form, particularly when compared to present day cinema and theater. That's perfectly reasonable. However, to misunderstand this as meaning that video games today are uninspired, or that video games in fifty years will continue the trend, is turning a blind eye to the nature of young media.