Reboot the Game: I Don't Want to Save the World

The editors over at Bitmob are tired of video games that are based around "wish fulfillment, escapism, and power fantasies", and have taken it upon themselves to editorialize about other goals they'd like to see in future titles. Indie RPG Winter Voices is used as a shining example, while Fallout: New Vegas, The Witcher, Dragon Age II, and Fable III are all mentioned in some capacity:
After all, I'm just playing the badass of the group of badasses that do badass things -- again. How is this sort of power supposed to feel thrilling when it's the norm? Yes, within the context of the game, it might make sense: In The Witcher, say, it's your job to kill mythological creatures. And, ultimately, the game has to show that you've progressed and gained power somehow, right? But what does power mean to us, as players, when it's a given in almost every title we play?

It's with this mindset that I read about criticisms of DA2'²s lack of (epic scope) (saving the world, being a part of the elite grey wardens, etc.) with a tinge of annoyance. Really? That's a fault now? Why? It's one thing to criticize the aimlessness of the game -- I can see that, although I don't agree. Being a daughter of an immigrant family in the U.S., I know that going to a faraway, unknown land with the purpose of (making it) is every bit as amorphous as presented in the game, even though, yes, DA2 stops being about that fairly quickly. Shame! Like the folks over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I would have liked to play that game.

Games shouldn't all have to be about saving the day, or saving the world. I don't understand why that is a marker of validation, why that is a necessity for players to feel that a game is worth their time. Games can be about smaller, more intimate things. You don't have to wrap something like achievement in a grand scope; you don't have to make players literal gods to engage them. One of the most interesting games in the last few years has to be Winter Voices -- the premise is to get over your father's death. That's it. You're not stopping some crazy impending doom. You're not the descendant of a mythological god. You're not killing death itself. You're just...choosing how to best deal with the passing of a loved one.