It’s easy to get caught up in this almost self reflective and insular nature of what games are and in turn what we think they should always be. I see this as destructive to the growth and potential depth of video games and all interactive forms of entertainment. There is a lot we can learn from other mediums or other separate parts of life, be they academic or experiential.
It’s key to understand the original points of inspiration which an art form draws upon because of how influential and pervasive this influence may be. As an example, a game may borrow the concept of zombies from a film. This is not innately a bad thing but when other games only self reference other games you may find yourself surrounded by a market full of games that are at best fundamentally the same but only superficially different.
It’s a problem that games are certainly not alone in facing but it takes a keen observation of the underlying cultural touchstones that are so pervasive. So what can we do? Are we powerless to stop this? No, I don’t think so at all. The best way to combat this is to expose ourselves and those we work alongside to as diverse a variety of material as we can in life, whether that be books, plays, hobbies or academic studies like philosophy or economics.
It’s that constant and ever present awareness of things around us that can teach us as we live our lives. To me this mindset will overcome any incumbent way of thinking regardless of medium or field.