Let me tell you a story.

The people of the small village of Sand (so-called, because it is located in an arid region with little to look at except for the stuff) find it very difficult to grow food in their area, yet live very close to a mountain that captures enough moisture from the atmosphere to grow vegetation and the animals that feed upon it: a mighty forest which is their sole source of food.

Sand Mountain is very steep, of course, and very few of Sand’s residents are skilled enough climbers to scale it for food. Yet, they must survive – and so enough wood is acquired from the mountaintop forest to build great ladders so that any able person may scale these Sand Ladders to forage for their family. All is good for the people of Sand, yes?

No. For the activity on the mountainside has attracted a rather nasty species of snake, who will strike out at the people climbing to make them fall from their ladders and have to climb once more. Such has been the prevalence of these snakes over the years, that their legacy is to have the climbing equipment named ‘Snake Sand Ladders’.

Yes. Snake Sand Ladders. Snakes and ladders.

Now, I’m not implying here that every single videogame out there ever should lack a story (because I enjoyed Final Fantasy XII’s political double-crossing and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’s campfire-story qualities) but they don’t all need one. I wasn’t coaxed into playing games as a child with a description of the White and Black armies marching their pawns into the checkered fields of war to protect their kings from, uh, mating – nor do I need to be fed some rivalry about the evil X’s trying to dominate the nine island kingdoms by linking one coast to another before the righteous O’s do the same thing. I don’t need to know that Tetris blocks killed my father, and I certainly don’t need to watch an hour of ‘epic’ video footage before I’m allowed by the powers that be to shoot stuff with a gun.


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