So studying “video games themselves” isn’t [complicated]? All the social science projects and behavioral research into games and violence and/or aggressive behavior as well as their potential cognitive learning benefits and rhetorical/theoretical relationships between players and virtual worlds is all tantamount to some implied catch-all screw-off drug trip? (Not that I agree with the implications analogue here in terms of the oft and unimaginatively scapegoated Pink Floyd.)
Anyone care to tell that to academics like Ian Bogost and Edward Castranova and Henry Jenkins? All the folks working not just in game design, but the study of ludology and/or narratology? Game luminaries like Will Wright and Peter Molyneux and Shigeru Miyamoto, who’ve made it their business (never mind quite a bit of cash) to figure out what players are thinking and feeling when they play?