The article makes an interesting point, but I'm not so sure my fundamental rule of gaming needs to be "intuitive enough a 3-year old can enjoy it." Yes, too many current games are caricatures of the "let's fit 200 different controls on a 15 button controller and another 25 icons on the screen" mode of game design, that many of us long for the days of "run,jump,shoot" (and has made the Wii so popular) and extravagant cut scenes and excessive loading times have often ruined games ever since the days of grainy FMV on Sega CD. And of course game play issues, where failure and constant frustration is part of the equation - i.e. dying 50 times to beat a level or not being able to save a game in any place you want, thus forcing you to to take 20 minutes to replay a section of a game you've beat already, etc. have also made current games not as fun as they could be. But let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.
When done right, its possible to create a complex gaming experience that's also not needlessly complicated. Can a 3 year old pick up BioShock and enjoy it? Should they? Many consider it the best game of 2007, but I don't think it matters whether its "better" than say a classic game Space Invaders. I've had fun playing both, they are just different experiences. A good game doesn't need to cater to all - I'm perfectly happy with the occasional easy-to-pick-up game with simple, arcadey controls and other times I'm looking for something that takes a little longer to master, but might provide a more realistic or more intense experience.I'll play Burnout and Forza 2 or even go back to RC Pro Am. I'm really into NHL '08 now, but I'll go back to NHL '94 on genesis every now and then. There are games when I played when I was maybe 5,6 years old that I was content with having ran around the first level or so, that I've gone back as I've gotten older and beaten the difficult levels. Although I still can't beat Eco the Dolphin.
I think a lot of time, game makers get into trouble when they try to be all things to all people. Which unfortunately becomes the case when there is so much pressure to maximize profit as games become so expensive to make, and small developers are swallowed up by huge corporations. Sometimes choices, when possible, make a game better but plenty of times uneven difficulty levels, or sometimes just the overwhelming variety and # of decisions in a game leads to a poor overall experience. (It's like going into a restaurant with 100 different things on the menu, when all you really want is one good piece of steak.) However, diversity among games in the gaming market is good. Although I can certainly understand how many of today's games are imposing on young kids or older gamers who haven't really played since the days of Pac Man. (Try even explaining the xbox 360 controller to a non-gamer for instance.) Maybe it was a luxury for many of us, who grew up learning games within the confines of 2-dimensions and simple control pads like atari, nintendo, or in the arcades. Maybe the Wii is a good return to that.
But for me, I'll play games that are fun to me - not necessarily to a 3 year old or to a 30-year old reviewer. If anything, gamers should be demanding games are fun for themselves, and thinking critically about it, rather than trusting the industry or the gaming press to make their choices for them.