Because only books have that power.
A motion picture, or music, or television, they have to maintain a certain decorum in order to be broadcast to a vast audience. Other forms of mass media cost too much to produce to risk reaching only a limited audience. Only one person. But a book ... A book is cheap to bind and print. A book is as private and consensual as sex. A book takes time and effort to consume - something that gives a reader every chance to walk away. Actually, so few people make the effort to read that it's difficult to call books a "mass medium." No one really gives a damn about books. No one has bothered to ban a book in decades.
But with the disregard comes the freedom that only books have. And if a storyteller is going to write novels instead of screenplays, that's a freedom you need to exploit. Otherwise, write a movie. That's where the big money's at. Write for television.
But, if you want the freedom to go anywhere, talk about anything, then write books. That's why I wrote "Guts." Just a three-act short story based on true-life anecdotes.
People write to say this story is the funniest they've ever heard. People write to say it's the saddest they've ever heard. And "Guts" is by no means the darkest or funniest or most-upsetting story from the novel Haunted. Some I didn't dare read in public.
These are the places only books can go.
This is the advantage that books stilll have. This is why I write."
Reading this, I couldn't help but think games straddle the gulf between the breadth of mass media and the intimacy of books. Or rather, there is space for both in a way that isn't as supported in film/TV. Just as Haunted sits just down the shelf from The Da Vinci Code, so does Braid sit next to Battlefield 1943 on XBLA and The Path is beside Dark Void on Steam.
While not as cheap as a book, independent games can still be quite inexpensive to create. They can be exacting, requiring time and effort from the player. But most importantly, they have the freedom to be about whatever the creator wants. We exploit this freedom far too rarely.
Single-player games are private like books, intimate in a way most other media is not. The movie theatre is a shared experience, as are concerts. TV is shared live with spouses/roommates, discussed with friends/co-workers (and canned laughter even provides faux company). But by their very nature, books can only be consumed alone. And while a single-player game can be a shared experience, most often, I would wager it is not.
As Bruce Sterling said at the keynote of the Computer Game Developer's Conference way back in '91, "Follow your weird, ladies and gentlemen
. Forget trying to pass for normal." I think Bruce and Chuck are on to something.