I thought that the perfect introduction to me would be a brief history of what I have experienced as a gamer. Most notably would be the shifting dynamic of both the market and what it actually means to be a gamer in our glorious industry. I’m not going to pull any punches about what I’ve been through, so if you’re a hardcore gamer who has no opinion on who did or is doing it better, you should move on to reading about who sold more consoles this week.
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. Hollywood to be more exact. I’ve been surrounded by fake people and drug addicts most of the 28 years I’ve been on this Earth. That said, I would gladly hang out with those sycophants over some of the senior employees at Gamestop or EA. Why? Simply put, they are the reason that the fun in video games is going the way of the Dodo.
I’m worried that a few of my ilk and I will be the only people who remember the TRUE console wars between Nintendo/Sega in the early-90s, Nintendo/Sony in the late-90s, and Microsoft/Sony in the early-2000s. Since about 2005, the gaming industry has shifting into this cavalcade of non-monumental pseudo-competition. Essentially feigning a competitive edge while behind closed doors they are exchanging both ideas and briefcases full of Benjamin Franklin coupons.
Things like DLC, Pay-To-Play, Subscription Fee, and Pre-Order Bonus were unheard of in the heyday of our current gaming empire. Billions of dollars exchanging hands, while a game still comes out with bugs and has have a “Day 1 Patch” in order for it to run properly. Back in the 90s if a game came out for the SNES or Genesis and it was a lackluster title, it STAYED a lackluster title. The only perk we got were codes that we could put in to make the game somewhat playable because you could beat the game without any effort.
Which brings me to my next point: STORY. I’ve been writing stories since I was a wee lad in kindergarten back in 1989, so about 25 years ago…now I feel old. Anyway, a lot of the stories that have crept their heads into the video game arena have been rehashes of previous stories and/or follow an A-B-C formula to completion. What happened to the creativity? Even people who made a mint with their creativity (Square Enix/Kojima/Nintendo) are scraping the last morsels of creativity out of their respective studios. Now notice that I didn’t mention any US/Canadian/European studios, that’s because most of those studios have been rehashing the same games (Call of Duty/EA Sports/Assassin’s Creed) since the first nerd told the first geek that they cracked a smile while playing it. THANK OUR LORD AND SAVIOR SUPER MARIO for studios like Rockstar Games and Valve who absolutely KILL the story aspect of gaming.
So yeah. Make denser games and stop charging us $30 extra for stuff you held back. If this cycle continues, it may spell the end of people taking video games even remotely seriously, which would suck for the general populous. Of course, I say that as I sit here with my PS4 and my glee over the pretty graphics. BUT GRAPHICS DOES NOT A GOOD GAME MAKE. Graphics are nice, but I and many others are captivated by the flawed design of the characters. We want emotional connection before we want to gaze onto the uncanny valley of realism. Give me liberty or give me death? NAY! Give me emotion and give me life. Give me a new god to pray to at night. Give me a reason to hope that my last days on this Earth are AFTER release date. Give me hope and I’ll give you everything.