E for Everyone, Except Me

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Archon:
Publisher Note 10: E for Everyone, Except Me

It's tough to be excited about E3 when the industry has passed you by.

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The Video game industry has nobody but themselves to blame for their graphics fetish.

Nobody demanded that games look ultra hyper realistic. Game developers found that improving graphics was faster and took less research than improving actual game mechanics. They created the beast and are finding now that it never stops getting bigger.

So yeah. I'm with you, I 'still' play Master of Orion II, I have it from GOG and I can download it anywhere I get the hankering for it (love that service). UFO was one of those games that was so good it hurt my insides, it could be so difficult it was infuriating, but the sheer breadth of the game was something that infatuated me.

Unfortunately I didn't learn of Morrowind until well after Oblivion. So I can't say much about that. I may someday go back and play it.

In the end I suspect most game megacorporations are going to extend themselves to a point of non sustainability and they will collapse. New smaller innovative companies will take over, and this exact cycle that began in the 90's leading up to today will happen again with these small companies losing sight of what could truly make them money and eventually failing.

That's just my theory at least.

tautologico:

Dexiro:
Maybe we should return to N64-PS2 graphics, maybe with some modern game design applied to SNES style games ;D

So the solution to "they don't make the games I like with cutting-edge technology anymore" is "no one shall have games made with cutting-edge technology anymore"?

(I know you weren't necessarily serious, but some people do say or imply this seriously as a "solution").

Isn't this exactly what nintendo chose to do with the Wii?
Granted, that's roughly gamecube level graphics, but essentially, if you're a Wii developer, you work with 'outdated' graphics.
And that was done intentionally by all accounts, since there's no actual reason why the Wii couldn't have been just as powerful as the 360/PS3...

Meh the industry pased me buy when they switched from making games for hobbyists and fans to drooling fan boys of the Xbox generation...then again the change over just ended there but really started in the PS2/N64/DC days.

theultimateend:

The Video game industry has nobody but themselves to blame for their graphics fetish.

Nobody demanded that games look ultra hyper realistic. Game developers found that improving graphics was faster and took less research than improving actual game mechanics. They created the beast and are finding now that it never stops getting bigger.

Uh, sorry but... nobody demanded better graphics? The industry was driven to get better and better graphics for no real reason?

It's an industry. Companies want to make money. If people didn't buy good graphics, the companies wouldn't go after them. What's all the fetish with Crysis then? Why did a lot of people criticize the Wii for not having the latest graphics?

You may not care about graphics, but a lot of people obviously do. (Not my exact case, though. I do like good graphics, but not over gameplay).

CrystalShadow:

tautologico:

Dexiro:
Maybe we should return to N64-PS2 graphics, maybe with some modern game design applied to SNES style games ;D

So the solution to "they don't make the games I like with cutting-edge technology anymore" is "no one shall have games made with cutting-edge technology anymore"?

(I know you weren't necessarily serious, but some people do say or imply this seriously as a "solution").

Isn't this exactly what nintendo chose to do with the Wii?
Granted, that's roughly gamecube level graphics, but essentially, if you're a Wii developer, you work with 'outdated' graphics.
And that was done intentionally by all accounts, since there's no actual reason why the Wii couldn't have been just as powerful as the 360/PS3...

"Intentionally", yes, sure. I don't think Nintendo left the Wii with its current graphics capabilities by accident. "Ooops, we forgot to add some graphics chips!". The question is the reason for this. There are many possibilities.

Also I don't see the Wii catering to niche gamers.

More developers need to do what Runic did with Torchlight. Smaller games with shorter development time and in turn smaller sales price. Depending on the niche you are trying to court (hack-and-slash dungeon crawler for Torchlight) you can make more or less money and try to build on top of that. Putting the development tools in the hands of the players can also help create content for free and prolong your game's life span.

As for people saying we don't care about graphics, maybe a few of us who are posting on this very topic don't care but lets not forget about all those people that are making comparison videos between Xbox 360 and PS3 to see which one has better graphics, or count the number of pixels on screen to see what is the real resolution of the game.

The mass audience, the people who are hanging around gamefaqs and the gamespot forums, live and die by those numbers and pixel numbers. Hell, those "oh so scary" casual gamers some of you seems to hate so much care a lot less about graphics than the "real" hardcore gamers.

Stardock still manage to create amazing games for under $1,000,000.

tautologico:

CrystalShadow:

tautologico:

Dexiro:
Maybe we should return to N64-PS2 graphics, maybe with some modern game design applied to SNES style games ;D

So the solution to "they don't make the games I like with cutting-edge technology anymore" is "no one shall have games made with cutting-edge technology anymore"?

(I know you weren't necessarily serious, but some people do say or imply this seriously as a "solution").

Isn't this exactly what nintendo chose to do with the Wii?
Granted, that's roughly gamecube level graphics, but essentially, if you're a Wii developer, you work with 'outdated' graphics.
And that was done intentionally by all accounts, since there's no actual reason why the Wii couldn't have been just as powerful as the 360/PS3...

"Intentionally", yes, sure. I don't think Nintendo left the Wii with its current graphics capabilities by accident. "Ooops, we forgot to add some graphics chips!". The question is the reason for this. There are many possibilities.

Also I don't see the Wii catering to niche gamers.

Sure, there are many possibilities, but the one Nintendo repeatedly mentions is a combination of "graphics aren't important", and "It keeps game development costs from getting out of control."
Make of that what you will, but there are actual comments from the execs at Nintendo about this...

As for niche titles... Depends on the niche. The number of adventure games I've seen for the wii, or for that matter, some of the obscure titles nobody ever talks about...
Granted, it's not turn-based strategy, or some other genres, but there are more niche games on the wii than you might think.
Also a few that don't even use motion controls at all. (classic controller... Heh.).
But, the existence of such games is of course totally obscured under the mountains of shovelware and 'casual' stuff everyone always gets so worked up about.

Scrumpmonkey:
Stardock still manage to create amazing games for under $1,000,000.

Stardock are an excellent example of focused niche development. They've identified their market and work to service that market alone instead of chasing trends and hits which has built them a lot of goodwill from their target market. They also seem to be doing well enough that they focus on the money they are making (and how they're making it) rather than the money they aren't making and coming up with crazy schemes to obtain it.

I'm sort of in agreement.

I find the current industry a bit ridiculous, personally. Whilst we do have a surge in indie developers with some of the best "sleeper hits" of the past few years being indie games, such as World of Goo or The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom or otherwise, I find it a sad sight that games have to have such a high budget for what now seems to be smaller and smaller releases. BioShock 2, multiplayer exempted, was a smaller game than BioShock, Mass Effect 2 felt smaller than Mass Effect 1, Oblivion feels smaller than Morrowind, and so forth.

When I put 30 down for a PC RPG now, I get maybe a 20-30hr campaign at most, often with limited replay value. But go back 10-20 years, and you've got these huge titles like the Might & Magic series, Ultima, Baldur's Gate 1+2, Icewind Dale 1+2 and many more. They would give countless hours of game time, especially the oft-overlooked example of TES2: Daggerfall, one of the largest, if not the largest, game worlds in existence.

Perhaps part of it is due to gaming now finding itself in a position it's never been in before, one that I don't think even the NES truly found itself in. Almost every family in the Western world will have gaming in their leisure time in some form, whether it's a shared console, a PC in the house, kids at a friend's place or otherwise. It's something hard to get away from now, and because of the growth, the industry has had to change. Many people don't want 100hr epic RPGs nor platformers that are shirt-tearingly frustrating. They want a game they can pick up and play, whether it's something like the Halo series, the Sims, Far Cry or other wise.

I've been gaming for the most part of my 20 years of life, and I have to say I suck at older games. The mindset you need to play them just doesn't exist anymore, there's no (or very few) games that help you develop it. You get so used to instant gratification, achievements, save games, ways to log your process, automatic mapping systems and so forth - Give your average RPG player something like Realms of Arkania 3 and I bet within 20 minutes they'll be screaming in anger.

Fantastic article my man.

Myself, I'm the type of game who likes my games tall or small. I love the premium content, I love the indie content.

Hell, I love the re-releases and the demakes, like Megaman 9 and 10. It's easy for me to evolve with the industry, it's been around longer than I've been alive. I can't picture my life without some kind of gaming in it.

coldalarm:

I've been gaming for the most part of my 20 years of life, and I have to say I suck at older games. The mindset you need to play them just doesn't exist anymore, there's no (or very few) games that help you develop it. You get so used to instant gratification, achievements, save games, ways to log your process, automatic mapping systems and so forth - Give your average RPG player something like Realms of Arkania 3 and I bet within 20 minutes they'll be screaming in anger.

I was there in the old days and, to be honest, it was not all good. It's not that we are used to instant gratification, but the old games were very often frustrating.

As I said, there's a lot of nostalgia there. People tend to remember the past fondly, especially the times when they were young and impressionable.

I'm not saying games are better in everyway now. But there a lot of things that are better than they were back in the day. You lose some, you gain some, that's the medium evolving.

CrystalShadow:

tautologico:

Quotes quoting quotes...

Sure, there are many possibilities, but the one Nintendo repeatedly mentions is a combination of "graphics aren't important", and "It keeps game development costs from getting out of control."
Make of that what you will, but there are actual comments from the execs at Nintendo about this...

As for niche titles... Depends on the niche. The number of adventure games I've seen for the wii, or for that matter, some of the obscure titles nobody ever talks about...
Granted, it's not turn-based strategy, or some other genres, but there are more niche games on the wii than you might think.
Also a few that don't even use motion controls at all. (classic controller... Heh.).
But, the existence of such games is of course totally obscured under the mountains of shovelware and 'casual' stuff everyone always gets so worked up about.

Yeah, it's funny. I remember when the Sega Genesis was big and then Nintendo came with a competitor, the Super NES. I remember how they sold the SNES on having better graphics than the Genesis (sprite scaling/rotation/Mode7 was what everyone talked about). Yeah, "graphics aren't important", Nintendo, sure.

I just want more TBS games. Where have they call gone? :(

tautologico:

CrystalShadow:

tautologico:

Quotes quoting quotes...

Sure, there are many possibilities, but the one Nintendo repeatedly mentions is a combination of "graphics aren't important", and "It keeps game development costs from getting out of control."
Make of that what you will, but there are actual comments from the execs at Nintendo about this...

As for niche titles... Depends on the niche. The number of adventure games I've seen for the wii, or for that matter, some of the obscure titles nobody ever talks about...
Granted, it's not turn-based strategy, or some other genres, but there are more niche games on the wii than you might think.
Also a few that don't even use motion controls at all. (classic controller... Heh.).
But, the existence of such games is of course totally obscured under the mountains of shovelware and 'casual' stuff everyone always gets so worked up about.

Yeah, it's funny. I remember when the Sega Genesis was big and then Nintendo came with a competitor, the Super NES. I remember how they sold the SNES on having better graphics than the Genesis (sprite scaling/rotation/Mode7 was what everyone talked about). Yeah, "graphics aren't important", Nintendo, sure.

Mhm. But that was then, this is now.

Look at it from nintendo's perspective;
The NES was, by the standards of the day an outdated, and underpowered piece of hardware. (the 'good' stuff were things like the Amiga and so on.)
Sega then forced them into an arms race with the genesis.
So, the Snes was 'better', and that seemed to work.

But look at what happened after...

N64 - sold on it's 'great' graphics/ 64 bit Cpu, powerful. - lost out by a considerable margin to the playstation, which was in some ways less capable. (though not in others.)

Gamecube - The least successful console of the last generation, not counting the dreamcast. The gamecube, by some accounts was more powerful than the PS2, but it lost. The Xbox was even more capable, but that too wasn't a success... But then, it was completely new and somewhat unexpected.

Honestly, after 2 failures, and one close call (the Snes only just beat out the genesis/mega drive), you can't claim Nintendo hasn't had the time to see that simply creating a more powerful console with better graphics is actually going to get you anywhere...

Good article. What pisses me off though is that I just began playing Half life and I found it perfectly acceptable in graphics. WHY can't customers realize that games can still be good even when you can count the pixels?

tautologico:

I was there in the old days and, to be honest, it was not all good. It's not that we are used to instant gratification, but the old games were very often frustrating.

As I said, there's a lot of nostalgia there. People tend to remember the past fondly, especially the times when they were young and impressionable.

I'm not saying games are better in everyway now. But there a lot of things that are better than they were back in the day. You lose some, you gain some, that's the medium evolving.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I do like how gaming is now in a way. I like how you don't have to sit down for hours to just even learn how to play a game. The advent of 3D graphics (not 3D-with-the-glasses) has really helped games become more accessible and fun. I, personally, found the 2D Zelda games near impossible, yet the 3D ones I'm pretty much fine with - just as an example.

I do agree there are a lot of games subject to the rose-tinted glasses, such as Fallout 1 and 2, but they're there for a reason. I honestly can't do either of those two games, but I had no problems with Fallout 3. I moved onto the earlier two after it, and I think franchise "reboots" in the form of games like FO3 are important for keeping the old games alive. If just a handful of people went back and tried FO 1+2, that's an unintended victory, IMHO. Gaming wouldn't be what it is without titles like that, and I think it's important that players experience the roots of gaming.

I stopped being a "hard core" gamer when I realized that to play the latest games would cost me more than a car payment. I kept my car and stopped playing.

There are a lot of people here proclaiming that the end of the industry is nigh, but I actually think that it's far from it.

Though very few game companies acknowledge this fact, there are thousands upon thousands of people with the sentiments expressed in this article. They don't care about how flashy their main character's biceps are, nor do they cast their dollar votes based on how pretty the explosions in a game are. They care about a deep storyline, complex gameplay, and an overall richer experience than can be found in mainstream games today.

In terms of technology, the industry is just about technologically as far as it can go in terms of photorealistic graphics. Just observe the trends. Virtual Boy aside, when was the last time before 2006 that a new console was made WITHOUT the main drive to buying it being "the graphics are better"?

Though I personally find the Wii to be the worst of the current-gen systems on all fronts, I have to give Nintendo credit for avoiding the brick wall towards which Microsoft and Sony were headed. They realized that any more graphical improvement past the Xbox 360 or PS3 would be marginal at best and entirely inefficient.

I just finished Super Mario Galaxy 2, and honestly the graphics were just as good, if not better than, most newer games I've played on the 360/PS3. Photorealistic the game was not, but it succeeded because of an artistic charm that Gritty-Warzone-in-Random-Earth-like-Planet just doesn't offer anymore. As such, I don't think any enthusiasts would really deny Super Mario Galaxy 2 just because "the graphics suck". Not only does graphical technology have no room to advance, but in some cases the lack of it is unnoticeable.

Microsoft and Sony are just now realizing this fact. The sudden genesis of Kinect and PlayStation Move are blatant evidence of this. Instead of graphics, the two companies are now focusing on gameplay "innovations" with their respective consoles. The advent of 3-D doesn't require any extra graphical costs, either, and it sure doesn't improve the graphics themselves. Instead, the focus is now on new and deep experiences rather than just flashy ones.

Meanwhile, the financial and temporal cost of creating a game with current-gen graphics will continue to decline. Think about it; anyone with Microsoft Paint and enough patience could recreate the art of the early Final Fantasy games on their own today. By the same token, a similarly low amount of effort effort will be required to make photorealistic (by today's standards, anyway) games in the future.

When development costs once again decline (within the next 10 years, undoubtedly), those niche games will be created and they'll most likely encounter great success. We already see a bit of this on the DS; the simple graphics on the platform bring with them extremely low development costs, and this handheld has seem some of the best games of all time because of it.

In just a few years, the "gameplay over graphics" crowd will get their wish. No worries.

I couldn't agree more.

It pains me that nobody wants to make an MMORPG unless they believe it'll make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.* I want a little uncertainty... some randomness. I'm so sick of MMO's that are all about DPS, buffs, debuffs, etc.

I don't want to add up stats in a spreadsheet or try to figure out what each of those 300 stat mod icons under my HAM bar represent. No, I want to explore and be taken into another world for a couple of hours at a time. Unfortunately for me, my kind of game doesn't make stacks of cash; it only does "pretty good."

Seriously, I still think Microsoft should turn Excel into an MMORPG. It works for WoW, so why not Excel? You can all join my guild, the Order of the Column, as we battle against the evil Guild of Rows in cells A:1 through G:5.

* Putting aside the many things they've done wrong over the years, one could argue that SOE tries to keep niche games running as long as they break even (PotS, Vanguard) and despite the fact that I miss the old SWG (lots), most SWG-haters would be pretty amazed at how much has been added during the past 5 years. Still, the point remains: where are the games I want to play?

Archon:

The Schwarz:
Basically what you're saying is "I want to have my cake and eat it too".

You say you want big, blockbuster, multi-billion-dollar productions, targeted at your specific niche. And *many* of them, to boot. Oh, and they should also be innovative and original, of course.

That's like saying "I think Hollywood should make more Zombie Apocalypse movies, but not B movies; I want them to be real, fancy productions. And also, I think we need some *new* material in the Zombie Apocalypse genre". I mean, I would definitely be happy if that'll happen, but it's not realistic or feasible.

But that was my point: It's not realistic or feasible, even though I'd like it to happen. I even provided a mathematical explanation as to why it's not realistic or feasible. So I'm not sure if you are just agreeing with me, or criticizing me for foolishly not grasping the premise of my own article.

But it *IS* feasible to have well-crafted, reasonably priced niche titles. There are plenty of them out there, many of them low-cost or free. Games like Altitude, Mega Man 10, Spelunky, and La Mulana.

Amazing next-gen graphics and sound are hardly necessary to make a good, marketable niche game, just as cutting-edge FX aren't necessary for a good film. Case-in-point: Would you rather watch Alone in the Dark, or Shaun of the Dead?

As I mentioned earlier, there's a place for AAA titles with AAA budgets (LOTR), but they're hardly the end-all and be-all of entertainment.

theultimateend:
The Video game industry has nobody but themselves to blame for their graphics fetish.

Nobody demanded that games look ultra hyper realistic. Game developers found that improving graphics was faster and took less research than improving actual game mechanics. They created the beast and are finding now that it never stops getting bigger.

So yeah. I'm with you, I 'still' play Master of Orion II, I have it from GOG and I can download it anywhere I get the hankering for it (love that service). UFO was one of those games that was so good it hurt my insides, it could be so difficult it was infuriating, but the sheer breadth of the game was something that infatuated me.

Unfortunately I didn't learn of Morrowind until well after Oblivion. So I can't say much about that. I may someday go back and play it.

In the end I suspect most game megacorporations are going to extend themselves to a point of non sustainability and they will collapse. New smaller innovative companies will take over, and this exact cycle that began in the 90's leading up to today will happen again with these small companies losing sight of what could truly make them money and eventually failing.

That's just my theory at least.

When I hear "breadth of the game," it brings to mind this image:

This is exactly my feelings on the industry, almost word for word.

Good Article.
But one that leaves me with a question;
Why are high end games more expensive than high end games of yesteryear?

I have worked as a programmer for the past 15 years or so, full time for the past 10.
Tasks that are simple for me to program today would have taken weeks in 2000 and may have been impractical in 1995.
So effectively it takes me less effort to do stuff programmatic now than it did then, which means projects I work on ultimately are cheaper (or at worst the same price).
In addition many games had complex storyline and plots.
So what is getting harder?
Why is it getting more expensive?

Given that the only thing to change is the hardware performance I'm assuming its some thing technical, which leaves me to ask why are people not writing generic frameworks to to handle this hard-part?
And once that hard part is reason why are companies not releasing a legion of different games reusing that work?

After all most games differentiate themselves with content, not game mechanics (or even graphics now a days) so whats the barrier to reuse of expensive development to products 100 cheap games for niche markets?

For example why couldn't take-2 sit a team of game writers down for a month coming up with say medieval quests and stories. Perform a bit of rebranding on Red Dead redemption (you know turn guns to bows, add swords, put people in Armour). Now for a small cost (well less $25M) you have Grand theft warhorse (or what ever marketing would like to call it).

I mean its pretty much how all other commercial development works (Within IP you own of course, lotus cant use the code for word for example). So why are gaming companies not doing the same thing?

Dexiro:
Maybe we should return to N64-PS2 graphics, maybe with some modern game design applied to SNES style games ;D

This would be a great idea.

God of War 1 and 2 shows us that impressive graphics can be squeezed out of PS2 era tech. And with todays hardware, coupled with PS2 graphics, that opens up a lot more for developers to experiment with. And with the money you save with the graphics, the games cost less to produce.

You'd save even more money if you cut voice acting and go to text only. And with text only you have the advantage of creating RPG's with actual choices beyond "kill everyone or don't."

Plus you could imagine your character having the same voice as Patrick Stewart. Or Stephan Fry.

And you'd save even more money if you don't put in an orchestral soundtrack. Yes they sound nice, but after hearing them in every game, they're just boring. I would kill for retro soundtracks.

Lately I have been getting the impression that developers and publishers seem to think that everything has to be high end, which costs more for them with time and manpower put into the games. State of the art graphics are nice, but a strong number of people that you can pick out from both mainstream and niche audiences would be satisfied with graphics that a budget computer can run on, as long as the gameplay and story(if one applies) are both good. The self destructive pace that game companies seem to be going on as was alluded to by Archon in the article seems to be by effort that is being put forth needlessly. Yes, there is the paranoia that publishers put out higher end stuff to push gamers to buy bigger and better systems(such as Crytek), and that might be true to a point. But computers only last so long, so people are bound to want to upgrade anyway. Consoles are another ball of wax, but since those aren't my specialty, can leave that up to another person to address.
Sooner or later it is going to get to a point where sales will drop like a rock because people just can't justify a $50-$100 purchase of Total Modern Battlefield 16. But don't expect the publishers to take responsibility. That won't be a good time to be a developer, because you will soon become an unemployed one.
From what I have been hearing, and seeing reference to, E3 seems to be a lot of the same old thing in a new shiny package. I think I will be saving my money this coming year, playing games I already have, that I will be able to enjoy on the PC I have. At least with movies I will get some new surprises out of those, and won't have to pay $60 for the experience.

Luke Cartner:
snip

My guess is that the money would go into better graphics, voice acting, and orchestral soundtracks.

Shamus Young covered the graphics thing fairly well.

Voice acting its more about celebrity voice actors. It costs too much and is rarely worth it. Plus voice acting seems to have impacted games at large by cutting out a lot of the "choice" aspect despite games saying they offer more and more choices.

And the orchestral soundtracks require an orchestra. Which can't be cheap and also isn't really worth it. After hearing them in basically every other game, they lose their punch.

Cut out those 3 things, and I'm sure you'd save a lot of money and could result in more fun games.

Irridium:
Plus you could imagine your character having the same voice as Patrick Stewart. Or Stephan Fry.

Whenever I feel the need to play old text based RPGs, I have both of them come around and read off the screen for me.

Irridium:

Luke Cartner:
snip

My guess is that the money would go into better graphics, voice acting, and orchestral soundtracks.

Shamus Young covered the graphics thing fairly well.

Voice acting its more about celebrity voice actors. It costs too much and is rarely worth it. Plus voice acting seems to have impacted games at large by cutting out a lot of the "choice" aspect despite games saying they offer more and more choices.

And the orchestral soundtracks require an orchestra. Which can't be cheap and also isn't really worth it. After hearing them in basically every other game, they lose their punch.

Cut out those 3 things, and I'm sure you'd save a lot of money and could result in more fun games.

So why are niche game developers not doing just that?

Luke Cartner:

Irridium:

Luke Cartner:
snip

My guess is that the money would go into better graphics, voice acting, and orchestral soundtracks.

Shamus Young covered the graphics thing fairly well.

Voice acting its more about celebrity voice actors. It costs too much and is rarely worth it. Plus voice acting seems to have impacted games at large by cutting out a lot of the "choice" aspect despite games saying they offer more and more choices.

And the orchestral soundtracks require an orchestra. Which can't be cheap and also isn't really worth it. After hearing them in basically every other game, they lose their punch.

Cut out those 3 things, and I'm sure you'd save a lot of money and could result in more fun games.

So why are niche game developers not doing just that?

Because for some reason everyone in the industry thinks they need those 3 things if they want to have a multi-million seller.

There are some who do fine enough on their own by not using those things, but they are few.

This article is very true, but overall I consider indie games to be their own niche. Games like World of Goo, Braid, Aquaria and VVVVV might not compete with behemoths like MW2, but it's in the same way that an intimate French arthouse movie doesn't compete with a Michael Bay movie - it's not because it can't win, it's because they're not playing the same sport. I particularly see no problem with small indie games not looking as pretty as the huge AAA releases. Frankly, I think RE4 hit my personal point of realism; I perceive any game with better graphics than it as being on the exact same level. I watch in awe at how beautiful current gen games are but they fade quickly in face of the gameplay.

Both the games and movies industries are doomed to die quickly, since they've set themselves up with quotas they cannot hope to fulfill. They will both shatter into a thousand indies who will rebuild the industry from its tatters.

Archon:

The Schwarz:
Basically what you're saying is "I want to have my cake and eat it too".

You say you want big, blockbuster, multi-billion-dollar productions, targeted at your specific niche. And *many* of them, to boot. Oh, and they should also be innovative and original, of course.

That's like saying "I think Hollywood should make more Zombie Apocalypse movies, but not B movies; I want them to be real, fancy productions. And also, I think we need some *new* material in the Zombie Apocalypse genre". I mean, I would definitely be happy if that'll happen, but it's not realistic or feasible.

But that was my point: It's not realistic or feasible, even though I'd like it to happen. I even provided a mathematical explanation as to why it's not realistic or feasible. So I'm not sure if you are just agreeing with me, or criticizing me for foolishly not grasping the premise of my own article.

I guess I'm agreeing with your general notion but criticizing your attitude. Yes, it would be nice if there were giant productions for every niche, but I think your article has a rather pessimistic outlook on things, and I guess I'd rather take the optimistic route and say that it's nice that now we have both multi-billion-dollar 7th-gen games *and* original, innovative, niche-targeted indie games.

Man, I know how the author feels. Actually I feel with me it's a bit worse. Why? Well he seems to be a lot older than me, so it's, I dunno, sort of expected that he would prefer those older games (ones he played during his younger years). I'm 22 for crying out loud, and I still think Baldur's Gate 2 is a better game than Oblivion, Mass Effect, World of Warcraft and Fallout 3 COMBINED.

I also agree with this sentiment.

growing up on NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, PS1, PS2, and a computer with DOS OS which required Floppy disks (that actually flopped around), this current gen really feels bland.

I think he pinnacle of gaming was the PS2/Gamcube (and yes I will throw in Xbox with much distain).

PS2 was the king, followed by Gamecube with Xbox far behind.

Why do I say that PS2 is the pinnacle of video games? PS2 did everything. PS2 had all sorts of random crazy characters and made games that defied human logic (ratchet, jak, Katamari, okami, Sly Cooper) it held true to the old JRPG line with final fantasy X and Dragon Quest VIII, which console brought DDR, Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero into the world? that right PS2 made music rhythm games popular in the west (PS1 in Japan, I know). Survival Horror? Silent Hill 2, Resident Evil 4? What console brought us Shadow of the Colossus and Ico? the evolution of the beat-em-up: Devil May Cry. which console brought Disney and SquareEnix in the strangest awesome crossover ever? Which console made the games that practically define gaming today? God of War, Metal Gear Solid sequels.

So what did the Gamecube have? our memories. Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong(a), Fzero, the sequel to Super Smash Bros (Nintendo's Ultimate Showdown). While PS2 created the new, we got to see our childhood memories evolve and grow with us in the Gamecube. It made the old new again.

So what did the Xbox have? 2 games that define gaming today (Halo and Halo 2) and 1 game that I think is just awesome (Kung Fu Chaos). And why was Halo awesome? Because it was the new Goldeneye 64. That's it.

after these games, the gaming community wasn't the same. I hear kids complain about how Zelda games don't have voice acting therefore Zelda games suck. No, Link never spoke. That is part of the game's charm. And yes, sometimes voice acting is powerful I for one think Kingdom Hearts series was spot on with their voices, and Prince of Persia (SoT trilogy) is just perfect. Does voice acting make a game great? No, because Shadow of the Colossus had no (understandable) voice acting and that is still an awesome game.

but it is too bad the gaming industry is too afraid to make unique games again.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm done now.

It's something that's not just happening with games though, but with every form of disposable media. In fact, Micro$oft, Nintendo and Sony are even trying to speed up the disposability of its software.
Some could argue that Mewtwo was as bad as it is so that you'd ache for Mewthree, especially after they stop supporting Mewone. That's what gets them the money. Buy it, play it a bit, buy the next.

But wait...Matthew Smith wrote one of the greatest selling games of all time in his bedroom. With a awful soundtrack, one colour sprites and repetive moves: along with the stupidest DRM of all time.

Surely E3 is for all those junkies that squee at Natal and all the other one-trick ponys that the industry throws at us. Kongregate, Popcap and other companies still develop for us, but we don't pay them enough attention. (Ok, apart from Bejewelled)

Why aren't we seeking out these indie developers that make great titles that we used to love?

Oh yeah, we're too busy hating on the ADD games.

If you enjoyed Magic, Archon; why not look for S.P.A.N.C, or INWO or Chez Geek or Civilization the board game or Munchkin or Fluxx or Chrononauts or Settlers of Catan? Either computerised or vanilla board/card games.

The games are still there, it's just the companies need us to play their huge budget games as well, pyramid scheme economics ftl.

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