It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Posted: November 5, 2011 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

Every so often I get this feeling that videogames just can’t entertain me anymore.  None of the new games are really holding my attention and I just can’t seem to find a game that really does it for me.  I try to check myself to see if I’ve become too jaded or if the games themselves are just lackluster.  I’m pretty sure at this point that it was not me, this console generation had a serious mid-life-crisis.  The fact that I’m not the only hardcore gamer by far to consider calling the beast dead created a general tension and doubt on the internets.

Yes, it is true that Facebook is the largest growing gaming space.  It’s also true that Panda monks and pocket monsters are coming to World of Warcraft.  Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if cat-laides named Sharla were the largest growing demographic of videogame consumers.  Oh yeah and Chinese people, good call on the pandas Blizzard.  It’s a dark time, ’nuff said.

But is it really?  I just got done playing one of the most hardcore games I’ve seen in years (Dark Souls).  Before that I played a zombie sandbox fps/rpg, a new Deus Ex game and before that a bunch of surprisingly good B-grade titles.  Many, many games that I always dreamed about have come to pass in the last several years.  The only problem is they’ve been interspersed with some of the most insipid shovelware to ever be written in code.  I guess the point I’m getting at is that we have some sort of iceberg or diamond formation metaphor going on here.  The huge volume of moronical games are somehow making it possible for us to have all of these pipe-dream games and play them in our waking life.  So if you’re out there right now playing some bowling game… thank you I guess.

It’s just unfortunate that I almost put my consoles in the attic in the time it takes them to shovel enough shovelware to crank out the next batch of amazing entertainment.  I’m not saying that 2009-10 had no classics, that would be unfair.  More that we had to overall lower our standards in many ways because less of the overall games were evolutionary.  It’s not very surprising that Rockstar rolled out a masterpiece, but I expected more from several other developers.  Now though, it seems like the floodgate has finally opened and the top tier games are coming out every week.  I’m a little worried about this upcoming market filled with WiiU’s, iPhones and panda monks but it’s hard to imagine starving when you’re eating a feast.

As long as I’m wrong every time I think gaming is dying, I can imagine a happy future where kids still train their patience and problem solving rather than developing their compulsion->gratification instinct.  A future where people still know who Pac Man is because he’s made several triumphant returns in 3D, hologram and much later holodeck.  Even if it takes longer and longer periods between greater bursts of inspiration and improvement, I’m fine with it, though it may cause me to mothball my game systems at several points.

  1. James Black says:

    I had not thought of the “Shovelware” syndrome. Kudos on that.

    I have felt its effects, though. It seems like modern games are crammed with concepts taken from (pretty wholesale) other games. This isn’t to say its outright plagiarism, some of the uses are very creative, but its still usually enough to make me go “Meh.”

    This is exactly why I wouldn’t purchase any modern shooter. They are all just reiterations of the same thing, with very, VERY little changing from release to release. I loved Goldeneye, I loved Half-life. The only thing that comes close to a modern FPS I’ve played and liked is Portal, but even that is at its heart a puzzle game with an FPS interface.

    More innovations, less regurgitation!

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