It's the beginning of another year, and the major platforms and developers are gearing up for another go at attracting new consumers, be it through rather silly looking gadgets (here's lookin' at you Natal) or in depth and serious story-driven gaming experiences (Alan Wake and Heavy Rain perhaps?)
It's another year at gaming, and things continue to look a hazy type of brightness that one would expect from looking through a semi-translucent spherical object that is obscured in some manner, perhaps a light dusting of paint....I digress though, we're here to talk about this year, as we know it so far.
Gaming started out as one of those silly little things in the basement where smelly men got to be more interactive than we had ever believed possible. Someone in the business world saw potential, and well...the rest is history.
Living History that is.
We stand at the cusp of a rapidly evolving and ever changing market. Happens a lot of with emerging markets, but this one is fun in that has started to hit the popular general marketplace, with perhaps the Wii becoming the first console that really appealed to a general audience.
Good for that.
We're gamers. We care about games and what our very specific market is giving to us. Whatever for the Natal, if it can come up and give us an experience that makes a game genuinely fun, I am sure we will accept it with open arms. Watching Jane Lynch and some random family that happens to have all the demographics in it (very convienient, eh Microsoft Marketing people?) play the Natal does not leave me with favorable impressions of what is to come, but I have yet to forsake the Natal to the "gimmick" status.
We want to see the next year bring us some cool stuff that leaves us with memories on par with those of the first time we got that wooden sword or got our first Star (if you dont get the reference, you might not be a gamer...). Of course we're getting the massive amount of sequels, big hitters being Halo and Fable, Medal of Honor and I'm sure Mario is gonna somehow show up somewhere (Mario Accounting). What I think the industry is really looking forward too right now, is how Heavy Rain is going to fare, how Alan Wake is going to give us a story and how the interactivity is going to continue to sky rocket. Games used to have some silly story and all's we had to do was chop up the badguys, now we got such in-depth narrative, one that I welcome with open arms; I continue to maintain that Hideo Kojima is a master before his time when it comes to cut scene direction.
Games as art is still a very heated discussion. I tend to believe in the idea that it is art, for I believe that what we see is better than any other media can give us. Movies give us the visual, books give us the depth, games give us immersion. Good for James Cameron and his 3-D witchcraft, at least in Mass Effect I can decide if the Na'vvi (err...Asari) deserve their share of stuff. It's not art as how we know it, but it is art in it's own form.
2010, above all things, above Natal, above Home, above 3D and crazy visuals, above Mario Accounting, is going to be the year of the epic story.
What's going to help in the long run, I believe, is the art aspect (don't get me started on a debate on this, just hear me out.) Thanks to Capitalism, we're gonna get slammed with the usual random games that none of us "hardcore" gamers care about...but hey, it makes up the majority of the sales of games, without them we're not gonna see stuff that really rocks our socks (like...Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2, perhaps?) We'll continue to attract the college guys and kids with stuff like Madden and FIFA, and we'll get them in with some Call of Duty. Cool beans, it drives the business, respectable (and they are fun too, that's a plus.).
All of it, comes back to seeing major developers develop some truly in depth experiences. Mass Effect 2, hell yeah. Fable, hell yeah. Heavy Rain, Hell Yeah.
Gamers got it good, and we had it great last year. From what's been revealed this year.....Destructoid, the Gawker Network, GamesIndustry and a whole mess of industry blogs are hopeful, clearly a good sign.
Microsoft is saying its the biggest year for the 360 (as they do every year)
Sony is saying it is totally gonna be the year for PS3 (again)
and Nintendo is sitting there, printing money....still.
2009 was a cool year, every single year, we see something new come out and astound us. Here's hoping 2010 gives us something we really remember, as for me? I'm gonna sit here, turn on my ME2 and know that in 5 more years, something even better is going to be on my TV (or whatever we're using in 5 years...but let's be realistic.)
2010, sign me up. read