Gaming is at a stage where it’s transforming right before our eyes- the stuff we can do with the technical bits is going where no chip has gone before, and the watch-y/talk-y stuff is going in a few new directions as well.
Gamers, however, are not.
It’s definitely nice to have very fond memories of that game you played before you’d made it to high school –oh, Theme Park, those hours were beautiful- but it becomes a bit of an issue when a community can’t let go of those and concentrate on the memories-in-making.
Basically, us gamers are having trouble letting go of the games that came before.
It may be the fact that gaming’s the new kid on the block, so to speak. Books and films have got a few years under their belts, they know how to handle themselves. But when it comes to games of yesteryear, there is a tendency to compare them endlessly to what’s happening now.
Too many people hold the opinion that games just ain’t what they used to be when I was young, now get off my lawn. They say that games thse days are too short, they’re not as replayable, that they’re too casual.
But not every game then was Goldeneye just like every game now isn’t Skyrim or Bioshock Infinite.
There were duff games then just like there’s duff ones these days. It’s part of the human condition- there’s going to be a little mediocrity somewhere, it’s one of life’s constancies. Gaming was great back then, and darn it, it’s still great now too.
Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are magnets for that opinion, and are often held up as the sign that modern games can’t live up to the games of a few decades ago, are the harbingers of the apocalypse, etc. It’s as if back when games were like they used to be, every single one was a little piece of heaven. But memory has a knack for skimming over the boring bits and polishing the good ones.
This leaves us with a ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude or, more appropriately, ‘If it still sells, why think of something new’ infecting the gaming industry.
Games series like Mario and Pokemon have been chugging along for a good while without any radical new changes to their make-up. And they don’t need them- the people that have been playing these games when they first came out -and shook the gaming world up- will still do so, because of the love they shared then.
It’s no coincidence that I use two of Nintendo’s game series for that point- what was their last, big original game? Nintendo are a sort of illustration of the problem. They make lots of money from just sticking to their franchises, and there’s not much incentive for them to do something new.
Gaming is a creative medium, and nostalgia is a bit of a buzz-kill for creativity. Sure Game X was amazing and it let you do all this cool stuff like jump for the very first time and it was totally the best thing ever when you were seven…but wouldn’t it be great if a Game Y came along and made you feel those kind of feels again, instead of slugging through Game X 10: This One’s Paying For My Sixth House?
Right now, too many people seem to prefer Game X 10, exactly because of the fact it’s more of what they’ve loved for so long. For many, no game will ever reach the starry heights of Ocarina of Time, and maybe part of that is because they won’t give the new games a chance.
But there’s new games to love, with so many reasons to do so. New consoles are taking us new places. A game like Skyrim wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago. It’s an absolute beast of a game- stunning and powerful.
The hardware’s beginning to pack a bigger punch and as it does so, the borders of our mini maps are expanding.