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Mogg avatar 7:57 AM on 09.17.2008
We gamers should appreciate our Golden Shower of videogames (a quasi-response to Nintendoll)

There has been some discussion around here about the over all state of the video game industry. Specifically the quality of the current videogame scene. Nintendoll posted an excellent piece explaining her view on why it would be a mistake to call the current era the golden age. Her piece was a reaction to an article by Sean Sands posted on the escapist website. (steve sands is a co-founder of http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/, I highly recommend their weekly podcast) While I agree with Sands that we are in a golden age of gaming, I agree with Nintendoll that his piece wasn't very persuasive. I thought he missed a lot of major points, so i'll try to add them.

CHOICES

No matter what your favorite type of game or preferred genre you will be able to find games that meet your needs. I'm the type of gamer who enjoys a wide range of game types so its overwhelming keeping up with all the choices and play all the great releases. Just this week there are 4 excellent games released I want to play, Rock Band 2, Crysis Warhead, Dragon Quest IV, and Star Wars TFU. All different types of games and all appear to be quality experiences (maybe not SW:TFU, but I'll save judgment until I play it). This isn't a rare thing. Nearly every week there are more choices of great games.

This influx of great games doesn't even take into account the other ways a gamer can get to the games they want to play. If you aren't interested in the new big AAA titles, you can get online and find a game to meet your needs. You can download new and old games from Steam. You can find a wide range of titles on XBLA or PSN. If you thought games peaked with the NES or SNES, you can download dozens of those games from the virtual console. If you are cheap you can find hours of great gaming online for free with websites like instantaction.com.

If you are a gamer and you can't find a game to meet your needs you obviously aren't looking.

GAMEPLAY

What good are choices if you are choosing from a bunch of mediocre titles. Luckily the games we get to play have taken great strides in the area of gameplay and how we interact with the game.

Some improvements have just been perfecting traditional gameplay. The actual gameplay of FPS's isn't all that different from FPS of the past, but its better. Now we can interact with the environment which creates a new level of immersion. The AI is much smarter. No longer are we faced with just waves of enemies and monster closets, the AI can start to react to the environment and use tactics. As the devs continue to improve these details it creates a deeper and more realistic experience.

Game developers have also improved how we interact with our games. There are interfaces modifications, like with the Wii and DS. When utilized well, these interfaces improve the gaming experience. Try playing Boom Blox on the wii. A really fun game that couldn't be possible without the Wii interface. But we are also given more input too in customization and story. While I think the one area of games that still is in its infancy is the branching story paths, we are still given freedom with-in the games. An example is Mass Effect. The player gets to choose not only the appearance of their character, but how they interact with others and the how they proceed through the story. It allows the player to tailor the game to their specific preferences.


COMMUNITY

Gamer's are connected like never before to to each other, to information about gamers, and even to the game developers. In the past the best and possibly only way to get info about games was magazines. Now we have numerous websites, podcasts, and tv shows to get info along with the magazines. We have access to information instantly. We can get dozens of reviews of a game before its even released. Soon after a game is released we can find out other gamers' opinion of the game. We have unprecedented levels of info about the games currently released and yet to be released.

We are also able to discuss our opinions and thoughts with other gamers and even the game journalists. The obvious example is this blog here. We are allowed to write about anything we want and a great website like destructoid hosts it and allows others access to it for free. I read blogs here from people all over the world with opinions on every type of game. Plus we can get more instant feedback with message boards and forums. Sure they can be a mixed bag, but its nice to have post a question or comment about a game and have other gamers respond with-in seconds or minutes. Even the game journalists interact with the community. Before this was done in the "letters" section of a magazine. Now they participate in forums and respond to gamers' questions on podcasts.

Gamers are even able to communicate with and influence the people who actually make the games. Good developers listen to their fans and evaluate the feedback. We are actually getting updates to games and new versions of gamers that cater to our desires as a community.

Its also easier to experience actual gaming with others. Every console has extensive online gaming options. People join guilds and spends hours with thousands of other gamers in MMO's. no longer are people forced to game alone.

CONCLUSION

I could write about this non-stop, but I actually want people to read it. I would have also liked to respond directly to some of Nintendoll's points, but that will have to wait.

In the end, I think that this current generation of video games and the video game community is the best yet. If its not the golden age, I can't wait to see what's coming that could be better.

Tagged:    cblog    Retro  

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