I've got a Casio Loopy in my house. It's actually displayed in my game room ... so yeahhhhhh.
Look it up. It prints stickers bro. Stickers. If the Dreamcast would have been able to print its own stickers ... things would have turned out a lot different. We'd probably be playing Phantasy Star 5 on the Dreamcast One right now.
You know what else it does? Plays a bunch of girly dress up simulators. Yup. It does what Nintendon't. I bet you are wondering ... "Can you print your dressed up dolls on the stickers?" Well, duh. Of course you can, it wouldn't make much sense if you couldn't print you dressed up doll on a sticker.
Sticker printing capabilities would have changed everything, man.
I have a little confession to make ... I absolutely love B movies and video games. I find so much more enjoyment playing a few hours of Lollypop Chainsaw then I ever will playing Battlefield or Call of Duty. I can watch cult status movies, like Dark City and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, dozens of times and always come back for more. On that note.
Once upon a time, there existed a film production company called Troma.
Troma made trashy sex comedies in the late 70s that never really went anywhere. Anyways, in the mid eighties they hit it somewhat big with a film called "The Toxic Avenger." Now, "The Toxic Avenger" was just Troma being Troma, but the public responded to it in a way they never really expected. The public actually liked the film. Some of them did at least, and the film went on to be a modest hit that eventually achieved cult status. Troma never intended their film to be received this way. Once it was though, they saw a chance to really make an impact.
On the success of 'The Toxic Avenger" Troma decided to build a franchise. They made sequels, had a television cartoon show, and started selling merchandise. Meanwhile, they began other projects, and enjoyed success in the home video market. Several of their other films, such as "Class of Nuke 'Em High" and "Tromeo and Juliet," went on to achieve cult status similar to The Toxic Avenger. Some of these films even went on to have franchises of their own.
After years of carving out a little success, Troma decided to finally go big budget and take their brand of movie making to Hollywood proper. They released a film called "Troma's War" that had a budget that far exceeded anything they had ever made.
The film bombed. Hard. In addition, the Toxic Avenger sequels and other side projects bombed hard too. All of this led to Troma going back into the indie scene. It wasn't over for Troma though. They went on to produce several low budget, cult status, films through the 90s and into the 2000s. In addition, they made a killing on the DVD market with their former releases. They went back to a place that they never really even left. A couple years ago they released a flick called "Father's Day." I recommend it. It's good old depraved fun. It's Troma to a T.
So that brings me to AAA gaming and the parallels it has with good 'ol Troma. Like Troma, gaming has humble beginnings. Gaming in general started out cult status and until only the last 3 or so generations enjoyed very modest gains off of that status. They produced games that, at the very end of the day, they were happy to make. They didn't really HAVE TO appeal to the masses, because the masses weren't interested in what they had to offer. Then something changed.
The Playstaion changed the way we view games forever. Don't get me wrong, I love this machine, but AAA was born here. The Playstation isn't "Troma's War," but it sure is "The Toxic Avenger." Bigger budgets started here. Franchises and sequels started getting pumped out at a much faster pace due to fear from the competition. Games, while still being fun, started to go Hollywood, and their overall tone changed. A lot of games were more grim, more bleak, and less whimsical.
Those habits that began in the Playstation era have carried over to today, and have gotten a lot worse. Much like Troma, video game publishers are seeing a chance to really go full on mainstream, and really ingrain themselves in the minds and living rooms of audiences all over the world. Are manufacturers of consoles and publishers overextending themselves though? Are they in the process of creating their very own "Troma's War"? It's hard to say. Though, my only real question is: "What was wrong with where you were?"
Troma almost went under, but they learned their lesson. All the stuff they are doing with larger budgets in Hollywood is great, but what Troma does is great too. There's nothing wrong with being cult status. Enbrace what you are, and put out the best products you can. It's not too late for video games, but they'll probably have to fail again for it to really sink in. When that happens though, we, the consumer, can still enjoy all the great games that have been put out in the past. Much like Troma films on DVD.