There's been some discussion as of late about the current reality of the video game industry. And while the bitter nostalgic inside of me resists, I'll admit that the industry is at a more exciting point in time then ever before. If I stumbled back in time to find two kids sitting down to their first playing of Metroid, I would first be humbled, but then prophesize with glee, "you ain't seen nothing yet".
While Nintendo's Ford Model T approach has been serving up economy and volume with the number of games it's been releasing, Microsoft and Sony are not only still more relevant but have the diversification to fund their juggernaut consoles until the sun burns out.
What is this? I don't know yet, but as one Mr. Water World was once told, "if you build it, they will come".
Music is changing faster than anything I can think of (I bow to no one, especially prepositions). Since I was born, and I'm only 21, there have already been three major transformations. At my youngest cassettes were the mainstay and radio was huge. Growing up Y100 and Q102, (Philadelphia, Pa) were THE radio stations defining not only what was cutting edge music but your personality, VH1 or MTV preference, and whether your had a soul or not. Then CDs started hitting their peak, civilization turned the bend in 2000 and before any of us new it, the internet and Apple single (or double) handedly changed the music industry. The internet allowed people to circumvent the middle man cutting out distributors and sometimes recording labels. Straight from my recording equipment to your PC speakers.
And that's where I want to see video games headed. There is no doubt that the music industry is still in a great state of flux, working out how to deal with illegal downloading, free radio websites, and the like, but for the time being I have no doubt Coldplay, Feist, and Beyonce will continue to sell albums. Likewise, huge titles like Bioshock, the next Zelda, etc. will get the glory they deserve. But just imagine if you will, turning on the virtual console and looking out over an endless abyss of possible gaming gems created by upstart developers and disgruntled ex-employees. Then think about sorting through that wonderful mess. Like David Crane mentions in his GI interview, there would be a ton of crap out there. There are a ton of unoriginal and even untalented music artists out there roaming the plethora of Myspaces. But with the endless resources of gaming journalism, online and in print, trudging through the Deep Deep Swamp with your piggy nose on and discovering that one gem would be easy, well worth it, and dare I say fun. Imagine the creativeness (I make my own words) of World of Goo
or Little Big Planet
on a smaller scale but a biweekly basis. The possibilities are mind numbing.
And so we're back to the fork in the road where gaming can embrace the limitless future of interconnectivity and creativity, with Blockbuster titles and numerous smaller, shorter master pieces as well, where the imagination can be set lose and the big companies can make money without completely shutting out the little guys, or the industry can stagnate while we sift through recycled first person shooters, hack'n slashes, and superficial JRPGs at fifty dollars a pop waiting each year for those three or four titles that are truly worth owning.