When I tell people I think video games are only getting better, sometimes they disagree. I'm told how much better we had it in the 80's. Or the 90's. Or basically any point before the point we're presently at.
Call it looking back with rose-tinted glasses, but, in some ways, they're right. There was a time when we didn't have to worry about publishers/developers doing anything other than releasing more rad to the max video games. Now, they'll brake apart the latest releases into various DLC updates, get way too ambitious with their budgets, or sorely mishandle our favorite franchises for the sake of mass appeal.
Or maybe they'll do all three, all the while publicly saying something really stupid. Shifting blame for their mistakes, shooting for a future nobody wants but them, etc. More than once. Maybe a third time. Or perhaps they're still grasping for some common sense.
But, while everyone had been hunkering into their fallout shelters of hot pockets and dedicated Valve servers, cursing EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, and the rest of that dastardly bunch of bum-whiffers, I was not only enjoying the much-praised indie releases, but many of the AAA releases that I bought into. Some of them even far exceeded the quality of my most favored games of the masterful PS2 era.
We've made amazing strides in storytelling and building interesting mechanics, we've (sometimes successfully) explored new ways of marketing and distributing, going indie is just a little bit less scary, and we now, more than ever, understand how the industry works and how even we can improve it (mostly by screeching at community managers).
I proclaim that this generation has been the best yet. We may've had to endure some real deep bullshit, but, when you get down to it, for all the other better parts of these last 7 or 8 years, the most important aspect of defining a console/PC generation is in the quality of it's games.
That's why we're all here, ain't it? Unless you've found yourself here by accident. In which case I'm flattered you're still reading this.
This blog is brought to you by mountains of classic Halo 3 Mountain Dew GAME FUEL
Uncharted 2, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Rock Band 2, Twilight Princess, The Stanley Parable, The Last of Us, Persona 4: Golden, Flower, Castle Crashers, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Super Meat Boy, Grand Theft Auto IV: Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto V, FEZ, Binding of Isaac, Borderlands 2, The Darkness, Mass Effect 1 and 2, Dead Space 1 and 2, Thomas Was Alone, Portal 2, Lone Survivor, Call of Duty 4, Deadly Premonition, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Alan Wake, Catherine...
I'm drooling. So many gems. So shiny.
And before I realized how much I loved Saints Row 2, GTA: San Andreas was my number one. San Andreas doesn't have in-depth character customization, Johnny Gat, FUZZ, Johnny Gat, mission replay, or Johnny Gat.
I loved so much of what I played during this generation that I would hate to imagine not having it at all.
Me and two friends pretending we can play Minecraft
This was also the first generation where I spent a hefty amount of time playing online. It's where I came to find most of my bestest of friends, and it all started with a couple rascals named Seth and Jordan in Rainbow Six Vegas back in March/April of 2008. From there, I was quickly introduced to several others.
Over the next 5+ years (mother of God, there's no way it's been that long already), we would continue playing Rainbow Six Vegas, then move on to Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, Minecraft, as well as the occasional passing fancy. We would bond over playing co-op, as well as over competition. We've had our legitimate quarrels, but we don't think much of it in the grand scheme of things.
It's amazing that a bunch of dudes who I've never actually met can mean far more to me than most of those in real life that I once called a friend. I guess such things can totally happen when you grow up in the age of the Internet (not to undermine it's significance). And it's safe to say that my time without work or school wouldn't have been anywhere near as meaningful to me without them.
At this point, we've, of course, ventured into more than just this generation's video games. And while that is what's most important, we should also look into another one of the more positive aspects of the last generation.
I shouldn't need to mention this if you've already clicked any of the above links, but YouTube has been rather important to me probably ever since a little bit after it launched. I got caught up in the Halo 3 machinima craze of 2007-2010, I made my own (somewhat successful) series of MP videos, I've done YouTube poops, I've done Gmod videos, and I've even done Let's Plays.
When it comes to gaming, I've done a little bit of everything. Only because I love it all so much.
This was the generation when I officially gave up television for Netflix and YouTube.
With people able to, within reason, create and upload anything they want, YouTube, over the years, has grown from a simple video sharing service to a legit business for some people. Something people are passionately involved with.
It's an Internet giant. And it's awesome.
Most of what I've found myself watching has been gaming content. Two Best Friends Play, Game Grumps, JonTron, kitty0706, GameTheory, TotalBiscuit, Cr1TiKaL, etc.
Hours upon hours of insight and hilarity. It's been a daily routine. I can't live without my YouTubes. One might even say it's "addicting". There's always someone else awesome I've yet to discover and all my favorites are always uploading more shit for me to watch!
The Internet's golden age has yet to pass. And may it never end. For at least as long as YouTube is around, I will happily be pouring many more hours into it by supporting the best channels and making my own crap.
Whether it's the rise of YouTube, the progress we've made with understanding how games are made or how they can be made, or the amazing friends I've made, I can point to any one single good thing about this last generation and think to myself "It hasn't been that bad at all.".
Not even considering all the wonderful games that have come out in just the last couple years.
Also, this was a thing.
I think some may not fully realize just how long we've been in this 7th generation of video games.
Since late 2005. It is now late 2013. I've, personally, been gaming this generation since the very start of my late teenage years. I'm now about to turn 23. How in the hell, am I right? My best teen years, my entire adult life, has been spent with this here 360, PS3, Wii, and gaming notebook.
Mother of mercy! AND it's far from over! My newfound sense of a decent budget and my backlog have made sure of that.
Oh, and this is the first generation that I've actually had a legit backlog. Thank you, everlastingly short attention span!