Judging by the colorful first page of the site, his games seem cool and fun... Want to see them... I click PLAY, with a Sunday morning expectation of something interesting coming up.
A f*ing Facebook login screen. I am not a Facebook user. Never will be. Too bad. I look again at his web page with a sense of loss. _His_ loss of my attention.
Back to my Sunday morning coffee, on to the next article in HN.
(Disclaimer: I worked on that game)
At the time I thought it was because I was growing up and just wasn't into it any more. Sure, I used to think spending hours playing Super Mario RPG, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo Kazooie, or Megaman X was a fun afternoon. Maybe I just grew up.
But there have been a few games that have come out since that I have really, truly enjoyed. Games like Psychonauts, Portal, Pikmin, and maybe a few other non-P games (e.g., Twilight Princess which is a half-P). Increasingly I have begun to feel like I didn't stop loving games, the games I loved just didn't exist anymore or were too hard to find.
I like using a controller. I like playing something I laugh at. I like playing something that stitches together a few basic motions/controls in complex ways to challenge me. I like playing games that are fun with friends or fun for friends to watch you play.
So for now, I mostly try and keep an eye on indie games that are cheap on Steam that work well with an Xbox 360 controller (which is really quite nice) on my Mac Mini. Occasionally I come across something fun and well done. But whereas I could rattle off 50 games I would love to play with my kids one day that I consider "classic", almost none of them were created post-Xbox. That's a shame.
Bastion's easily the best of those three, and while the gameplay is relatively simple, the narration style is something to be cherished. It's beautifully done, and is great fun to watch.
Recettear is an odd entry - it's a game about being an item shop owner in a cliche JRPG. It sounds stupid, but it's ridiculously engaging, and the writing it genuinely funny.
Magicka is kind of like combining a combo-driven fighting game with an old-school game like Gauntlet. It's very clever, and is likewise very funny.
And post Kinect launch MS seems even less about hardcore gaming.
We don't even need to spend billions to get people to play them.
What does that even mean considering I've never heard of them?
I love the game, but I did so mostly for elements of the design and story, rather than the game play. That it was an FPS connecting the story rather than a puzzle game, for example, was almost incidental to my enjoyment of it, and given the story, I think a series of Myst-style puzzles would have been a better fit.
Wouldn't have sold nearly as well, of course, and there's the rub.
Don't get me wrong, I love FPS shooters. So when I want to play one, I want it to be good.
I also enjoy exploration games, and from what I have seen of Bioshock Infinite (I watched the ending and playthroughs on Youtube), it seems like it would have made for a great Myst style game. If anything the gameplay looks like the weakest part of Bioshock Infinite.
I actually thing Irrational missed a big opportunity by making the game a FPS. Wasn't Myst a big commercial success back in the day? Wouldn't they have been able to appeal to a wider audience if they had tied the narrative to a something other than a FPS?
Of course, a FPS connoisseur might find that their more refined knowledge of what makes a good game of that type breaks their immersion, in the way that (some) lovers of classical music find that they can't enjoy (some) popular music.
Bioshock Infinite does have exploration elements, you can hunt around for recordings and other evidence that reveal more about the background of what's going on. Oddly enough, for me, rushing in guns blazing seemed more in character, as opposed to carefully checking behind a store counter, seeing if there is something more I could learn.
I'm still glad that they use a First-Person perspective because I strongly believe that it's the best way to get immersed in a game.
Knock Bioshock Infinite for delivering dollops of voice-acted plot progression along with explosions, headshots, and the like, but at least it doesn't require me to pay a buck-ninety-nine to buy the coins to buy the lockpick to unlock a door. (or wait 12 hours for my city to produce enough coins to buy the lockpick. Whatever.)
But let's not forget that those games are HIGHLY successful, and it clearly seems that there is a huge market for those. I am not surprised that some game companies (MS among them) treat those games like "the only true way".
Fortunately, it looks like the gaming industry is expanding and other alternative games are also being created and are easily accessible... Probably the game industry will be more diverse and fragmented as a result, which is great for gamers with not a taste for blockbusters... But while enough people like to play violent FPS, the games are going to stay...
Prior to the Xbox, console games were largely focused on lush, whimsical landscapes with mechanics that required some puzzling to figure out. At least, the games that kids played, anyway; I know Unreal Tournament and Doom and Quake were big, but looking back I think those games all had a whimsy to them as well. The arsenal in Unreal is way sillier than anything Halo's ever had to offer (even Halo's energy sword seems kind of rote). And the major titles on the N64 and Playstation and Dreamcast were titles like Mario and Sonic and Crash Bandicoot – colorful worlds, puzzles often based on platforming. Developers like Nintendo and Rare had a knack for creating controls and visuals that seem to reward you for getting into them, so that even Rare's Goldeneye 007 felt like an utterly silly game. (Proximity mine in the toilet!)
When Halo came out, it was immediately apparent that this was Microsoft's grand new vision of gaming – "realistic" graphics, self-seriousness, achievements, and an ugly competitive edge. My memories of Halo are almost all multiplayer, obviously: generally, six kids sitting by a machine, two of them unhappy because they sucked and consequently were cycled out every other game, meaning they didn't get practice time either. The local teen center turned into a place where a bunch of bro-types would hook up their Xboxes and play each other all night, screaming at one another between rooms. The TV that was used for movies got co-opted into another Xbox resource, so eventually the whole place became a Halo pit. And online Halo (which started with 2, if I recall correctly) changed the dynamic yet again, in a way that's familiar to all of us: kids cussing at one another, players generally acting like little shits.
Some of that all would have happened without Microsoft's "Xbox is a manly console for men" marketing push. But you can absolutely look back and say that Microsoft influenced developers in a bad way. Sony made a push to "cut Microsoft off" with titles like God of War, which are similarly quote-unquote epic. Halo opened the door for Tom Clancy games, Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, on and on. A number of older game developers decided, when they made the change from 2D to 3D, to pursue a similarly "gritty" realism. Now there's a gaming culture wherein genres are solidly defined and there's excruciatingly little variation between game mechanics, visual style, or design mentality, at least in the AAAs. And it's because of how relentlessly Microsoft pushed to divide the market.
The old designers either shifted their styles along with this, or they ran out of steam. Sega hasn't made a good game in over a decade – I won't even blame that on their pursuing a "mature and edgy" vibe with the Sonic franchise, though they seem to think that's what gamers want. They just ran out of ideas for where to take Sonic. Rare had a couple of late-era successes, mostly Viva Pińata, but the only thing they've done in five years is Kinect Sports games. And Nintendo? They still stick to their old style, but this many years on Nintendo's flaws as a game developer are showing. Aspects of their games which were totally forgivable when they were building for N64 or even Gamecube are starting to feel like irritatingly deliberate decisions on their part now. And you know what? That would be okay if Nintendo didn't sometimes feel like the only company still pushing that particular aesthetic. If they were one company among many, it wouldn't matter so much, but they're singlehandedly trying to push against the currents of every other game developer on the planet, and it's increasingly becoming clear that they're just not good enough to carry that all by themselves.
Obviously, this is a view of just a limited slice of gamer culture. Indie games absolutely borrow from the old-school design mentality more than they do from the Halo mindset; I've seen more whimsy and fun in a single Humble Indie Bundle than I've seen appear on the Xbox 360 since its release. Even there, though, you can feel the influence somewhat, and it's spoiled some games that I really wish I could have enjoyed (namely Bastion). And you do have both occasional lighthearted breakouts (Katamari Damacy) and games that use the self-serious mentality to incredible effect (Demon's Souls). This is a fad which will pass with time, though I'm not so pleased at the thought that our next big wave of developers are the ones developing for mobile and Facebook. Angry Birds and Farmville are not a fun influence. But that's just the way it goes. There'll always be good stuff if you know how to hunt for it. I just miss the fact that for a decade or so, the best games were at the top of the heap or close to it. I don't know if I realized how lucky I was as a kid until that ended. The 90s were a great time to grow up a young gamer.
Blaming Microsoft for this is insane. There is virtually no difference between Wolfenstein and Doom on the one hand, and Halo and Gears of War on the other - except for better graphics. If you think this is a trend of the past decade, then you either weren't a gamer in the '90s, or you are letting nostalgia colour your perceptions.
One of Halo's major innovations was that it removed the health bar. In a shooter like Doom or Goldeneye, you have let's say 100 HP, and different weapons deal a different amount of damage. It's just like any fighting game with a health bar. Halo replaced that with a shield system, wherein being shot repeatedly wasn't a game-ender if you could get away long enough for shields to recharge. It changes the pacing of the game substantially, especially in multiplayer. The jittery feeling of older games, where every shot counts and you always have to be on the lookout for your opponent, was made both slower (because other players weren't constantly trying to get a shot on you and wear you down) and a bit more mindless (because once you got into a firefight, your only choice was to shoot the other person repeatedly or else there'd be no damage left whatsoever).
This complements the self-seriousness of the Halo games, which absolutely inspired the direction of the next-gen titles. Halo was "grittier" and less silly than previous shooters had been. In Wolfenstein, you were fighting enemies like robo-Hitler. In Doom, the enemies you were up against were inventive, silly, and fun. And the push towards realism was by no means inevitable. Look at Unreal Tournament 2004, which was a touted push towards enhanced graphics and gameplay that took advantage of modern systems, but which remains an utterly comical game. The violence is whimsical and comic; the levels are far more ridiculous than Halo's or Halo 2's. It's a pretty game, as far as that goes, but the prettiness is used for exaggeration rather than for "grit". So obviously that path was not only possible for games, but it led to quite a few very good games over the last decade.
You cherry-pick robo-Hitler in order to paint Wolfenstein as a fun and happy game - but the fact of the matter is that when it was released, it was the most realistic game ever made (give or take), in which you killed nazis. Nothing but nazis. In a first-person perspective, in a dark and gritty environment, in what was seen as very realistic. The policor backlash to the game's realism and grittiness - and the nazi-aspect - was huge. Wolfenstein was far, far more realistic and gritty than Halo has ever been, when put in historical perspective.
Then there's the fact that other realistic console shooters existed long before Halo came out. Take Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark for the N64, for instance. Two highly-realistic first person shooters, accompanied by successful multiplayer elements. Or Medal of Honor for the PS1. On the PC, too - take Rise of the Triad, one of the most violent games I can think of. Its multiplayer was simplistic, straightforward, and incredibly violent and gory.
I know it's all the rage to talk down on console gaming and games like Halo in particular, but the fact of the matter is that this kind of gaming didn't start with Halo, and had been around for a long, long time before it. Games like this have always existed alongside deeper and richer games, and that's a good thing - I like more intelligent and rewarding experiences, but after a long day or a stressful week, I just want to get some friends together and shoot zombies in Left 4 Dead 1/2 - just as I don't want every movie I see to be Philadelphia. Sometimes, I just want Armageddon or Die Hard, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Doom was also fun, but I don't think of it as playful or silly. it was horrific and scary, because it set the standard for realism back in its day - of course the monsters were unreal, but nobody had ever seen such a detailed or fluid-feeling environment before. And gameplay-wise, both Wolfenstein and Doom were largely blast-and-hope type games, because the AI wasn't very sophisticated and sniping/stealthing your way through was generally not an option.
When I think of playful and silly from that era, I think of early Duke Nukem and Rise of the Triad, which started out as a serious game but rapidly went into silly territory with unlikely weapons, wildly unrealistic platform mechanics (giant trampolines) and wacky pickups (magic mushrooms that caused on-screen 'hallucinations'), and practically encouraged the player to cheat (god mode etc.) for the giggle value. Incidentally, there's a ROTT reissue in the works: http://riseofthetriad.net/web/app.php/features/
Halo 2 wasn't the first game to remove the health bar either, Red Faction 2 had an almost identical vitality system to Halo's shields.
If you think Halo was gritty and serious, you've never played Halo. Grunts are some funny bastards. Multiplayer with vehicles and rocket launchers is damn silly.
Also, complaining about the "excessive competitiveness" of Halo (of all games), compared to that of, say, Counter Strike or damn fucking Quake 3, is pretty fucking disingenuous. Harvest Moon is more suitable to competitive play than Halo.
I also think you might be missing quite a lot of games you did not know.
You were in middle school when Halo came out, so I can be fairly certain you were too young to remember Wolfenstein and Doom being released. And you're completely wrong. Those games were not simple and playful and colorful. They were gory, and violent, and brutal and complex. I had to play them when my parents weren't paying attention because of the excessive gore and satanic overtones. Doom was not some simple little game, it introduced the concept of circle strafing and multi-level enemies in FPS.
>The jittery feeling of older games, where every shot counts and you always have to be on the lookout for your opponent
Ha, really? Quake introduced the term run-and-gun. You didn't make every shot count, you just fired a barrage of rockets and bullets all towards your enemies.
>Halo was "grittier" and less silly than previous shooters had been
Yeah, demons from hell with miniguns for arms and blood dripping off their fangs are super silly. And the those Covenant grunts run around comically when you throw a sticky grenade to them... so gritty.
I think the OPs objections is that older games don't look grittier, but these days they don't because it's hard to look past just how bad the graphics are by todays standards. However back when they were released, Wolf3d and Doom had my heart racing and even made me jump -frequently- because picking up a red key opened a secret room filled with hell demon. Doom and Doom 2 were terrifying at times.
Then you have games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill and even (albeit to a less extent) System Shock 2 which all predate the Xbox and were all pretty scary.
As much as I hate to bring age into the debate, I think the OP is too young to remember or too young to buy such games.
I still think that there's been an unfortunate shift in games over the last decade or so, and that Halo exists along the spectrum of that shift. This guy's essay made a lot of sense in the context of what criticisms I have of games in general, but I might be giving it more credit than it's worth. Sorry for being so annoyingly wrong about things; I'll try to understand this better for future discussions!
What would really be helpful is a sales chart for FPS games between 1990 and present, but I'm not sure where we could go to obtain such information. I suspect that there would be a burst in the popularity in FPS games from niche to mainstream status around the release of either halo, counterstrike, call of duty 4, or one of the quakes, but I'm not sure which one.
You didn't have to maintain a massive gaming rig or be committed to computing in order to get into FPS now. All you needed was an xbox.
That signals the divide. What PC games were cute in the 90s? If one removes the 'educational' ones like treasure <x>, it's always been one of grittiness and machismo. Halo bridged the gap and let that scheme flow into consoles. And its clear that it is more successful with the consumer.
Quake III was released on the Dreamcast. Duke Nukem 3D was released on the Saturn and Playstation. Doom was released on the Megadrive/Genesis. Halo wasn't the first FPS to be released on the console. Not by a long shot.
Well, Theme Hospital and Grim Fandango were pretty funny, but I can't remember any others.
In fact a quick scan on Wikipedia shows up dozens of FPS games that predate even Quake I: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first-person_shooter_en...
The reason why FPS might seem more popular now is likely just because graphics have advanced so much that it's hard for big game studios to justify releasing a 2D platformer. And you see this with all of the old third person 2D games that have been updated to 3D (Sonic Adventure and later games, Mario 64 / Super Mario Galaxies, Zelda, Final Fantasy, etc).
I was early 20's when Wolf 3D came out. It was shockingly graphic, but like everyone else at work I played it all the way through.
Doom on the other hand... just too gory and satanic. No thanks.
Fast forward to the present, I've played all the Halos. They're completely mainstream and not very gory.
Currently playing Borderlands 2. I dislike the constant theme of sadism and torture, but it's fun game and I manage to get past it.
I bought an Xbox magazine the other day. Literally 80%+ of the games involved shooting rotting-corpse zombies. I really don't get why people like that stuff.
Being a bro isn't, like, something you're born into. It's a certain mentality, a certain way of approaching the world. And while I like many facets of bro-dom, and enjoy the hell out of sitting down for some Smash with a couple of friends and a six-pack of Yuengling, there are some bothersome things about bro culture which that particular category of game emphasizes.
I mean, I'm critical of the FPS as a genre to some extent. It's fun as hell, but the nature of how the genre's set up has given it some kind of crappy limitations that no game I know of yet has managed to overcome. Even the best ones, like the Half-Life franchise, are limited in ways that bother me. I'm also not super fond of hardcore gaming: it's cool to watch from afar, but it's not an especially inclusive culture, and I fear that games like Starcraft and League of Legends help to scare away a broader variety of players. I'm not trying to say that gaming was perfect before Halo came out; I do think, however, that Halo helped to push a wave of bright designers in some shitty directions, and that game design has suffered as a result.
I'm critical of "games that attract waves of bros", if the bros seem to be the majority of person attracted to a game, in the same way that I'm critical of movies that attract that sort of person. Adam Sandler movies, for instance. I'm not saying everybody who likes Adam Sandler is a bad person, but I do feel that Sandler movies are kind of puerile and limited in a way that appeals to a particular type of person, and that, to the extent that they influence other creators, they do some damage to our culture. Adam Sandler's influence on movie-making has been less impactful than Halo's influence on game design, so the mentality described in the OP does bother me somewhat. To hear a guy working at Microsoft say "my company specifically tried to manufacture this kind of experience to reach this kind of audience" pisses me off.
It's quite wonderful, and now I'm thinking about what the equivalent for Halo would be. Maybe a game that brings out the tragic aspects of war -- not just as shocking gore, but as sadness and horror. Maybe a game about a Halo warrior's post-war life, a civil Sim-type game interrupted by disturbing scenes of post-traumatic hallucination & paranoia. Or a game that starts out as a shooter and becomes impossibly difficult, until the player's inevitable death, after which the real game begins, taking place in a Tibetan Buddhism-inspired series of post-death liminal states of terrifying scenes of his past sins.
This is of course completely lost in multiplayer, but I'm not sure how you can blame bungie for the non-authored parts of the game.
The story of a game is told through gameplay, not through cut scenes in between. The gameplay of Halo is, "kill these things". Not much more complicated than that. The writing can self-pity itself as much as it would like, but the fact remains that Bungie created a game in which there is only one possible course of action, and that is to kill. That multiplayer is such an aggressive shitpile, legendarily so in Halo's case, only goes to show that beneath the facade of "story" in Halo, there is pretty much just "shoot things and feel like a badass for doing so, or else get pissed off that somebody is better at shooting you than you are for them."
Jonathan Blow, who's a brilliant game developer in his own right, gave a lecture in 2008 about exactly this sort of dissonance between storytelling and gameplay. He does a great job pointing out that even the best titles in gaming, like Grand Theft Auto and Half-Life, do a poor job of aligning in-game story with the actual play. It's long, but if this is a subject that interests you, then it's absolutely worth giving a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGTV8qLbBWE. (Whilst studying this subject for my undergraduate thesis, I also took notes on this whole lecture, so if you're feeling lazy I could upload them for you; let me know if you'd like that!)
I think the key to understanding "how to do the FPS better" is that the first-person model doesn't only have to exist for shooting. It's a very potent set-up because it's "virtual", and limits your perceptions to the scope of the character you're controlling. You could make a game that involves guns but is not strictly a shooter, and therefore has the freedom to give you a certain context into what surrounds your actions.
As much as I love Buddhism in my video games, I feel like your idea might feel too preachy to your average player. But how about this for a set-up? The game starts off as a "sports" shooter game – say, paintball, or something of the sort – and you're a person with a couple bucks and a passion for the game. Ultimately, you get to a point where you're up against people with much better equipment than you, and the game becomes almost a test of masochism: how many times will you try before you give up? But there's a whole other world out there, offering you opportunities to make a quick buck. And whether you pick a live of military service or a life of crime, you're put back into a situation with guns, only now the stakes are infinitely higher. There are no second chances.
A game like that could really play with character development, both by looking at the people who serve along with you, and by making enemies something more than faceless soldiers. Give you the impression, perhaps, that the only people fighting these fights are people who don't have the idle money to play paintball all their lives, and that you're being sent to war against yourself, against people who are pretty much just like you. Except that sometimes, you're fighting for the rich people who want more, and sometimes you're fighting as the underdog, against a group of greedy people who are willing to use violence to get what they want.
Of course, if you're looking to avoid that kind of morality, you can always stick to playing paintball. But you're aware of the fact that even there, you haven't quite escaped from the world as thoroughly as you may have liked...
I know nothing about paintball forgive me
Last year's Spec Ops: The Line did a lot of this kind of work, subverting the FPS genre while you play through it. Zero Punctuation's review of it is insightful as usual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNhPMjbgkXA
People who say "Adam Sandler Movie" usually think of movies produced / written by Adam Sandler.
I used to love playing Halo 1 over system link with a group of friends but now trying to hop into Halo 4 only to have a bunch of kids cursing at eachother it turns me off from multiplayer. I agree with you in that some of those elements from the hardcore competitive culture are disappointing, but that is just one facet of gaming culture as a whole. I still feel like there's plenty of other good parts that it doesn't bother me.
What makes you think League of Legends is a hardcore game, particularly compared to Starcraft?
I really don't see it scaring people away from video games; it is one of the few RTS/ARTS games that have gone for mass appeal instead of gratuitous complexity. Honestly, I think it rivals even MMOs like WoW in how friendly it is to new players, which is reflected in how many people have moved from WoW to LoL.
Maybe the article-writer thinks that Halo made FPS too mainstream? Unlike Doom/Quake, it was cleaned up enough in a pretty blockbuster-wrapper to make it the new model of gaming to follow?
I'm not quite sure I follow OPs point. Playstation had a bunch of thoroughly unfun uncute games.
The gaming industry has /always marketed to that crowd, it's not something Microsoft invented.
I must have imagined all those hours spent online with my Dreamcast :p
Those are innovations that sparked hundreds (thousands?) of copy cats. Not saying Wolfenstein/Doom didn't have a ton of innovations as well, but I think it's safe to say Halo took things to a completely new level.
My son's 17 so let me look through some of his old PS2 games... Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, Rayman, Tak - I think those all epitomize the type of game you are referencing, you just stopped playing that type of game because you grew out of them. Also, if you'd tried to play those games there would likely be plenty of peer pressure to keep you away, teenage boys are good at peer pressure like that.
Still, speaking to unalone's broader point, maybe he just shouldn't have purchased an Xbox and stuck with one of the other consoles. Those games do exist.
I think the other reason why that change occurred is that the first generation of gamers grew up, had disposable income and were a huge potential market. Xbox was marketed specifically at that group and has been highly successful, but it was expanding the gamer market - it didn't do that by destroying the other genres. This isn't a zero-sum situation.
The games on the XBox, and even more so on the XBox360, have felt like a much narrower nich, heavily aimed at the "Rated M" audience... The PS3 has been a little (but only a little) broader. Nintendo emphasizes another niche but it has definitely been marginalized.
I agree that many of these games migrated from the PC (or expanded to) to the XBox platform, but what's missing, for me, are the alternatives, to the point where I don't plan to buy another XBox. (Not sure I'll buy another PSn, either -- will have to see more than came with this generation.)
Call of Duty
LittleBigPlanet, for example, sold more on the PS3 than multiple Call of Duty editions, GTA IV and others.
And lets not forget mobile games, where Angry Birds rules.
But I think you a very valid question of if (or when) total computer game playtime will be (already is) so dominated by mobile and browser-based games that PCs and consoles are the actual niches.
If you look at all the major studios that have been wading into mobile and social, it's pretty clear the industry has been thinking about this for a long time now.
The submitted story sounds like someone working in a place where they shouldn't be, and their laments are other people's celebrations.
Halo 2 brought some of the best multiplayer I've ever seen on a console. In Halo 3, they added a ranking system that attempted to keep the online experience fun for newbs and veterans alike.
Furthermore, not all modern blockbusters are self-serious. The Borderlands, Portal, and Team Fortress 2 come to mind as shooters that are completely and utterly silly. Gears of War has a little whimsy, too, though perhaps not enough for your tastes -- a chainsaw bayonet on the end of an assault rifle? Whimsy!
I understand your frustrations with modern mass-market gaming, but they're neither Halo's nor Microsoft's fault. This is how capitalism works. Maybe the market shift is temporary, leaving you in a niche for a while until the indie movement becomes large enough to push the "grittily" realistic games out of the way. Or maybe it's permanent, in which case you'll be stuck in the indie niche forever. At least the Xbox Live Arcade has no shortage of whimsical indie games to play.
> Halo opened the door for Tom Clancy games,
The first Rainbow Six game predated Halo by three years (and the announcement of the XBox itself by two years) and though it started as a PC title, it was released for all the consoles of the time, including the Nintendo 64. You could argue that Tom Clancy games paved the way for Halo.
"Halo brought PC FPS culture to consoles and into every living room"
Before Halo the same level of vitriolic competitiveness existed, it was just exclusive to the PC gamers playing FPSs. These gamers who were in desperate need of having someone to let out some agression and play "Alph-male" a role many of them didn't get to dabble with during their daily lives.
When I finally got a computer, I realized I don't like the aesthetic of the newer games at all, and so got into programming without ever finishing a single game on the computer.
The best sellers of 2001 (the year of Halo) were The Sims and Rollercoaster Tycoon; not exactly dark and violent games.
I remember a blog post from the late 90s or early 00s that pointed out that the marketing material (trailer or ad copy) for one FPS bragged about the realism of the gore, e.g., of the blood that spurted from the wound when you shot someone.
There is a group-think mob mentality that ravenously follows the whims of top management as 'hip' and mere players are referred to as scrubs and considered not worthy to make suggestions or criticize.
Go to any popular MMO forum and criticize any portion of the games supposed backstory, and prepare for the waterfall of developer lead fanboy rage in response.
There are various tropes baked into this culture. All the 'bros' know that universally pet classes must always be second class citizens. Don't overlook how pay to win, and lottery style 'mystery boxes' that asian cultures are so fond of, almost overnight became fixtures in almost every online game now.
There's a time and a place for all games - the mindless shoot em ups, or the whimsical indie types. Or the serious Dark Souls types. Or even the cinematic types with a ridiculously large cinematic to gameplay ratio.
"Filling out the gaps in the 7-12 hours ride are moments of rote game play with all possible feedback knobs tuned to 11. Blood, brains, impact. Innovation is located at 11.2. This makes you feel something visceral."
Having cognitive issues similar to being exposed to porn from this age on. We are starting to read about people who've come forward and said they are unhappy with their sex life and have tied it back to their early porn exposure. I wonder if there isn't a similar effect in recreational activity.
In high school one of my friends was an adrenaline junkie, they were crazy for that feeling of being right on the edge. They satisfied that edge by doing crazy things which could have killed them (sadly eventually it did). But most of my friends weren't affected and while a roller coaster ride was exciting, the lack of adrenaline when hiking didn't ruin hiking for us, or sailing.
So do we have people who can't spend their spare time doing something like reading or walking because it doesn't give them a jolt of adrenaline, like we've had folks say they had troubled being satisfied with "normal" sexual relations ? Any thoughts on how we could test that?
The authors experiences about gaming seem to be dramatizations of fairly common first world teenage problems - which are exaggerated here for advertising.
There's still the mainstream bro games, but it does seem developers have more of a chance to make a living off their ideas.
That made me think of QTE. We never needed those things, but still they gave it to us. And keeps giving it to us. It's lazy gameplay, it's a "I'm a developer, I have a cutscene and I'm too bored to integrate real gameplay into it".
I think the next generation of consoles are going to struggle against cheaper systems like OUYA and tablets.
Wii – 99.38 million as of 31 December 2012
Playstation 3 – (IDC January 2013 estimate: "about 77 million")
Xbox 360 – 75.9 million as of 31 December 2012
Yes it was a huge success. Even though it didn't sell as many consoles as others, its tie ratio flat-out beats both the Wii and the PS3, and that's quite an important metric that's almost never taken into account, but that contributes a great deal to the success of a platform.
I wonder if/how this affects the projects of different studios? E.g., should we expect games from Japan to tend to have broader appeal?
Still, great post with which I sympathise greatly.
I've seen both Triple Town and Steam Birds featured on the App Store. I think both were in the top 10 at one point or another.
Good post otherwise.
Sure, it acts as self-promotion, but it's cynical to assume that everything that promotes anything was created first and foremost to sell stuff.
His company as founded a few minutes ago, 2010 in real years http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spry_Fox . Give it a few more years before the holier than though attitude, who knows what you'll do during the next downturn. See Zynga
Seriously, I'm not sarcastic, I'm curious. Most of articles linked here seem to be longer.
The entire point of this rant was that the author did not feel welcome in this "club, community" and didn't like what it entails. I can sympathize with that somewhat, and I bet you can too.