Are Console Video Games Losing Their Focus?
With the advent of the latest generation of video game consoles and PCs that are almost infinitely expandable, developers are being pushed to their limit to create the latest and greatest game of all time.
There's no doubt that some developers have been delivering: games like Metal Gear Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, Killzone 2, etc. With games like these nowadays, it's hard to imagine that there was a time when people were crazy over games like Pong and Pacman.
My worry is that because of such hits, many fun games have been overlooked. Note that I said "fun", not "quality" or "good". Games of such epic proportions in today's world have raised people's expectations of what a game should be like.
When a new first person shooter is released, people start comparing it with other games like Killzone 2. When an open world game is released, it's immediately compared to GTA 4.
My worry is that people often forget what games are meant to be in the end: fun for the person who's playing it. Let's face it, everyone has individual taste. A game that might seem horrendous for one person (eg. Cooking Mama for me) might provide endless amounts of fun for another person (eg. many girls out there).
The first thing a casual gamer does when playing a game is determine if they're having fun playing it. On the other hand, gamers have played so many more games that there are times we forget the simple fact that games are just meant to be fun.
There have been many a time when I'm playing a game and naturally start thinking about stuff like "Hmm, the models in this game look more shoddy than the ones that were in this other really cool game I played not too long ago." or "This game is lame because it's copying a mechanic that was included in this other game".
Gamers will just naturally start comparing certain aspects of one game with a better one, and in the end the game might seem inferior. However, we get so caught up with how the animation in a game is less realistic that we don't even realise that we're still having loads of fun playing it.
For example, if a game has cliche dialog and writing, it's considered annoying. If a game has a stereotypical story or plot, it's "lame". If it doesn't have an epic scale, it's criticised for having a "limited scope". Et cetera. You get my point.
There are 2 reason for this problem in my opinion. Firstly, game reviews. In the ages of Super Mario, reviews were never as wide spread or easily available as a few clicks of a mouse. Nowadays, with dozens and dozens of reviews for almost every game, it's easy to get caught up in the hype.
Not to mention that these reviews rely heavily on the subjective experience of the reviewers since they're ultimately written by other people who will have absolutely no idea if a particular game is fun for YOU.
There've been times when I just didn't have any fun with a so-called "5-stars" game purely because they weren't my type of game (eg. Bioshock, even though I love FPSes in general). Similarly, there're certain games that I find insanely fun despite it receiving ridiculous scores (eg. plenty of PSP games) and I'm sure almost every other gamer has had similar sentiments as well.
The problem with reviews is that many gamers have undoubtedly overlooked plenty of games that might have been insanely fun for them, but because of the negative reviews or just overwhelming hype surrounding other games, they've been missed out on those apparently inferior games which would still have entertained them till no end.
Second of all, is simply the overwhelming number of games that are being released today. Decades ago, there were only that many quality games to choose from, for example the SNES had TONS of games released on it, but only that many were worth playing. Fast forward to today and even the more mediocre games still have a certain amount of production quality to them.
For example reviews of the game Legendary have been pretty bad across the board, but I'm sure there're still some people who will love the whole idea and atmosphere of the game, be it because of its gameplay mecahnics or its story.
The thing is that there are so many games released nowadays that only the best will be noticed, while mediocre games that might still be fun for some people will be overlooked for sure. Of course, the wider variety of games is a huge bonus, but it's just so much more difficult for each individual to find the game he or she will love.
All in all, I have one piece of advice for all gamers when you're playing any game: just have fun. Stop comparing it to previous games in terms of graphics, gameplay or whatnot.
Also, go ahead and try out some games that might receive bad scores from game review sites or magazines, no harm trying anyway. Just ask yourself, "Am I having fun?" If so, just keep playing. If not, pop the disc out and move on to the next game. It's just that simple.
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And that is why now it's so important to make demos available to people or to rent before buying, it's not easy buying a 60 dollar game and find out it's not to my liking even if every reviewer raves about how good it is. Even so, great reviews couldn't make Valkyria Chronicles sell more and it's a very very good game.
I believe that the "casual" gaming craze and rising production costs are actually damaging the industry with tons of crapware for the Wii and dumbing down of genres to make them accessible to more people.
And the gamers have also become insuferable complaining about graphics and whether a game is 1080p or just 1020 or crap like that, some companies actually worry more about the graphics than the story and enjoyment of the game.
The gaming journalists and glorified bloggers also screw up gaming by complaining about stupid things, "this is too similar to Halo", "The graphics have a little pop up", "I liked GTA better", and the top of the stupidity I read somewhere a while ago "I don't really like RPGs and I think this is crap because the graphics look dated". And we take advice form people like that. We have surrendered our choice and free will to a bunch of wannabe game directors and journalists that decide if a game is good or not, some too petty to admit a PS3 game is any good because they love their 360, some too young or uninformed to actually recognize any gaming beyond Mario 64, and some too poor that they take money from publishers and console makers to give good reviews.
Thats why I take reviews as suggestions without too much value, in the end I decide if a game is for me, I'm not going to buy Gears of War 2 just because the reviewers say it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, I actually don't like the game mechanics. And I bought Assasins Creed even though most reviewers said it was boring and repetitive (it was repetitive but enjoyable nonetheless).
You have officially received the, BEST POST EVER AWARD! As sad as it is to admit, you are 100% right and I am thankful that finally this was brought up. The sad truth is gamers have spoiled themselves. I miss the old days where as you mentioned, the most fun ever was playing games classics like super mario, pitfall, pac-man and asteroids.
Don't get me wrong. Games of today are great and I never expected we would come this far in such a short amount of time. Thing is, devs have forgotten what gaming is about when they are creating today's games. There is such a massive focus on GRAPHICS that it personally makes me sick. Things like trophies and achievements of today's games are, in my opinion, the WORST idea in the history of gaming. Trophies and achievements are nothing more than gaming devs lazy way out of making sure a game has decent replay value. They just throw a ton of achievements/trophies in there and call it a day, instead of actually taking the time to think of something fun and new to add in there to make you want to play it over and over again.
I guess the biggest point that I am trying to express here is that game devs of today have lost their edge. They have forgotten exactly why we all play games, why we buy them, why we care about them and why we have continued to support them for years and years now. Many of the game devs out there wouldn't even be around if it weren't for us purchasing and supporting them through the years. Like I mentioned, not every game company has been making these mistakes (Capcom comes to mind). It's simply that the majority of them have started to destroy the world of gaming and with companies like M$ creating contracts with them all, its not wonder so much is changing and not exactly changing for the better.
I believe that companies like M$ honestly have no business in the gaming industry and should immediately leave, no matter what ppl say about them. What is the point of being able to use up to 4 controllers on either the PS3 or 360? Every damn game has pretty much considered co-op play dead right? So why do we need more than a single controller? Devs have clearly made their point by showing us that in order to play with friends, your friends have to buy the same system as you and buy the games you have. That is total BS and I swear its another trick that M$ has taught them. They have changed the industry so much in their short time here and none of it has been good. They are creating a 'new' gaming industry and I for one personally hate it. They are changing a ton of game devs into money hunger [people] (pardon my french) and making these devs forget about the important things, like fun and focusing more on the useless things like making a ton of money.
I know there are a lot of Xbox M$ lovers out there but the point is that they are destroying the unwritten gaming code of conduct that has been around for years and years. Its kind of like the gaming government, or laws I guess. Point is, that M$ is making it into a gaming world I don't really care to be a part of anymore. I have never played so many games that were so extremely flawed, bugged and feature-less as I have in the past few years and personally, most of these games are horrible. I find myself regularly going to back to my older consoles these days.
I am doing this more and more often everyday. Whether it be emulators or the actual thing, I have been trying to 'get my fill' of great or at least decent games in some form or another b/c most of the ones of today just aren't doing it. Sure there are some that are great and you can play them forever. I just have times though where I can't stand playing highly graphically, 3D games anymore and feel the need for some old 2D action.
Well this post was supposed to be short but that didn't really happen. OOPS sorry. I know that this post has probably a ton of grammar and spelling issues and I apologize for that too but I am very tired and just couldn't wait to post a comment on this one. To summarize this up, the economy sucks and the last thing that we, gamers need to have happen is to have the gaming industry that we (well, maybe just vets like me) have all grown to love and get use to getting us out of difficult times such as these, that last thing we need is for that to feel the strong painful effects of the rest of the world too. If we can't have our games the way that 'WE' want them to be, then we really have nothing anymore do we?
I just wish that things would somehow revert back to the time, when I remember playing super mario 2 and wanting to break my controller because the game was just too darn hard and complicated. Needless to say that game is kind of a joke now compared to the challenges presented in many of today's games but even still it reminds me of how far we have come and sometimes it reminds me of how far away we have all strayed, from a time when gaming was absolutely perfect in almost every way, sure we didn't have online play, or achievements, or insane graphics and features.
No we didn't have those things but, we had everything that mattered, huge fun factor, amazing replay value, sick ass 8 bit soundtracks, and friends, when you could actually hook up a second controller and play with a friend for hours on end. These are the things I miss and i'm sure everyone who reads this can agree if they just take a look at their past and remember yourself doing the same thing. Thanks for the post and thanks for reading my book--er post :-)
This is why i still have my ps1 and ps2 consoles yet and both are modded and i can enjoy those older games as the generation now a days can't grasp that fun factor, and i also have a sega saturn in mint shape to play some old games, only have a few for that system, but emulators for the ps2 are great as you can enjoy many classic games indeed which are..FUN!
those times will always be better
I totally agreed! I still have almost all of my consoles. I have my original NES (+ another I got for $5 at a yard sale in mint condition, steal right? I know) I have my SNES, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Playstation, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, and both a Gameboy Color and Advance. I really miss my old Commodore 64 and Atari 2600. Sadly that both crapped the bed a long while ago. My current 'up-to-date' systems are my Wii and PS3. I had a 360 (even though I severely hate M$) but that bit the big one too (imagine that right ;p).
I was never fortunate enough (or basically rich enough) to get most of the SEGA consoles, I was more of a Nintendo fan back then anyway but most of the consoles made by SEGA I was a huge fan of. Even still the things I never had, or the ones I don't have anymore, I just play games for those systems using emulators. It's not exactly the same but its plenty good enough for bringing back the good ol' memories.
Needless to say, I am either too in love with my old childhood memories or I just deeply hate the gaming world of today's industry. I'm know for a fact its both. The gaming industry of today is just too full of both a ton of BS, and way too much drama. I play many games on all of my older systems quite frequently, almost everyday.
Sure I play a lot of my newer games too, but rarely. usually only when buddies want to play online with me. The only exception is Resident Evil 5. That game is amazing and I waited years for it's release so I have to play the crap out of it. I will also play GTA IV and a few others too but not nearly as much as RE5 and besides the online system for GTA IV is the most terrible online system ever, but one of my buddies is stuck with just that one game so I have to play it with him quite often.
Other than those listed, most of my other newer titles are really quite neglected, lol. Only those who lived during what I refer to as the 'golden era' of gaming can truly understand and appreciate this rant, everyone else will probably just think I am an obsessed nut-job. Doesn't matter though, anyone who knows what i'm talking about knows that those times will forever PWN the crap of today.
Hands down and rant over ;p
You bet as those old games are still great.
The games on the iphone are 1 buck or 3 bucks most of them and when you buy a 3 dollar game its a very fun and good game on the iphone. Dude I spend hours playing games like field runners($3 dlls), iDracula($1 dlls) or Taptap defense(Free) and its great when you go to the restroom and relax while you are doing your stuff. I literally get hours of joy and entertainment, and I get even more fun out of them than the ps3 games because they try to hard and are too serious. With $60 dlls for a game of ps3 I can buy aleast 35 games that will give me over two hundred hours of gameplay and joy.
Also with the iphone I learned that you play a game for a couple of hours and you finish it or get done with it and thats it, you need to look for another game and purchase another. I dont know if you understand me you just get over it and thats it bye, its so casual that literally you get to try 2 o 3 new games each week that are so fresh and entertaining. Something similar happens with the DS, right now Im playing chrono trigger DS and I have over 20 hours logged of gameplay and having lots of fun with it.
Its not about graphics and the price is just too high. Games like CTDS and the iphone games are cheap and graphics most of the time are simple and you get a lot out of them. Sure I will buy tomorrow valkyria chronicles(havent found it yet) but thats only 1 game im really interested in getting out of dozens that are cheap and casual. So yeah games are losing their focus trying to do the same and trying to hard not to fail because if they do the game tanks and the production costs are pretty high.
old is still good
Games can be like friends, keep the old but theres nothing wrong with new. I just upgraded to a sony ps3, I am a huge fan of NHL games. I just boxed up my xbox 360 console (nhl 09 with it). . .honestly not comparing, but I think that the nhl 09 on xbox 360 kicks sonys a$$. I have no problem hooking up and playing any old game or console, I think that playing duck hunt on an NES in 1080p would be just as bad a$$ as play call of duty 5 wich is also a great game. Needless to say everyone has their own opinion of games and what they like, theres always going to be ''new'', or ''better'' games, but does that mean were supposed to just forget about everything we`ve played and learned on every other game we`ve come across?
One thing that i find funny nowadays is how much everybody is trying to get Snes and Sega Genesis emulators on their PS3, I agree i wouldn't mind having one on mine, but i bought a snes for 5 dollars about 7 years ago and half the fun of playing the older games is using the snes controllers and using the old school cartridges.
I agree with the fact that nowadays games are focussing too much on being the best and the most epic instead of being fun, but with the hardware that's in the Ps3 and the 360, i think they maybe should focus more on creating a more advanced, epic game cause for the people that want that they can't get it from systems like the snes or genesis. I'm not saying that they shouldn't focus on fun, but if the video game companies weren't trying to come out with the most "revolutionary" game, we wouldn't have games like Fallout 3, or Gta 4 or even games like Super Mario 64 and Duck Hunt for that matter.
When I played Metal Gear 4 I had to give up half way through the game cause it was basically like watching the worlds longest movie and every now and then theres a video game mixed into it, to one of the guys that i work with that was his favorite part, Fun is simply in the eye of the beholder.