[Strongly Jaded Gamer] Post E3

Am I the only one who sees the coming crash?

No, seriously E3 this year was so gimmick laden I’m surprised they didn’t give out bag of clown props with the badges. Yeah, there’s still some serious stuff going on around the periphery, but it really seems like the focus of the big three has become: how can we make gaming more integral to your life while ignoring that for many gaming already is?

And I’m kind of sick of it. New ways of interfacing do not necessarily a more integral experience make. Deeper and more meaningful experiences are what make gaming something everyone can enjoy.

I feel video games have come to be an important part of our culture and, as a long time gamer, nothing could make me happier–Well…maybe a few things—but, the bigger issue is that there are now two very different target audiences. Two…generations, if you will. Those who’ve grown up with gaming and those who are getting into it, now that’s its the THING TO DO!

And maybe this is part of why I’m so jaded about gaming as an industry right now. For the most part, games are targeted at that new, incoming audience, even if this is the third installment of a game whose engine hasn’t changed since the first one. As if development studios are afraid that any amount of challenge or ambiguity will convince the player to unhook the console and return it—never mind the cadre of gamers who have played everything they’ve produced ever and are the whole reason that the industry has grown like it has.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about change. That happens. If anything we need some huge change from the current model of consoles pretty much being run by the manufactures and two third party companies who make the same three games every year. But right now, the changes being made are safe bets, just like how most everything that comes out right now is a safe game. Of all the games shown at E3, only a handful were new games. On the stage of business, studios don’t want to risk the hundreds of thousands that it takes to make a game on something unless they’re positive it will succeed (or its a movie tie-in that will make money anyway).

To which I ask, why not make less expensive games and more of ’em? Haven’t titles like Journey shown we can make games that will get bought despite not being the Hollywood overstatement that is the COD series? Doesn’t the flourishing Indie scene on XBLA show that so long as a game is fun people will come?

Anyway, back to the point at hand. The Wii U as a whole, Microsofts’s SmartGlass thing, and whatever it is that Sony’s trying to do with Wonderbook are plotting a course towards uncharted territory that falls squarely in a region claimed by the second gen and what it comes down to is, that I’m not at all interested in it and not just because I feel its a mass market appeal grab. It’s an issue with the new layer and it not being used to enrich the experience in a way that is meaningful.

Sure, using the Wiimote as a stand-in for the mouse opens up a whole world of potential to be explored and new immersion to be brought. But be honest, how many games can you think of where the motion improved your immersion? How many that were ruined by it? How well do you think people other than Nintendo will use the Wii U pad? How much will bad use of the pad detract from games that could have been perfectly serviceable with just a normal controller?

Maybe asking those questions makes me a terrible person, but they’re questions that need to be asked before we really go forward with a new evolution of gaming and then end up in a place we can’t sustain.

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About Trevor Gulley

Trevor Gulley is a writer, cartoonist, and gamer. He works full time in the IT industry and judges Magic most weekends.

Posted on 06/08/2012, in Strongly Jaded Gamer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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