It's called "5 Ways to Tell You're Getting Too Old for Video Games", and it tries to pass off all of today's hideous failings in the industry to us just being a bunch of old coots. They also make the claim that video games today are no different than they were in the Pong era, by virtue of the fact that there were copy-cat games there too, in comparison to our onslaught of brown FPS games.
Oh, and they also insinuate that Final Fantasy VI is on the same level as Call of Duty's zombie mode. Just because kids today are more immersed in that, in a -vaguely similar- way we were enraptured in the world of magicite and espers. See, it's not that games themselves are getting shittier, or that the industry is focusing too much on the racist 8-year old demographic. No, it's our fault because we aren't letting our inner-child roam free, free like the birds and the bees and the cute little bunnies.
Guys... NO. Holy shit, that's just... no.
See, here's the thing they're forgetting: It was okay for games to be stupid 20 years ago. We could barely render a moustache correctly. But they served their purpose for their time, and every year games got a little better, a little wiser and were only giving more entertainment. Dragon Quest led to Final Fantasy which led to Chrono Trigger. Donkey Kong led to Super Mario Bros., which led to Donkey Kong Country. There was an upward momentum, a push to get better and better.
At some point, everyone gave up. Publishers would not allow anything even remotely interesting or new, and developers became too bitter and jaded to remember what fun is. They've been taking it out on us ever since. We've been stumbling through the muck ever since Halo. Instead of trying to make their own version, or to make a better version, everyone just decided they wanted to make That Game, over and over again. Games all look and play the same now, from the bargain-bin crapouts to the AAA big-budget blockbusters. THIS IS A NEW PROBLEM, and pretending it isn't is counter-productive toward finding and implementing a solution.
And as for the clone games trying to cash in on whatever was popular, well I say the platformer craze that Mario started still showed more imagination and creativity than fucking Bulletstorm, Bodycount, Brink, Bullet Gun Shooter Fuckers 3, etc. In fact, let's compare.
Here's todays video games, courtesty of David Wong himself:
|Courtesy of Cracked.com|
Boy, he hit the nail on the head with that one. Look at that. Same glass square iron-sight scopes. Same type of gun. Same bloody screen. Same gray and brown military aesthetic. All of them clearly trying to cash in on what's popular at the time, trying to replicate the experience exactly instead of trying to make something fresh or interesting.
Now, let's look at four games released and inspired by the success of the the 2D platformer craze:
|Courtesy of VGMuseum.com|
OH YEAH, THAT GAME ABOUT THREE VIKINGS SENT THROUGH TIME TO SOLVE PUZZLES ON A SPACE-SHIP IS TOTALLY THE SAME AS THE ONE ABOUT A BLUE HEDGEHOG WHO RUNS FAST, AND THE GAME WHERE A DEMON HAS TO REGAIN HIS LOST GLORY IN A HELLISH WASTELAND OF MONSTERS.
WHAT WAS I THINKING
And I don't want to hear that "BUT GAMES ARE STILL A YOUNG MEDIUM" bullshit. No they aren't. They're old enough that we should have had our Ulysses or our Wizard of Oz by now. Games are NOT in their infancy. They are a middle-aged slob living in his parent's basement, refusing to grow up despite everyone telling them to get off its ass and get a life.
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but there was a time where publishers weren't clueless, penny-pinching rapists. Games weren't nearly as expensive or time-consuming to make, so they were allowed to try something fun and different once in a while. Sometimes they were even allowed to be subtle, to be thoughtful and engaging on an emotional level.
Yes, you got your Bubsy's and your GTA clones, but those weren't all we had to choose from. And I still say your Aero the Acro-Bats showed more imagination and entertainment value than Call of Duty. They had more of a signature at least. This is not looking through rose-tinted Nostalgia-Glasses. This is taking a realistic look at what both generations have to offer, which are offering different circumstances and thus different results.
Telling me that the problem looks exactly the same today as it did when we were 12 is incorrect. Telling me the all of those problems are the entirely the result of me not being 12 anymore is howling madness. It seeks to belittle and devalue the situation this industry finds itself in, to pass it off as nothing the same way detractors try to downplay the Evolutionary debate or Global Warming. All John Cheese and David Wong have accomplished together is telling me how little they understand(or want to understand) the subject they chose.
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