Video games of our childhood, no, of our infancy were incredibly simplistic what we would now call puzzle games. However, as the hardware and design and game mechanics evolved an evolutionary step was taken and the highest selling games such as Pong and Pac-Man were replaced with more complex 2D side scrollers, fighters and racing games.
I’m not talking games because the very first one of those was on the Sinclair ZX81 in 1971 and was called 3D Monster Maze, rather I mean 3D in the game engine sense, the rise of first person shooters and such.
|Wolfenstein – where else could you fight Hitler in a mech-suit?|
Wolfenstein and other first person shooters filled my teenage years and I would spend hours playing them.
Some were technically 2D engines layered cleverly to give the illusion of 3D, Doom is an example of this but it paved the way for 3D engines and led to Id Software creating their first actual 3D engine title, Quake.
Then began a long slow process in converting popular franchises, formats and genres into a 3D environment.
Despite how popular earlier games like Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake were (and other less known pioneering titles that came before them) media attention was awarded to the successful 3D-ising of Mario in Super Mario 64 and thus, games continued being adapted in this vein, with new titles incorporating better graphics and visuals due to their updated game engines.
|Super Mario 64|
Nowadays, the popular new format is HD or layered versions of old formats such as the rise and re-emergence of the 2D scroller and arcade style games (Limbo, Little Big Planet, Minecraft etc.), it’s evident from this that we love to revel in nostalgia (I know I do!) but where do we go from there?
How many motion controlled games are there, really?
How many of us have a Kinect sensor or a Wii gathering dust?
I haven’t played a motion sensor game in months because the controls aven’t been utilised by any of the games I enjoy, except maybe some voice control elements in Halo Anniversary and Mass Effect 3.
The lack of developers incorporating motion control into their games leads me to the conclusion that it’s nothing but a fad. I don’t see it as the next step in the gaming world.
I appreciate that this is a very tall order and my effective complaint is that something new has yet to be invented and not only that, but something which can be utilised and applied to every conceivable
Maybe I just can’t see it because I’m too close to it but I worry the games industry is akin to Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu. It gets all crazy and electrified over any news about a new release yet acts like a spoilt child when it’s asked to take things more seriously or move on much in the same way that Pikachu refuses to evolve into a Raichu.
The games industry, like Pikachu, is willing to help you gather other Pokémon (or peripherals) and it will fight for you (and among themselves) with a weird sense of misplaced loyalty. Why doesn’t it want to evolve? Well, it chooses not to because it’s comfortable and wants to hang out with you and all it’s buddies who constantly sing his praise with sycophantic chants of “Yeah! Way to go! You did it! You’re Awesome!”.
And now with this inflated sense of ego, it carries on doing the same three moves often getting by through sheer luck the majority of the time. Occasionally, it sulks and gets annoyed with the fact that nothing has changed. Yet through an odd sense of nostalgia, it convinces itself that it’s happy with life. Even though it lives in a tiny Pokéball leaving it only on occasion to defend its trainer.
I’m tired of fighting battles for the games and consoles I love. I will continue playing them because I enjoy gaming but I’d like get excited for the future and the potential that comes with it instead of settling for the same thing over and over. The games industry needs to evolve and I’d like it to happen soon.
After all, Pikachu is overrated.