Friday, February 25, 2005

Are We Not Entertained?

What to make
of the search for novelty in the gaming world?

That drive to, every game, every system, every year, come out with some new gimmick or fad or quirk that will hopefully draw the gaming masses to your title and not your competitor's.

This link makes some serious statements about novelty and gaming, and how it could be the death of the industry. I don't really agree with the article at all, though. I think it's kind of stupid to make predictions based upon how video games are at this moment, not only technologically but socially.

But honestly, do we need new consoles every five years? What about sequels once a year? Why the fuck do they need to keep churning out new Maddens with some small tweaks?

I think that the sheer speed of growth of the computer electronics industry gives gamers a poor sense of perspective.

I already look at my year-old computer and think 'How soon till I can upgrade?'

When we look at an art form like film, we're looking back at least to the late 1800s, maybe even going back to early photography techniques. That is a decent amount of time to mature, to find its niche in society, to develop a body of criticism and study.

And the movie industry still churns out tons and tons of crap each year.

The video game industry is not very old. Rapidly-changing technology keeps people constantly guessing as to what sort of significance that technology will bring to our lives. There is very little consensus on a critical language. Few colleges offer dedicated video-game-related degrees.

These are growing pains. We will probably suffer them for years and years. It will take time to fully assimilate the strange marriage of technology, art, repetitive motion, memorization, hand-eye coordination and what-have-you into a coherent structure that everybody can accept.

It seems like when I was younger videogames were pretty much seen as pointless diversions. I remember being called a 'vidiot' by my friend's father and forced to play outside.

Then I grew up and suddenly these videogame things are important.

Just how important will remain to be seen.

Or, y'know, the whole industry will collapse and disappear.

After all, it happened to that novelty-fest called Television, didn't it?

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