Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 75If you're reading this, it's very likely that you have more than a few MMORPG's under your belt. You probably played a lot of video-games as a child, and you likely identify with gamer culture. I can relate to this, definitely, but as I continue to examine the issues with videogames I've come to realize something quite peculiar.
I don't even play games
and you probably don't play games either
Not really, anyway. I'm sure that if you're completely honest with yourself, you probably don't either. At some point, game theory and hype became more interesting and entertaining than the actual products themselves. After all, our imaginations can't disappoint, but game studios definitely can. Sure, we may put in a round of DOTA2 or try the next niche sandbox MMORPG, but if I reflect on the last time a MMORPG made me want to cut classes, skip work, and lie to my cool friends, it's been a really long fucking time.
Nothing lives up to the hype, no game will ever break the mold, and as new gamers become jaded old gamers the cycle persists. I no longer see games in development as 'innocent until proven guilty' because their failure isn't Schrodinger's Cat. The games are dead, and we all know it. It's become so bad that AAA projects where millions of dollars have been spent in development can't even give themselves away, while ones that may never release are more profitable than ever thought possible.
The only games that even pique my interest are independent, and that's only because they're being developed by people who haven't been repeatedly flogged by an uncaring corporate industry. This is sort of a segue into the next section...
Recapturing the Magic
A story about a boy who loves to hate games
The road to redemption is long and filled with whiny forum warriors, but the prize is well worth the journey. We need to get back to a time where people made games because they love games, and not to please shareholders. Nobody runs the risk of actually starving to death anymore, and the barrier between creativity and production is thinner than ever.
We also need development dream-teams to stick together, and not get canned because of publishers imposing ever-increasing and superficial standards where none are needed. Think about how many projects you've seen that had a mish-mash of old derelict BioWare employees who were involved in wildly impressive games. Didn't they do a good job? Not good enough to warrant a paycheck after release, apparently.
Mostly, we just need the old people to retire (or die) and let people who have a vested interest in the industry assume their roles. That sounds pretty bleak, but game trends tend to progress like social issues (slowly), and, one day, we'll all be old fogies being blamed by the younger generations for ruining their telepathy games or whatever. We'll always be wrong, and never understand why... then we'll all die. Sunrise, sunset.
It just takes time.
In the past, I've called trends in game development 'pendular'. We've been on the back-swing a long time, but it's conceivable that eventually we'll make progress again with or without direct action. I find this comforting, as I'm extremely lazy.
I'll leave you with this: Imagine if you will a game with unlimited hype that meets all your wildest expectations. You can't do it, can you? So we continue to call ourselves gamers, and never play games because we're all edgy as fuck. Good day.