Just something I wrote while I am bedridden from a stomach bug. Thoughts are based off of a conversation I had with a family member concerning the future of the industry and my own observations/opinions on the matter. This might be a 2-3 parter but feel free to comment/give feedback in the meantime.
There is hardly any good news for gaming industry-wise. If it’s not social activism, it’s big gaming companies making questionable decisions or lack of creativity/variety in modern games. Gamers either fear an Atari-esque crash, deaths of entire franchises, or the devolution of gaming to a pricy DLC/pay-to-play formula.
And honestly, I could care less.
Not to say I am not upset. Kind of angry, actually. Silent Hills being canceled and Konami following the money to the profitable yet unstable world of mobile gaming came as great shock to me. Were they putting profits over gaming as a creative medium? Who knows? The world of business is brutal and companies are often called to make tough decisions on behalf of the firm’s survival. However, gaming is not only a business, it’s an art form. The artistic merit of games has been disputed over the years. Some have argued its just mindless, throwaway entertainment.
Does one look at the visually-rich Okami, with its inspiration based in Japanese mythology and traditional art, and say “Oh, its just some random wolf running around and slaying demons. Nothing major.”
Does one listen to “My Heaven” from Silent Hill and say “WTF is this ugly shit?!” Well, “My Heaven”, isn’t pretty but its industrial and jarring sound was designed by Akira Yamaoka to match the cold and disturbed world of Silent Hill. I find the song highly effective in that regard.
Art is not easily defined, due to the subjective nature of art itself, but one of Google’s definition of an art form is: “any activity regarded as a medium of imaginative or creative self-expression.”
Looking at the artists, writers, animators, and musicians involved in creating a game, I think it is safe to say that gaming is an art form. It’s not as established as theatre, dance, or music; it’s still young. Some may disagree with my conclusion but I look at my game collection and I see it as no different from my collection of movies or books. I see characters and stories created and told by others, no matter how simplistic they are.
Unlike most artistic mediums, which put you into a passive position, games are fully interactive. You don’t just watch Solid Snake infiltrate Shadow Moses; you help him sneak in. You fly with Star Fox, you save Princess Zelda, and you engage in criminal activity in Grand Theft Auto. The characters and their actions become part of your own as you move through the story. With multiplayer and online gaming, experiences can be shared and customizable.
It’s a beautiful and immersive thing.
Rabid ecstasy, 1997
Completely agree. Specially form the artistic form. I remember everytime I would buy a game I’d see a great píece of art. Different stories with different visuals, different worlds which I could interact with. But what do we have now? Game companies are starting to focus more on graphics and how to cash out gamers. Instead of getting more games and fresh content, we keep getting more and more remakes instead of fresh, creative ideas. Not only that, it’s pretty difficult to find a good story in a videogame nowadays.
One of my favorite examples is the Assassin’s Creed saga. Assassin’s Creed II was a masterpiece. Not only because of the additions to the sequel, but because of the amazing story it had. It had a character we could all relate to, twist and turns here and there and at the end of the game you’d came blown out. Now let’s look at the latest game, Assassin’s Creed Unity. The story is bland and predictable, the gameplay is broken and the only thing they did right was the graphics. And there’s more and more games that start to fall on the same pitfall.
Another example is games like L.A. Noire. A simple game with simple graphics of its time, but still had great gameplay, and I loved the whole truth/doubt/lie system they implemented. I’d never seen that in a game before and I loved it. It’s those small touches that make games great, but unfortunately people care more about how many fps or graphics is the game going to have. It just makes me sad.
I must say that I am upset by all this because I love videogames, I grew with them and I’ve learned from them. I see them as an easy way to forget about life for a while whilst learning important values and lessons in an entertaining way. And it pains me to see that these companies are trying to suck money off people who are willing to make a good deal.
"The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"
You guys might be thinking: “Kahuna, I don’t understand. You speak so highly of video games as an art. Why do you act so callous to the potential gaming crisis?”
I’m not callous.
I’ve just accepted change.
See, this is not a end.
This is a new beginning.
Where major publishers are slacking, the indie gaming community and the gamers who support them will create new experiences and possibilities for gaming. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
It will probably be painful as gaming continues to evolve. Established and well-beloved franchises will probably never see a new adventurous dawn. However, their legacy will live on. The companies who brought them existence into the market may forget, but gamers will always remember. Ideally, their games would (and should) be preserved. They could live in a digital Valhalla so they can be brought to life again by new and old alike. To have their stories retold and replayed like the great legends they are.
The torch will be passed. Already, I see spiritual-successors to games such as Castlevania, Banjo-Kazooie, and Clock Tower. Even more importantly, new games will be created that will take gaming to a whole new level.
It may be bad now but gaming will get better. I believe the future lies in the hands of creators and consumers.
We will start a new path.
Will you join us?
Rabid ecstasy, 1997
I will join the future of new games and when it happens, it will be glorious.
"The world is merciless and it's also very beautiful."
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