Then VS. Now… An Extensive Rant About Today

As a gamer I often wonder why the oldies were so much more clever and addictive than the new titles on the market today, when games where innovative and designers and developers had to rely on their creative cunning, and story to present their world, not just on the latest graphics capabilities.

Remember when you where playing that adventure game and found yourself saving before a choice with branching results and then reloaded it just to see what happens in all the different scenarios? Why is it when you play a game now you can hardly wait to beat it? Why the hell am I stuck in a 15 minute traffic commute in a game where I really looked forward to shooting up the police station and running over my girlfriend? If I want that type of realism I’ll go right now and drive to LA during rush hour.

People used to play their games to death. Hell, I did. I memorized every glitch and exploit. The old snes and nes games are still cult items, and I am hard pressed to believe it’s because of childhood nostalgia (adults don’t go back to high school when they feel sentimental), games had humorous, immersive and thick stories that kept you coming back for more… why is it that we used to re-play games in those days, but often find playing the next-gen games the first time around a chore? Why are we stuck on the good-old games and look upon today’s titles with frustration and sarcasm? It appears that games have come to a stand still, and it is an obvious conclusion that technology has made the creative department lazy.

A good example would be Bionic Commando Rearmed (the pre-game) vs. the actual release of Bionic Commando. Many of my friends played rearmed to death and found it more than addictive. Every area had a unique boss-monster, there where tons of fun and humorous weapons, tricky levels, the characters where wacky, colorful, and involving… Playing through it, I was filled with anticipation as to the release of the actual game, if the pre-release was this good the real title will be seriously awesome. About thirty minutes into playing the actual release it started feeling like an extended tech-demo. I could go on and on about any major series.

It seems like the only people that really get it right these days are Valve. Take Left for Dead or Team Fortress 2, you play one out of a group of well developed characters, and instead of forcing the player to fit into the character, the character is flexible enough that it fits the playing habits of the gamer. It’s a relief to find games that actually let you play and not get in the way of you trying to play your way or play at all.  Instead of seeing more inventive weaponry, mechanics and stories, gamers are becoming so desperate for content that you’re now looking at a crowd that’s excited at just about any feature as long as it stands out just a little from the rest, like giving your co-op partner a high five (Army of Two) or higher-res bullet holes.  What happened to humor? Wasn’t that one of the defining factors of the gaming culture? The odd-ball characters and wacky scenarios? Instead of inventing humorous mechanics and immersive stories and using technology to enhance these ideas and push the creativity to unexplored levels the biggest focus is to make a more realistic AK47.

I don’t want realism. The fundamentals of games (like cowboys and Indians, or cops and robbers that kids play in RL) are to let you be something that you’re not. Barbarians, necromancers, superheroes, monsters, not an errand-boy for your cousin. It is only natural to ask; what compelled a person to invent a platformer, why did shooters come about, what inspired the adventure game? Where did all these genius genres come from and why aren’t we seeing totally new and unexplored genres surface? Things were new. Now they’re commonplace. With the mass of possibilities technology has opened up, why aren’t we seeing even more new and involving mechanics no one has thought of before? Where did all this creativity go?

Thanks for listening!

First web update – v1.01

Rocking on with the new online presence our crack commando web team has a new update:
  • Exterminated a number of bugs and state issues with the solar system (specifically the moon)
  • Incorporated event tracking so if you click on the moon after you’ve triggered the phenomena you can jump right back into the alternate dimension
  • A nifty inventory for all current and future events.
  • AND we are proud to announce an all new intro theme and remastered soundtrack by Archangel Gabriel.
We’re really thrilled by the reception our online experience has received, and would like to extend a warm “thank you” to everyone writing about us and sending us around.  As a result the web team is cooking-up a bunch of new goodies to keep the masses entertained. So make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed and come back often.
We’re just getting started.

CANADIAN VIDEO GAME STARTUP INVENTS INTERDIMENSIONAL GATEWAY

Burnaby, BC, Canada – Interdimensional Games Inc (iDGi) has, through pre-production efforts for it’s new video game Intellectual Property, discovered how to export human consciousness into an entirely different dimension. Company officials claim that a proprietary invention accessible from their website http://interdimensionalgames.com, will, starting today, January 1st, 2010, be capable of allowing anyone to travel interdimensionally.

“We invented this gateway to help our efforts in crafting a compelling interactive experience”, says iDGi Founder Vidal Desertch. “We never intended to make this tool available to the public, but after realizing it’s awesome potential…well, we simply couldn’t keep it a secret any longer”. Vidal makes it clear that the technology is limited, and it’s not entirely certain where – or when – your consciousness may end up once it crosses the dimensional threshold, or what form it may end up becoming.

“This technology is made possible from our satellite “iDGi-1″, which is positioned very close to the moon’s orbit. When the moon eclipses the sun, casting the earth in shadow, in that precise moment, interdimensional travel is possible.”

The company is also launching a public forum and a blog, entitled “Culture and Philosophy”, through which the iDGi team will begin sharing views and opinions, as well as information about the new, as yet unannounced, video game IP.

Games that mean something!

When was the last time you read a book that truly moved you in some way?    Hopefully the answer to that question is “last week!”, or “I’m reading one right now”!    Hopefully the answer is not “you still read books?”.    Ahem.

My point is, there are plenty of meaningful and deep books to be read.  There are also meaningful films.  There are even a few meaningful TV Shows!   But what about video games?

As an industry, video gaming is but a babe, compared to all other media industries.    Over the past 10 years, the industry has experienced explosive growth (including budgets that begin to rival blockbuster Hollywood film budgets).  While this growth has allowed the creation of truly epic pieces of entertainment, it has also given the industry an identity crisis of sorts.     Recent “AAA” action titles resemble “blockbuster” Hollywood films in almost every fashion….they cater to the lowest common denominator, are relentlessly paced, and offer no discernible storyline worth mentioning.

When it comes to the “game” aspect of these pieces of entertainment, it more than often than not comes down to “kill, or be killed”.    Environments are rarely interactive beyond “push this button, open that door….oh, and there’s a lever to pull!!”.  The battle for achieving true photo realism seems to resemble the space race in the 20th century, except for the goal itself is nowhere near as compelling.  In some respects, as games become more photo realistic, they are also becoming less interesting to me.   I started playing games in the 80s, and one of my primary motivations was to escape reality, not revel in it.   Video games were a springboard for my imagination.     Nowadays, games do everything for you.  Imagination is no longer required.

As much as I’m unwilling to discuss projectb6 at length just yet, I will tell you this:  it is being designed from the ground up to be a meaningful, powerful springboard for your imagination…