Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gaming tirade. Where to go from here?

Console gaming today is a radically different entertainment medium than it was over twenty years ago. The hardware used for gaming has evolved and grown tremendously since the 8 bit days. Games are capable of performing and delivering graphical and audio experiences unlike games before them because of the tremendous processing power of the gaming systems of today.

As such, story telling and graphics have taken enormous strides in games; indeed, many games nowadays are less like games and more like interactive movies, with on-screen button prompts triggering scripted attack scenes and such.

Since gaming has evolved, the target audience changed. Many of the older gamers (myself included I suppose), are much more patient at learning and playing games, having learned to play and master the uber challenging games of old. Younger, newer gamers want as much bang as possible for their buck, without committing much to actually learning how to master said game. They expect flashy graphics and simple, easy-to-get-into-and-finish games. So there is something of a rift between gamers; those "hardcore" gamers, who appreciate genuine challenge, who study the subtle nuances of the game play and stick to it until they succeed, and the casual gamer, who picks up a game, plays it to his or her content, then moves on to the next game with little to no commitment.

There is a rift among developers as well. There are the more free-style type developers, who create games that are fun for them. Then there are games that the developer makes to appease a certain market. The "casual" game, which uses generic archetypes in as flashy a manner as possible to appeal to as many gamers as possible. I call these the "one-night stand" games. Jump in, do your thing, and walk away. No commitment required. Catering specifically to the casual.

Where do they go from here?