December 12, 2012

Gamers Today

It's sad to say but the new generation of gamers simply don't understand or respect the classics for the most part. They tend to focus so much on graphics they simply don't care about mechanics. A good game to them is simply what looks the best, and every time I hear that it just breaks my heart. They'll never know what it was like to play pong, tetris, pacman, super mario brothers, the original zelda or any other great legends. You can't convince them on zelda for the snes or ocarina of time, you can't get them to try final fantasy 5, 7 or 8. To them any game older than last year is so ancient it's not worth even looking at. They won't even watch speed runs it's so sad.

I understand how graphics can really push things and that in some cases they are important. You can't sell me a bad game based on graphics though, they're not there to define the game they're there to accent it. The original doom wouldn't really be made much better with graphics nor would we really love minecraft that much more if it had super graphics. That's not the reason we love these games. That's not to say they can't benefit, but they're not the selling point. Would we love portal any less if it had bad graphics? I don't think so. These games aren't great because we grew up with them, they're great because of great design. Some games are great throughout the ages. I have no problem picking up and playing ICO, shadow of the colossus, or any of the metal gear solid games. Just because they're old and the graphics can't directly compare to modern day doesn't suddenly make them bad.

I'm somewhat inspired by games like the Halo anniversary that went out of their way to give you the ability to play both the old and the new graphics and easily switch between the two. This allows newer gamers with their fixation to play the classic and understand why it was great and show them a great game isn't just about how the graphics look.While some experiences may not age well or simply won't really transfer over into today's audience like perhaps goldeneye that's not to say we shouldn't try. Because some games really are perfect in their original state and are worth breaking out old hardware to play like they were meant. Look at missile command, is it really something that needs those amazing graphics? I say no, the core mechanics and principal  are the reason it was so great. When you die it's not game over, it's the end pure and simple. The lesson being that there are no winners in nuclear war which is what it's all about, you buying a few extra moments to the families of the cities you're protecting. It has no end, eventually you will lose. The complex strategy of picking which cities to save and which to sacrifice for the greater good. Do you protect your important bases with their few resources to save the other cities longer or do you sacrifice them to save all the cities right now even if it'll only make it harder later? How would asteroids really be any better with a graphical overhaul? The game is all about core mechanics and high texture asteroids with animated comet trails and explosions won't change that. We've seen what an update of space invaders has done, and it wasn't pretty. The same could be said for centipede, millipede, and snake. Donkey kong would probably lose something in such a process as part of what gave it such charm was the basic graphics.

I'll repeat that I don't really long for the old days or a throwback, but it's very important we know and remember our gaming history as we look forward. There's a lot to be said about the lessons learned from making the older games where you didn't have all the raw power you wanted and instead had to focus on great ideas and better execution. About the importance of mechanics and melody, timing and pace, there's the understanding of what actually makes a great game.

1 comment:

  1. Give them time. They're young and stupid. If they're smart in any form they'll eventually realize much of what they're playing is crap and take a look at what the old games had to offer.