So i've been a gamer for about twenty years now, playing on consoles as far back as the APF Imagination Machine. Having been around for over a decade of gaming before it was trendy or cool, and in fact downright looked down upon by many people, I'm somewhat left out in the cold by the recent direction most game publishers and developers have chosen to follow.
Take a look back on the past few years biggest blockbuster titles, and what do you see? I'd say about 90% of the big money games were first person shooters and/or big franchise sequels. Really, what made Halo 2 so special? It was the sequel to an okay first person shooter that just happened to become really popular with casual gamers, because it was easy to just pick up and play. And what made Rainbow Six Vegas so great? Basically the same thing; there certainly wasn't any of the old Rainbow Six to be had - no planning phase whatsoever, and little tactical thought about what you were doing - mostly just run and gun. Then you've got the franchise sequels, games like Tony Hawk, WWE Smackdown, and Need For Speed. What do they really do to switch up their titles from year to year? Change around some maps, maybe update their roster / car lists, and rehash, for the most part, the game play of the originals. While there may be a new feature thrown in here and there, for the most part, the core game play remains unchanged.
What am i getting at here?
I'm angry that publishers are constantly targeting games to "mainstream" gamers. That is to say, the "New" gamers - Not the ones who have been playing for decades, but rather the ones who never got into it back in the day, and are only just now starting to play. For the most part, these people have short attention spans and want fast paced action and rewards without having to really do anything, they don't want to think or sit around and learn the back-story of a game, they just want to hop in and frag some demons.
Now normally these people wouldn't bother me, but I've come to realize that developers are starting to lower the quality of their games to make their publishers happy because their game is now more appealing to the mass audience. Take Bioshock for example. Designed by a lot of the same guys behind System Shock 2, Bioshock devolved from a FPS/RPG hybrid with slow paced thoughtful gameplay to a straight up FPS, fast paced with almost non stop action. Now don't get me wrong, Bioshock was a good game, but compared to the game it was derived from, it was an utter failure in my mind. It was dumbed down and "console-ified" to appeal to a mass audience. And appealing to the mass audience isn't appealing to a hardcore gamer like me.
I want more games like Deus Ex.
I want more games like Fahrenheit.
I want more games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl.
I want more games like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.
I want more games like Gothic 3.
I want more games like Two Worlds.
I want more games like X-Com: Apocalypse.
I want more games like Monkey Island.
I want more games that try to be a little innovative and think outside the box!
Now I'm not totally pessimistic; Spore will be out within a year, and it looks wonderfully different from everything else. Junction Point Studios, lead by Warren Spector, the man behind System Shock 2 and Deus Ex, among other innovative titles, is well on their way to releasing their first title, which has been in development for quite some time, and will likely be equally as innovative. Lord British, the guy behind Ultime Online, is trying to redefine the MMORPG with Tabula Rasa...
But the list shouldn't have stopped so abruptly. Where have all the REAL games gone? And the REAL gamers who played them?
Am i the only one who is getting a little disgruntled by the lack of innovation in most games? Am I the only one who wants more than generic first person shooter after generic first person shooter? Or am i just overreacting and getting all cranky because game developers insist on loading all their pc games with dozens of copy protection schemes that make it virtually impossible to play games conveniently without swapping discs non stop.... but you know what, that is a rant for another day.
I'm going to go get a pizza, and maybe play some Civilization IV. At least Sid Meier still knows how to make a quality title.