Catchy title, right? I thought so too. Anyway, this entry is about a serious issue that I just realized...where did the emotion go in gaming?
For all of those older gamers who remember the dawn of the Playstation, think back to those days. Remember how much emotion were packed into those games (well, mainly RPGs, but still)? The developers expertly crafted a game that had gameplay, story, and characters you could really connect to. These characters left an imprint on you that you wouldn't dare forget them.
Now fast forward to the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube. Again, games packed with good stories and even better gameplay came with even better characters to relate to. Halo surprised everyone with it's excellent story, Legend of Zelda is always good, no matter what, and God of War really turned out to be more story-driven than I first expected.
Now we come to this generation, and character development seems to be tossed out the window. Even the RPG's have gotten stale. The Last Remnant, Fallout 3, and Star Ocean all have cliche characters. The only RPG today with good character development is Lost Odyssey.
Other games are just as guilty as RPG's. Gears of War was meant to have a great story, just watch the trailer. But when it actually came out, it was nothing but an action third-person shooter with no character development at all. Even in 2, Epic Games only dipped into the characters' minds, making them rough and tough COGS with a tiny bit of emotion. They do know what to do, though, because *SPOILERS* The scene with Dom and Maria was heart-wrenching, but it could have been so much more. *END SPOILERS*
All of these great games are coming out left and right. Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, InFamous, Fable II, Resistance II, Halo III, Prince of Persia, I could go on and on. All of these games are great in their own right, but the characters are only "meh." Who's really going to remember Altair in 5 years? Or Rush Sykes? Nobody, because they never had that human element that made them stick with us.
I remember games of yester-year that brought tears to my eyes, not only from the story, but because of the characters that made us feel like we were actually them, or at the very least, in their position. They did things that we would do, said things we would say, and showed courage when we would.
And before I forget, let's not forget the music. I still get shivers up my spine when I hear One-Winged Angel, and I can't help but feel courageous when I hear the Legend of Zelda's main theme. Final Fantasy X's opening theme still makes me well up. I may not care for music, but even I know the emotional impact it can have. Thankfully, music has stayed pretty intact through the years, let's hope it stays that way.
Let's also hope that the video game industry brings emotion back into video games soon.
There's a reason Shadow of the Colossus is my favorite game of all time.