I thought it was about time to write a little something again. It's been 2 years and a handful of days since I last wrote in this blog, and a lot has happened to the gaming industry and myself since then. I'm no longer super-addicted to Minecraft (Though I follow its development and keep fond memories), I'm still super-addicted to BlazBlue and waiting for the next installment to reach consoles, and I've built myself up quite a life in my career in the US Navy. On the industry side of things, there's been quite a lot going on in the world of video games that I haven't chimed in on. I might as well pitch in my two cents on some more recent matters as well as some interests of mine that you might find interesting yourself.
The next generation of consoles is revealed
I'm more of a PC gamer nowadays; with a powerful desktop that has served me well for a little over a year now. Still, I've come to realize that console gaming has a sort of community magic behind it. If I want the best single-player experience around, PC is where it's at, but if you want to have fun with buddies on a couch then consoles provide what a PC currently cannot do. Recently, a friend of mine has gotten into Borderlands 2 and plays it often in this little lounge area we have in the barracks. I sometimes play with him too, but mostly I just go in there and BS with him, crack jokes, and generally have a good time. I suppose you could do the same with a PC version of the game, yet somehow I feel like it wouldn't be the same.
So with that unnecessarily long build-up, I come to my point. Up until recently I've considered myself a bit of a PC elitist, and I thought that as long as I could keep my hardware up to date, I wouldn't have to bother with consoles again. Well, now the new consoles are revealed, and since I've come to appreciate the magic of "the living room entertainment box", I find myself excited and genuinely hopeful for console gaming. Sure I'll probably play most of my games on the PC still, but when my console of choice, the PS4, gets released, I'll probably have more fun with it than I have had in recent times playing on the PC.
As for the future of games, the next generation of consoles brings with it new and improved standards that I look forward to. Personally, I've been waiting for a time when games employed physics regularly as part of gameplay. With Battlefield 4 allowing skyscrapers to be bombarded until they collapse, Infamous: Second Son allowing you to break walls apart and take out guard tower structures with enemies on them, and even Dead Rising 3's humble features of breakable fences and general clutter, gaming worlds are shaping up to be much more interactive and believable, which has me extremely excited. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when I'm barreling at 70+ mph down a road and a fence stops me dead in my tracks when I crash into it. Here's hoping we won't be seeing that ever again.
Indie developers get their time in the spotlight
With the rise in popularity of Kickstarter, the indie crowd of game development has seen a breath of fresh air. If a team puts forth a product that people wish to support on Kickstarter, an indie dev team can get all of the money they need for their project without ever having to reach out to a publisher. This means that they can stay independent and not have to fear a publisher's deadlines or meddling. This advent of crowd-funding fills me with a new-found hope for the video games industry. Now talented dev teams can put their foot through the door of the industry all by themselves and make their visions come to life, all without compromise. What this means to me, is that as long as there are people out there with talent and a vision in the video game business, our industry will never truly stagnate. You gotta leave it up to the creativity and ingenuity of people, and as long as we support them, we'll always find ourselves with innovative and fresh games to enjoy.
One such indie dev team that I'm most hopeful for is Gears For Breakfast. They are the developers behind a gorgeous and inspired little indie gem called A Hat In Time. Much in the same vain as Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, A Hat In Time is a charming 3D platformer with an emphasis on exploration and collecting things to advance in the game. It looks downright brilliant and makes me feel a warm nostalgia. I've been following it on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, and it looks to be hitting a supernova of popularity. The Kickstarter has 5 days to go as of this time, and with a humble goal of $30,000, the Kickstarter is now 600% funded. If I ever needed proof of the triumph of the indie crowd and the desire of gamers' wanting something more than just another shooter, I would point you to this example sir. In a gaming climate dominated by fatigued franchises and tired genres, the people have spoken and are welcoming indie developers and their imaginations with open arms. Some people may fear for our industry that is loomed over by giants such as EA and Activision, but I say as long as the indie crowd has an outlet like Kickstarter, we'll never have to worry for the prosperity of our hobby.