Listening to my podcasts while at work and it got me thinking… wait let me take that back one step, listening to the back library of some of my podcasts got me thinking. They made all these predictions into the future, now on what they believe would or would not happen in the industry and it's really just interesting to me. Let's be honest, we all love to speculate and think we have the inside know of what is going to happen next. It happens all the time everywhere; everyone has their predictions of the Xbox losing out to PS sales, the Wii crumbling under its hype, a certain game will become the number one game of the year, and on and on.
With the advent of Steam, Onlive, Wiiware, Gametap, Xbox Live Game Marketplace, the PS Store, and others I'm sure that are out there. They offer a service where you can play a real game without even leaving your room. That's awesome! I think… Well, I'm a collector so that poses a problem, how exactly do you collect games when they don't really exist… Of course, not everyone collects video games, if that was the case; there wouldn't be any "Gamestop" like stores. Then again, for those who buys video games the day they come out, play them for a week, trade them in for the next release they get back a percentage of their money. When it's digitally downloaded or streamed, when you pay for it, it's yours forever! NO TAKEIES BACKIES!
Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against digital distribution. I like that there is a cheap way for independent developers get their game out with ease, and that it gives the freedom to add another map or what not to a game you have bought.
So my speculative guess on what will happen is that physical medium will be around for quite a while, I don't think as a society we're quite ready to give up that box on our shelf or disk to put in our console. That made me think about music, I only have about five cd's all my other music is in mp3 format and most of my music never physically seen the album in my whole life. Although, I know if I went to Wal-Mart or Amazon.com I would be able to purchase the CD. Also, my crystal ball is telling me that physical medium will still have most of the market share for two more generations. I only say that because it's most likely still going to be the main distribution in the next generation. I predict by the end of the 9th generation is where the tide has changed. I don't think that a physical medium will ever leave; it'll just be a much smaller part of our everyday lives.
Isnt it great to be a Retro-gamer? Well, that is of course an opinion, not everyone is going to get the same joy of playing pixilated characters when gaming has advanced to high-definition. No, I don't mean Sega's 16 bit "High Definition" graphics either. Although, it seems that publishers are starting to pay attention to us that have never let go of our 8-bit era ways.
I'm unsure if publishers are running out of ideas or playing off of nostalgia, either way, I don't really care I love it. I know they invigorated the Ninja Gaiden series for the Xbox and Play Station, they certainly kept true to the original difficulty of the series, but I just don't get the same feel of the game seeing Ryu in 3D form. That and Bionic Commando, I played the demo, it looked alright, but I'm still unsure of how I feel about it being in its 3D format, although, I have no problem playing Mario in 3D. I thought about this for a while, and the conclusion I came to is that the Mario franchise doesn't have a gap in between being in his 8 bit pixilated form to what he is today.
With that being said, Megaman; arguably, never had another good game until recently with Megaman 9 on Wiiware. Which is completely true to the 8-bit **** Nintendo recently announced that they're releasing the New Super Mario Brothers Wii. You have no idea how high pitched of a girlish squeal that I let out when I saw that announcement from E3. Of course, it's a great move, New Super Mario Brothers DS version was a smash hit. I couldn't believe the number of times my family borrowed (or better yet stole) my DS to play that game, then later went out to buy a DS for that one reason. Then Contra 4 came out on the DS and that game is so mother humpingly hard! It's so… CONTRA! The best part about it its 2D it's been updated but yet feels ****c. I really hope that Konami, like Nintendo, see the potential of making it for the big (TV) screen.
It seems that we retro gamers are starting to band together, as I've joined the website www.retrowaretv.com. I have to say, I've been watching their videos for quite some time now and finally decided to join their forms and I'm very glad I did. The reason why I love visiting this site so much is that, we totally nerd out on bragging about the awesome find of a rare game that we got for 5 dollars at a garage sale, or that we just got a unopened Virtual Boy. That and when a retro game is reviewed it either brings back nostalgic memories, or curiosity to go and find the game. Maybe it's because of the ever growing popularity of interest in retro gaming sites that publisher's are taking notice.
In conclusion, I for one would defiantly like to see a modern-retro genre. I think there is a huge audience that is just waiting to be captured. That and I'll send this out to Nintendo, RELEASE KID ICARUS FOR THE WII ALREADY!
"You don't need high technology for a fun game" –David Crane Co-Founder of Activision and creator of Pitfall
I've always really believed this about video games. Since day one when I knew my love of video games with Super Mario Brothers 3, that it was about the game experience. Why is it that I can pick up Joust from the Atari 2600 and play it for hours with no goal, no real ending, it is graphically terrible even by the gaming standards on early palm pilots, and honestly there was no reward except for the fact I got to a higher level than last time. With all of that aside, I LOVE playing that game I can just burn hours and hours playing it in all its pixilated glory. Also speaking of games on early portable cell phones or PDA's, was the game Snake. I mean really it was a moving line that you controlled to move toward a box and it became slightly longer, but everyone seemed to play it on their early Nokia. There wasn't even color; Joust seemed like a technological advancement. I still burned precious study hall time playing Snake though, along with just about all my friends who didn't get caught with their cell phone in ****
I think David is 100% correct, great technology isn't required for a great game. Look no further than our current generation with the Wii. It is by far being overpowered by the PS3. Also, let me be also 100% clear that I'm not advocating that the PS3 or Xbox360 are not awesome machines. What I'm getting at is, that because the Wii is so successful is because of casual gamers. The Wii is simple and easy to navigate, therefore it's super popular. I believe that because of Wii Sports many consumers went out to buy this console solely based on Wii Sports. Why is Wii Sports so fun? Because Wii Sports is simple, easy, and anybody can do it. Also, look at Rock Band and Guitar Hero, what could be simpler than hitting or strumming when a circle or square hits a line at the edge of the screen. Those franchises are huge!
I'll end with just think of all the hugely popular games that anybody can name off, Super Mario Brothers, Pac-Man, Tetris, Space Invaders, and Pong. They require 10x less technological muscle than what I have in my cell phone but they are super fun, yet today.
Is this really helping out the industry we love, labeling ourselves as hardcore or being a fan boy? Just for a second stop and think about it, do regular patrons in the movie industry proclaim, well that was made by Universal Studios there is no chance of that doing good/being a good movie! I have yet to hear such a thing come out of anybody's mouth. What happens is that people judge the movie based on whether they enjoyed the experience. Isn't that exactly what the gaming industry was been built on? The experience? Sure, I'll admit that I love Nintendo; I think they're revolutionary gaming company; they've revived the US game industry and continue to take it in new gaming experiences and directions. Although, I'm a big enough person to recognize that the Xbox 360 is a massively superior machine, it's amazing it, and it has great games that are crisp and clear on my 1080 TV. Also, I love playing inFamous on my PS3. To me it's about the game play, never about who made the product. I never once have picked up a title, and said, well, Team Ninja made it I must get it, or Sony was the main publisher, there is no way I'm going to get this now.
This brings me to another point, why is it general practice to shun everyone who's not "hard core"? Besides what or who defines hardcore, who came up with that term? The simple fact is that it's whatever we "core" players, want to make it. I told you I loved inFamous, not something a "casual" player would pick up, but I do really love Wii Sports, it's fun, I love Lego Indian Jones it's awesome, I can pick up GTA4 and love taking out some b!tch on Xbox Live. Well in reality I'm not great, but I'm not bad. I consider myself a core player, because I'm regularly purchasing hardware and software. I own all three consoles, and both handhelds, if you ask me which one I play the most... I couldn't tell you. I think they all have something awesome to offer and that's what I love about our ever growing industry.
I'm not exactly sure how the industry is going to proceed with the next generation of consoles, honestly, Nintendo threw a curve ball with the Wii and both Microsoft and Sony are forming their own version of motion sensing attachments. I personally don't want the next generation of gaming consoles to be simplified consoles based on what was successful this generation. In fact I honestly hope that Microsoft and Sony only continue to push the boundaries of realism. What I would actually really like to see happen is a divergence in the video game industry. What I mean by this is, that there is a console that mostly caters to the newcomers picking up gaming and it to be cheap, sorta like buying that first, you probably won't be driving a Ferrari for your first time, but you get start your passion by getting that Mustang.
It's a plain and simple fact that the average gamer is getting older and there are almost as many girl gamers as guys. So why isn't the industry big enough to have its Wii, Xbox and PS3? I think there should be another console in the mix, choices are great, and it makes it better for us the "core" consumers. Lets encourage someone who is a casual gamer because one day they might be playing against you on Killzone.