I troll the forums here on Gamespot and elsewhere rather often, and the one thing I think I hate seeing more than ANYTHING is comments like what I saw about Mario and Sonic at the Olympics selling 5 million copies collectively:
"That game sucks" and "people will buy $h!t" and "Nintendo caters to stupid people"
Look, guys...all you little trenchcoat-wearing dual-pistol-wielders....lemme explain something to you.
In the beginning...you were lucky if an arcade game lasted for 2 minutes. You'd pump your entire allowance into a machine JUST to get to level 5 in Donkey Kong. Once consoles came out, you could increase the play time...but guess what? Super Mario Bros. can STILL be speed run and beat in 5 minutes.
Do you know where Gears of War will be in 5 years? Extinct. Dead. Non-existent. Halo? A meer memory. Trash. Not good enough for the mud on your shoes. MEANWHILE...Mario will be considered a God still...Sonic will still be trying to get a good game made out of him.
So much focus has been put on "story". Did I need a story when I was beating the snot out of Scorpion? Maybe a small snippet, MAYBE, but otherwise...NO!!! Did I need something bigger than "oh, the Princess has been kidnapped AGAIN, and you have to save her"? NO!!! You know why? It was about this little thing called G A M E P L A Y! Most of these games out there, sure...they are cool...for a couple weeks. Condemned was a beautiful looking game with some solid gameplay...for the time it came out. I plugged it in yesterday, and it's virtually extinct already. It looked dated. It felt sluggish. It just wasn't the same anymore.
However, I can plug in Ghosts 'n' Goblins, and man...that is STILL a challenge after all these years.
So, the question I present is this: what makes a "real game"? All I hear people saying is "I wonder when (insert publisher/developer here) is going to make a REAL GAME" or "Nintendo needs to get some REAL GAMES on their console". Well, you know what I think makes a REAL GAME?
It doesn't take 100 hours of gameplay, 10 hours of cinematics, Unreal Engine 3, advanced physics engines, Havok, Ageia PhysX cards, HDMI cables, or even an a-typical but slightly off-kilter lead character.
A "real game" is something that I ENJOY PLAYING! It's something that, sure...it may be a little buggy, it may be a little iffy...but dammit, I'm laughing...I'm chatting with others...I'm having FUN! Whether it's sniping some dood from at the Square from the Hotel in Karkand to putting my Vengeful gear to good use in WoW...whether I'm bowling on a virtual lane in Wii Sports or I'm tossing cows in Rayman: Raving Rabbids...as long as you HAVE FUN, then who is to say what a "real game" is?
By all means, kiddos...keep your "interactive experiences"...because that's what they are. Mass Effect...Grand Theft Auto...Half-Life...those are "interactive experiences". People have lost track of what a GAME truly is. If you want the last great GAME I played...then check out Calling All Cars by David Jaffe. Check out Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. Check out Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. I like my WoW and my BF2, and I've been digging Frontlines and No More Heroes a lot also...but when it comes to REAL GAMES....
....well....who am I to tell you what a REAL GAME is? =D