I know you’re all probably sitting in your computer chair already typing away a long convoluted response to the title of this article, but hear me out first, then you can submit your rage.
Video games have become increasingly more and more popular in the last 30 or so years, and with the popularity we have seen not only an increase in the amount of games made, but the amount of genre’s and stories created as well. As time progressed, we also saw the plots and main stories of video games progress… But as the years go by, I can’t help but notice a sort of stagnation in the video game industry, and I wish I could say it’s because the developer’s just not coming up with good idea’s, but it’s worse than that. I believe it’s us, the consumers, that are killing our beloved gaming industry and here are a few reasons why.
1. We don’t want a game that is creative and original.
One of the main things I hear other people say that they are looking for in their video games is that they want something “creative” and “original”. Those same people are the ones that shell out hundreds of dollars every year for the same generic NBA/FIFA/MADDEN sports game or Halo/Call of Duty shooter that literally only has different maps and guns, but the same game mechanics and online features as the last 4 previous installments. I’m not saying that those games shouldn’t be release, or even that they’re bad games; the problem is we continue to eat them up and praise them as though they are revolutionary and perfect games, while the creative/original games are looked past. We are too worried that if we spend the money we “might not enjoy them” because our favorite review site only gave it a 6/10 and we haven’t heard much else about it, so instead we purchase the next game of an overly done series because it was given a 9.99/10 and we knew we would probably like it anyways. This inability to take risks or go against what others say will cause us to always take the safe route, which will in turn make game designers and publishers not want to try anything new in fear it won’t be financially successful.
2. We want a game plot that has been done a million times before.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: One hero, one villain. You’re the hero. You are incredibly talented/have super powers. You start off either outcast only to rise to top dog, or you start off a God, then made lesser, then turn into a God again. You have some troubles, but in the end you win. The day is saved/threat is ended for now, you may have had some losses & trouble along the way, but in the end you are victorious. These are the same recycled stories that games continuously throw at us, and they are always seen as beautiful written masterpieces. Very few games ever stray very far from that formula, and the few that do hardly ever make it far in the eyes of the public because people are so use to a happy ending and a underdog becoming gloriously powerful that anything negative that happens within the game is consider in poor taste and badly written. I love it when games have positive endings, but it just seems pointless to have a predictable story with a predictable ending, because there’s nothing to look forward to and nothing to catch you off guard. Game developers have stopped taking story writing risks as much because straying too far from a “hero is a god that always wins” story line just gets overlooked or looked at with disgust.
3. We care too much about what the majority likes and not enough about what WE like.
This generation of gamers focus so much on what review sites say or their friends say or even random tidbits of information from other sources, that they don’t even bother attempting to see if a game will be enjoyable to them. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and some are shitier than others. You can’t 100% base your opinion on a game from someone else’s point of view. I personally have decided to play a game that I know for a fact was criticized by many and given poor scores, and you know what? I fucking loved the game. Obviously there’s reason to take note of certain criticism and opinions on a game, if 80% of the people who play a game can point out consistently similar flaws with it, then chances are those flaws really do exist; but maybe those flaws aren’t enough to make the game not enjoyable for you. Maybe those flaws for others are something you consider positives. You can never know unless you see for yourself, and unfortunately the amount of people making informed decisions based on actually trying out a game is a number that is continuously growing smaller.
I know, these aren’t the ACTUAL things that we want from our video games, but take a step back and really look at the gaming community nowadays and you can probably see that these trends ARE actually happening and it IS causing the gaming industry to take a hit. Will it actually die? Probably not anytime soon… But if we keep going down the route that we are heading with the choices we make, then I honestly fear for our gaming future.
So what do you think?
Am I being a melodramatic baby, or do we really have something to worry about?
Shoot me a reply or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!