Friday, June 03, 2005

Gamers Manifesto

Thought Provoking

My Favorite #1 Excerpt:
Give us a genre of game we've never seen before. Something that's not an FPS or an RPG or Madden NFL or...

Why isn't a there a spy game where we actually get to be a real spy rather than a hallway-roving kill machine? You know, where we actually have to talk to contacts and extract information and tap phones and piece together clues, a game full of exotic locales and deception and backstabbing and subplots? A game where a gun is used as often as a real spy would use it (that is, almost never)?

Where's the game where we're a castaway on a deserted island and the object of the game is to find food and clean water and build a shelter, a game where we can play for one month or six months, because whether or not we get rescued is randomized? Where every time we restart we get a different island with different wildlife and vegetation and water sources?

Where's the game where we play a salty Southern lawyer who has to piece together evidence to exonerate a black man falsely accused of murder, breaking down witnesses and spotting inconsistencies in testimony?

Half of the gamers are now over age 18, and almost a quarter are over age 50. Where are the games for the old-timers? Where's the game where we get to play as Dr. House and diagnose mysterious illnesses while crushing the patient's spirit with cruel insults? Where's the game where we're a pre-op transsexual where the object of the game is to gather enough money to complete the operation?

Considering how broad the gaming market is now, there is a remarkably narrow range of games out there. Could this be what the news wires were talking about last year when they spoke of a "crisis of creativity" in gaming?

Chances of that happening...

See item #1. If the new consoles are built with a graphics-first mentality, how easy is it going to be to make games that stretch the boundaries of game logic and player freedom? And if so, can we at least have our damned adventure games back?

But there's another, less-obvious side of that muffin: if a machine is so "advanced" it can draw a photo-realistic city in the background of every level, that only means that developers now must to hire somebody to render that photorealistic city instead of pasting on a bit of flat, blurred wallpaper. That means game development costs are skyrocketing and that leads to the big-budget Hollywood blockbuster syndrome. Bigger investments means developers must "play it safe" for fear of losing their ass. And that means fewer and fewer oddball "niche" games like those mentioned above and more quickie knock-offs based on movies.

As a thrill seeker with a penchant for the exotic in life, i'm waiting for the David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, David Cronenberg, generally strange innovator of video games...Bring it On!

Also, John Cage's Xbox