Here’s some food for thought.

16Jun10

This article by Cracked.com’s David Wong talks about what’s wrong with gaming nowadays. And I, for one, completely agree with just about everything he says.

The article is called “5 Reasons It’s Still Not Cool to Admit You’re a Gamer,” and it talks about several problems in the gaming world today. For example, how the world is stuck thinking gamers are a bunch if immature 17-year-olds, because that’s what the companies treat us like. Every new game is full of either boobs, guns, aliens, or all three. There’s no more story development, just mindless mowing down of enemy pixels.

And speaking of pixels, graphics can make or break a game. I don’t mean the difference between Pong and Portal graphics, unfortunately. As Wong put it, describing a screenshot someone had taken and analyzed:

Who’s that woman Alan is talking to up there? Where are they going? How does it play into the story? What emotions is this scene going to elicit? Tension? Dread? Humor? HOW CAN YOU WORRY ABOUT SUCH THINGS WHEN THE ROLL CAGE ON HIS PICKUP TRUCK ONLY HAS A 19:25 PIXEL RATIO.

I confess that I don’t play games as much as I could, but it’s for that very reason: games now are made to run on the latest and greatest platforms available to humankind. Portal, for example, a game that I really wanted to play, wouldn’t even run on my 2GHz processor. Even Half Life 2, which is now 6 years old, wouldn’t run on my machine. Oh, and Heaven help you find a new game to play on a Netbook!

When I returned from Japan, jobless and without anything to occupy my summer, I started to look towards games that I could run on my netbook, since my laptop’s epic death took away my primary gaming platform. I found a nice article here, that lists 25 games that WILL run on a netbook. Most of them are from the early 90′s. Most of these games have one claim to fame, that makes them worth playing, despite the lack of spectacular graphics: storyline. Surprisingly, most are under $10, which brings me to the article’s next point:

People don’t pay for games. Thanks to torrents and filesharing websites, single-player PC games are dying, and dying fast. As one friend of mine put it, “there’s no need to buy any game that’s not online multiplayer. Just torrent that shit.” His thinking isn’t uncommon; why pay $50 for a game you can get for free? There’s no reason to pay the developers and programmers anything, they’re basically like volunteers, right? They do it because they love it, not because they have bills to pay or families to support.

The article talks about an indie game company that offered a bundle of games, direct to download, with no “corporate middle-men” to jack up retail costs, and no DRM to restrict players, all together worth about $80. People were allowed to make whatever offer they felt was fair, even down to $.01. The average offer? $9.18, excluding the torrents that didn’t even pay the one cent.

Read the article. Wong puts it better than I ever could. Things have to change, or else gaming is going to go the way of toilet jokes and joy-buzzers.



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