[Opinion] Catering to the "Bro" Gamer

May 28, 2013
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Has this logic taken gaming off the path of righteousness? After reading an article from Kotaku, I have found myself questioning the world of gaming as it stands now. I remember when I was younger that each system had tons of games spanning different genres. Variety, to me, is what makes video games so great, in that you are given access to a different kind of interaction with creativity that one could not find in simply reading a book or watching a movie. I can look back at my youth, which started with hand me down Ataris and ending with the Playstation 2 and Xbox, and find myself lost in all of the different games that I played. Now when I think of video games, the primary genre that pops into my mind is "first-person shooter."

Since the dawning of Halo, the gaming market has dedicated most of its time to the FPS genre. After all, it does make sense to, seeing that Halo is one of the biggest names in the game with a whopping fifty million units sold (information found through google). Halo, in it itself, is a simple game that has everthing a guy (or girl) loves: combat vehicles, combat weapons, grenades, and stuff to use the aforementioned things on. With all of that being said, the reality of the matter is that the "simplicity" of the game helped gaming reach a whole new crowd: the casuals. Halo does not require much in terms of gameplay, in that you can jump in and out whenever you please and not have to feel overwhelmed with terminology, skills, and control schemes. You jump, shoot, crouch, run, and repeat. I guess a good comparison of Halo to other games is a simple game of throwing a football back and forth in comparison to a whole game of football. A game of catch is something fun that everyone can do where as an actual game of football is something that is only for certain people, for it is much more demanding. Everyone plays catch, in some form or another, but, when it comes to actually playing football, the rules and physical and mental aspects can be seen as overwhelming. Halo introduced this simple version of video games to the population, in that it showed everyone that a video game does not have to be complicated, that you can just play a game without dedicating yourself to it as if you are learning something in school. The funny thing is that there are other games that fit this description of mine that came out way before Halo, but, they did not (obviously) capture people's minds as Halo did. I am getting too much into this, anyways, one cannot blame game companies for trying to make money, but, they are (even if indirectly) at fault for the decline of creativity and the death of certain genres. The biggest threat to these two things comes in the form of Call of Duty, the next step in the evolution of FPS that Halo started. Halo may have been simple, but, Electronic Arts figured out a way to make a game much simpler.

As far as being at fault for the decline of creativity, it is quite obvious that the "something evil attacks and we must use our military something to stop them" storyline has been overplayed. I guess this can be said for many games in different genres, but, the whole "government" backdrop has been really played with this generation. No longer do we see oddball games like Toe Jam and Earl, Sonic, Earthworm Jim, Bubsy, and Battletoads. To keep up with the "money game," third person games have started incorporating this "cookie cutter" storyline, games such as Vanquish, Gears of War, and Army of Two are a few examples. This storyline does prove to provide and interesting "read," but, the fact that this has turned into what sells makes developers wary of trying something different. You can clearly see this in games like Syndicate, James Bond, and Resistance 2, all of which turned from being their own things to simplified "Call of Duty" clones.
The biggest problem with this is that there are a handful of games that do stand well on their own without copying the norm, like Uncharted, who's multiplayer gets flack for having "perks" like Call of Duty. A simple similarity causes those tired of the norm to dismiss a great aspect of a game. Who can blame them, though? If something reminds you of something you dislike, you tend to stay away from it.
 
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Sir_Scud

Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
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#2
Holy crap, there's so much that I agree with here, Ryan. I truly think the decline of creativity has become painful apparent in gaming. We definitely see a large share of "Oh no! Evil force attacks us! Our military to the rescue!" Good stuff though. It's been added.
 
Nov 1, 2008
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#3
I would have to also agree with a lack of new story lines but movies are doing the same thing. You can think of it this way, I'm sure there was a time in life you said wow I should invent that or even did create something you thought was new but low and behold someone already did it or your invention does happen but years latter in someone else's name. Unfortunately, I am starting to think humans are running out of ideas. However, a previous job had made me lose faith in humanity (just saying a lot of stupid people out there). Good thing I'm not working there anymore and am starting to have faith again. Anyhow, I can't seem to get enough of zombie games.
 
May 28, 2013
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[QUOTE="jamesobachand, post: 6096987]I would have to also agree with a lack of new story lines but movies are doing the same thing. You can think of it this way, I'm sure there was a time in life you said wow I should invent that or even did create something you thought was new but low and behold someone already did it or your invention does happen but years latter in someone else's name. Unfortunately, I am starting to think humans are running out of ideas. However, a previous job had made me lose faith in humanity (just saying a lot of stupid people out there). Good thing I'm not working there anymore and am starting to have faith again. Anyhow, I can't seem to get enough of zombie games.[/QUOTE]

I see what you are saying, but, think of everything we have now and how those things were pretty much "unfathomable" back in the day? I do not think that we have run out of ideas, just that we are too caught up in the idea of making money and are afraid to try something new. Back when we had the old consoles (NES TO PSX) gaming was not that big and we did not really have a "target audience." People just made games to express cretivity and made games for the fans of those that did well. Now, since so many people have taken up gaming, it drives more of an interest in numbers than "crafting a better craft." Now-a-days, gaming is not about expressing creativity, but, cashing in on what worked.

Oh and Thanks, Sir_Scud!
 

Ixion

Ultimate Veteran
Nov 29, 2005
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#6
I just think it's the rapid increase in budgets that's causing the assimilation of games. We'll have to look to the indie titles for those quirky experiences.
 
May 28, 2013
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[QUOTE="Ixion, post: 6097661]I just think it's the rapid increase in budgets that's causing the assimilation of games. We'll have to look to the indie titles for those quirky experiences.[/QUOTE]

Indie games are fine (there are some great ones), but a good amount of them are too focused on pretty much "carbon copying" the classics they love. You should look at something as inspiration not a life support.