Sunday, February 15, 2009

Changing the game...

Certainly video games have gone through many different forms. The rise and fall of gaming platforms and gaming's many cultural milestones have been documented countless times coinciding with the ever-present nostalgia in many a gamer's heart.

In fact, I believe nostalgia and history play a huge part in the love gaming receives from it's many fans. Without the memories that make up the collective gaming culture, there is really no basis for staples of the gaming community, like fanboyism.

As such, all of these new gamers, or "casuals" as they've been labeled in marketing, press release, and the inner hardcore circle of gaming, have created a paradigm shift.

Suddenly, developers are throwing more effort into much simpler outings than the more nuianced hardcore fair video games used to be about. But are they putting more "effort" into these new-gamer oriented projects, or are they simply reallocating resources to crank out more Wii games?

What is the crossing point? When are video games: platform holders, developers, publishers, the entire creative community surrounding video games, going to find the bridge? When are games going to fulfill both the needs of the hardcore and the casual?

Developers are already trying new things, although maybe not all at once. In example, Atari's Alone In the Dark allowed players to continue through the game, even if they could not clear a challenge. This option made many liken the game to an interactive DVD, although the game was still very much present to those who wanted to play.The real problem in this situation is the pressure being applied to the game makers.

The hardcore are the most vocal of all consumers in the industry. And the current state of things does not really lend itself to a quieted crowd. Unfortunately, the core gamer is prone to feeling alienated and cast aside (as society is often wont to do). Thus, when core gamers see truckloads of shovelware being put out, none of it clearly of any interest to them, they cry out. Unfortunately, it'll be a vicious cycle, at least until the two largest groups can sort out their differences and understand that gaming is now about catering to more than one audience....

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