There are days when I see the screens of old looking at me and I wonder what happened? What happened to the gaming yesterdays I grew up with? When every game I played felt different, it felt new in some way. Perhaps I have played one too many games, or perhaps it’s something else. Have you ever done something in life and said… “Hey, I’ve done this before” and yet you couldn’t figure it out. Every time I put in a game now I feel like I say that, over and over again. Some prime examples: Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, and Battlefield these are examples of some of the games that are getting old. Would you like to know what is going to be released in the last half of the year (these are just guesses as I am not looking at a release calendar) Dance Central 3, Kinect Sports Season 3, the announcement of Halo 2 HD, Call of Duty, Metal of Honor 2012, 3+ Mario titles. It’s sad but 100% of the titles I said are coming out in the later half of the year or two. Do you know what kind of gameplay and features they are going to have? THESE GAMES ARE GOING TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE LAST ONE.
Gaming unfortunately has created a monster, an axis of evil in its own right. Whenever money is to be made the fat cat sits in the midst and starts eating every small company in sight. Do you remember the developer for the original NFL Blitz? Let me give you some hints: that game came out for arcades in 1997; the developer also published the original Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam and Cruis’n series. Midway Games went bankrupt in 2009 due to bad business decisions, however what happened to all their properties and titles. You guessed it all sold to the highest bidder. Now NFL Blitz is published and owned by EA Games, this company also has Madden and the NFL License, by the footballs.
So many games have been lost, and many more developers have been closed down. This isn’t just recently either; this has been going on since the prime days of gaming. The kind of newness of gaming has disappeared with some of the awesome developers. When was the last Rare game that wasn’t a remake? Let me tell you what their next game will be, hmmm let’s see oh yea its Kinect Sports: Season 2. Which was just released last year in time for the holidays and the game before that was Kinect Sports. This again was released in 2010 during the holidays. Shouldn’t this company be making cool games for the hardcore gamer? No instead this awesome developer is making avatar items and how to dress up your dumb representation of how you look on Xbox Live. I guess Microsoft didn’t want them to make hardcore games anymore, so they bought them out.
Can we all say it together? Well Call of Duty is coming out with a release date of November 6th or 13th. This game will be a solid game; however the basic mechanics will feel 6 years old. No brand new engine or elimination of the perk system. This will be the same game as every Call of Duty before it. Activision has killed countless titles and sadly Call of Duty is no exception. Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, Spiderman, these are some of the games that have been shoved down consumers throats over the years. All of them have not strayed too far from the original title that made it great. This in turn makes you feel like if you have played one, you have played them all.
Halo: Combat Evolved was a great game, so why did it have to be re-released twice in the past 5 years? I bought the original Halo on Xbox Live marketplace only to find there is a brand new Halo: Combat Evolved Remastered HD edition. Why are companies so worried that you haven’t played Zelda: Oot that they have to release it 3 different times? Let’s see the GameCube Zelda collection, Wii marketplace, Zelda: Oot 3DS. The first being the best of all of them because you get 4 count them 4 awesome Zelda games which now retails for over 100 dollars on eBay. Really I don’t want to rant about how many times I have to buy the same title, it was fun at first but if I own it on the old system I don’t need it.
It’s not just in game developers or publishers that we see this kind of gobble gobble concept. Do you remember some of the retailers before GameStop? Something called Electronics Boutique, EB games which it came to be known later. What about Funcoland, Gameland or more recently for you freshmen in college students out there, Game Crazy? The majority of the companies listed have been gobbled up by GameStop the others have simply gone out of business because they were too small to compete. Don’t believe me, just go to ebgames.com and let me know which company it is “powered by.”
The big 3 (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) all have exclusive titles and first party developers. The business rivalry has also created contracts with “timed exclusives” which has been around for years. Microsoft has taken it even further with DLC exclusives; even the announcement of the Resident Evil 6 demo is a timed exclusive. How much farther is big business going to drive gamers up the wall with this kind of thinking? If I owned a PS3 for games like Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto etc. I would be nothing short of LIVID. Knowing that Microsoft has ruined my game console by having a contract with another company making the new release of the Resident Evil demo 3 months old. Another excellent example is the Call of Duty DLC, when does that come out for PS3 owners again? I would talk smack on Nintendo, but like it or not they might have been the savior of our current console generation.
Nintendo’s innovation has created a whole new option for gamers. In fact Nintendo has created something so good, that they might have shot themselves in the foot. The Nintendo DS, which first launched in November 2004, took over for the biggest console in gaming history, the GameBoy. This system introduced a touch screen to gamers and children. The only thing like it came out in the late 90′s the Palm. Nintendo helped pave the way for the hand-held devices you use every day. If you don’t believe me, reach in your pocket… did you take out an android or iphone? This isn’t just a phone however it is a gaming device. To be quite honest this could be the best gaming device ever to be created. BRAND NEW games for .99 wow, if only I was a kid again. And who can forget those loveable Angry Birds for FREE ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
This is the savior of our favorite pastime we call gaming. These games have everything for game developers, to home brewed apps, to indie developers who just want to help another human not be bored. No more shelling out 39.99 for a crappy Nintendo DS game only to find out you can’t take it back because you opened the plastic seal off. If you don’t like it you have 48 hours to take it back! Let’s try and see big business ruin our “electronic boutique”(apps) or our entertainment on the move. In the end we might someday see this tech in our living rooms playing Call of Duty 15 on our androids and iphones. So long as I tell the screen “WHY DID THAT STUPID COMPANY INCLUDE FINAL STAND.”
In the near future I have hopes that innovations and huge strides will be made in the world of gaming. Not just on consoles but on all platforms, with content by developers that attend E3 2012. The world has played enough games that are now considered sports titles and are released every year. If only there was some kind of middle ground found in DLC and the next release of a title we might be able to save our wallets and gaming. After all how many more times are you going to buy the first Super Mario Bros. game or Halo: Combat Evolved. Gaming needs change however with the holidays over with don’t expect it to be anytime soon. So now I go to my kitchen and take a bottle of Jack Daniels to the drink my sweet gaming sorrows away.
Maybe one day I will get to see my kids troll an internet forum of why their Nintendo is so much better that the Sega. Hey a gamer can troll right.