You see, a few years ago I would have been proud to hold up the title of a "gaming nerd" above my head, I would have been the first to write a detailed argument against Roger Ebert or anyone else to show why I thought videogames were art, and I would have been anticipating every new release of the year with bated breath. Yet something has happened to me over the last few years, something that has prevented me from giving hardly any loving thought to the medium of videogames in a long time, never mind playing the damn things.
But as I flew up into the floating city of Columbia at the beginning of the newest Bioshock game I finally felt invigorated by a game again. I'd say it's the first game since Heavy Rain that has given me that feeling of wonder and excitement that all great games should aim to give you.
I want to note that this isn't a post about Bioshock Infinite (I'll get around to that once I've finished the game) this is simply a way to introduce my game-themed part of the blog, and have a bit of a rant on the current state of the videogame industry and why I'm only now just getting back into games (which I must say has been perfectly timed, considering I'm going to make writing about them here a common occurrence).
|I added this image in yesterday and I seriously can't remember
which Modern Warfare game I got it from.
Look at that screenshot above. That could be from any of the three Modern warfare games, and lets face it, it's not exactly a million miles away from the Battlefield or Medal of Honor games. Don't worry I'm not going to go through this well known modern gaming rant, if you want to read it then go on Google and you'll be spoiled for choice. What I will say though, is that the video game industry has clearly run itself into a rut lately. The dollar sign has taken over the industry, yet unlike in film were indies can sometimes stand up proudly against their big budget counterparts, there is a huge divide between indie games and blockbuster, and there unfortunately doesn't seem to be any middle ground right now.
It seems to me the real 'golden era" for gaming, if there has been one, was in the late 90s; the playstation one era. At that point gaming wasn't profitable enough an industry for companies to have to impose on the developers to get a profit, but gaming was by that point technologically advanced enough to give us some great experiences.
Since then the studios have taken over (damn this is starting to sound like a political rally now) the number of brilliant games being produced has decreased greatly. I won't argue if you want to say that the newest Call of Duty games aren't works of art. Why? because theres no real person with a vision pushing these games along, instead there seems to be a checklist that developers have been following to make sure they can get the most profit. There might be a lot of things wrong with the modern game industry but it's the real lack of ambitious developers that creates the real problem. Look at Bioshock, Irrational Studios is a group that have already proved themselves with lots of other great titles such as System Shock, Freedom Force, and the first Bioshock, which is probably why the men with the money have been so happy to let them go off an do their own thing. There are other developers out there who do this as well (Rockstar and Quantic Dream, to name but a few) but there is not nearly enough.
I feel like I'm starting to rant on, so I'll try and wrap this up. I do feel like there is a big lack of gaming blogs on the internet right now, and while this isn't an entirely gaming focused blog, I do hope to try and fill a void that I've thought there has been there for a while.
Theres so many great critics for music and movies that have became notable for doing a lot more than just saying if a work is good or not (speaking of which, R.I.P. to the wonderful Roger Ebert who passed away last week), that really know how to see a film, and that bring an extra understanding of the art from their writing. I've seen very few pieces like this about videogames, and while I don't claim to be an expert, I do think I have something to say about videogames that isn't being said right now.
If you haven't noticed yet I haven't exactly got a room in my house filled with notes and rambling scribblings that plan out every post I'm going to write in detail, this is as Gonzo a blog as they come. I haven't updated as much as I'd like to have been lately but I'll be focusing more on the blog soon (especially as summer is coming up) but I'' have some articles up soon, and some developer retrospectives too.