All About _DeadlyFred_
Alright, seriously? I have lost count. It seems like every bloody day a new F2P MMORPG is being released. I say "new" but in all actuality these games are practically indiscernable from one another. How many cartoony, fantasy MMORPGs need to exist? Really. Can someone not do something interesting with this genre already?
Sure, you get a few oddballs cropping up now and again but the general phenomenon is to a scale worse even than that of the Age of the Wolfenstein 3D Clone; even those at least LOOKED a little different from one another. All of these games seem to tentatively TRY to offer something "unique" but they all really end up just looking like carbon copies of one another, with various broken or generall ill-conceived design conventions tacked on -- and they ALL seem to use the same stylist!
I realize every developer out there would just love to be "the next WoW" but its just not going to happen. As much as I shudder to say it, WoW has become far more than a game: it is a social subculture, a religion, a political friggin' party all its own. Give it up and try something new and if people want WoW then.. hell, let them play WoW... it keeps them away from the rest of us.
I want to see what this "genre" can do and I use the term loosely as MMO is not, in itself, a genre. It is a game mechanic which allows for potentially endless possibilities in terms of player/world interaction, persistence and depth... and it shames the creative minds of all involved to see it marginalized as it presently is.
There are a few promising titles out there but on the whole, this realm is entirely too dominated by point-click gameplay and chicks with bad hair and no clothing--we need something new already. Get some original ideas, make a game with some character to it; something that stands out.
Pretend WoW doesn't exist, I try to.
So I knew this would happen eventually. Gaming has always been about the arms-race for technology. Back in the day it was measured in bits, then in polys, later by fancy lighting effects and on to pixel-maping and physics engines. Game development has always been partially about trumping "the other guy" in technical prowess... but what has it come to?
Nowadays we have games which look like Hollywood productions, and cost just as much to produce but we also have fewer of them and with arguably shorter lifespans to boot. Gone are the days of there being a dozen new shooters or strategy games or RPGs on the shelves at any given time and instead we have to endure huge development cycles just to be gifted with a small clutch of titles.
Sure, some would argue that many of the games made back when were nothing but "clones" which did little to actually advance the genre either literally or technically; being built on already-established engines. I wonder if that somehow makes them bad? Do games really have to "do" something besides provide entertainment? And with as far as we've come on the technical side of things have we actually raised the bar all that much in terms of gameplay and mechanics to match it?
I say absolutely not.
What we end up with is a bunch of titles which take entirely too long and cost way too much to make and which, in the end, offer very little more than their older predecessors. Will this madness ever stop? Is there any retroactive clause available in the world of game development or are we stuck at this present point in time and beyond?
You know what I'd love to have? Forget about the "next" Xbox or Playstation, forget about motion-sensing nunchucks, forget about blu-ray drives. I'd love the next console that comes out to be stuck in a time warp somewhere between 1998 and 2005. I'd love there to be a menagerie of developers hard at work churning out titles with functional mechanics rather than Hollywood glitz and glitter. I'd love for there to be a platform which actually had some games again.
I don't care about technical innovation or gimmicks, I enjoy seeing what people can rip from their creative minds and slap into the context of a 3D world, regardless of if its necessarily ground-breaking on a large scale or not. I want the small innovations, the fine-tuning, the creative twists on established systems. I want to see more people making more games that are intended to be PLAYED, not just "experienced"... not just shown off on a fancy engine.
Alas, have we come too far? Has the weight and majesty of gaming's battle to prominence in popular culture crushed all that was ever good and well about it along the way? I worry it has.
To the old days, when games were games and gamers were a shady subculture of creatures plotting world domination in their parents' basement one frag at a time... to was the journey, not the destination.
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