Change of Thought
It’s a thought provoking and downright troubling notion. Where are games headed? It seems like I hear less and less about 10 and 11 year-olds discovering hidden chests in Hyrule, and more about entitled 8 year-olds begging for more Angry Birds. Mobile gaming is on the rise, no one can dispute that, but could it really be that the use of consoles, or at least consoles as we know them, are on the demise?
See, when my friends and I were growing up, video games were always nearby. They presented a unique opportunity to truly sink ourselves into a vast, unexplored world and do everything and anything we could imagine, and we took advantage of that. Whether it was through wonderful solo experiences, lying under a blanket squinting at a dimly-lit screen, or fighting with your best friend over who got the “good controller”, consoles and handhelds were always the medium through which we experienced those journeys. So, will the next generation just drop all of that, and opt for a platform flooded with poorly made and downright crappy games? For a while, I sincerely believed that they would. Then I went to E3.
Granted, I was the only 17 year old there, as most of the men there were old enough to work for a gaming company, and definitely old enough to be balding while they were working for a gaming company. However, the men there were setting a standard for the next generation, and that’s what I’d like to highlight with this post.
The sheer size of the convention blew me away. There were easily 50,000 people, and I’m told that there were up to 70,000 when the event was more easily accessed a few years ago. It was peaceful to be in a sea of people that loved video games just as much as I did, and it was a trip to watch what people were drawn to. Mobile game developers had made announcements, as had larger developers in regard to THEIR mobile games, but most people just rolled their eyes when they heard some sweaty executive screaming about the newest development on the iPhone. People were there for what they grew up with. The most crowded booths were Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s, because that’s where most of us started in video games, and that’s where those developers want our kids to start. People were blown away by the newest games for the consoles that they actually play on. The highest rated conferences were the ones that showed the most games, and the ones that talked about peripherals and gimmicks were largely ignored. I think that mentality will carry on, at least for a few generations. That phones are cheap, that PC’s are great for Minecraft and Oculus Rift, and that true, down to earth games are meant to be played on consoles. Because, in the end, a game doesn’t really feel like a game if you don’t have a cartridge slot to blow on, or a controller to set down as you let the credits roll by.