A New Era of Gaming
I’ll admit it, in the temple of PlayStation, Microsoft, and Nintendo, I am a heretic. I generally find the current state of affairs in regards to gaming bland. It is not my intention to discredit the work that goes into producing them, or the industry, but it’s boring. Therein lies my heresy, gaming, boring! I come from the golden age of gaming, when there were arcades in the mall and Mario reigned supreme on the Super Nintendo. I spent weekends in front of a screen watching pixelated heroes do the impossible, all under the guide of my fingers. Like most things, gaming did change and I gladly changed with it. Four ports allowed my friends to join me in my crusades, and memories were made trash talking and laughing…yet all of that would change. Online gaming boomed and now I found myself going over to a friends to play on “Live”. This is not the change that I feared, nor was it what I expected, but the industry changed, and I did not.
I’m a casual gamer now, I admit it. The aforementioned fear was not the new aspect of potential worldwide multiplayer, but the fact that the pool of games had become boring. A Madden or 2K I can abide by, as it’s natural that as the rosters and superstars change, we cannot expect people to be satisfied forever with a hall of famer of the past. I’m talking about the games that were just outright repetitive. It seemed every game was a sequel in a series, that like the nature of sports games, we as consumers were subjected to every year. The industry became nothing but AAA titles that were part of a series. I enjoyed these games yes, but after awhile I couldn’t do it anymore. New games with the same old formula seemed like a car with a new paint job. Exciting and new, but underneath the surface it was the same. Games during my childhood were fueled by their innovation, story telling, and fresh take on game play. what I was seeing in front of me was a stagnant moneymaking machine. Despite this change, there was something brewing in the heap of these games that I came to dislike…born from opensource. A new era was about to dawn.
Games no longer became expensive endeavors, and there were plenty of tools that could land in the hand of talented and passionate people, and it was good. Armed by such services as Steam, indie games boomed and took us all by storm. I was hearing about games with crazy titles, and seeing innovative ideas on screens. What they lacked in graphics or notoriety, they made up for in their creative nature and ridiculousness. Games like Don’t Starve, The Long Night, Five Night at Freddy’s, Goat Simulator. In the past these games would have raised an eye brow and faded into cult classic status, but not now. Not in this day and age. Humble bundles distributed them in mass, and they graced the screens of those around me. I eventually found myself reignited and intrigued. My first under the radar game that captured my attention was The Banner Saga, I’d heard about it and loved the art style. I ranted and raved about it to the point that a PC master race friend of mine picked it up. He thought it was amazing and ended up gifting it to me on Steam. It is this age of underground gaming and indie titles that has given the industry a breath of fresh air. A breath so invigorating that it’s trickling into the mainstream again, it is this new era that leaves me and my inner child very hopeful for the future of gaming to return to it’s golden roots.
- ***This is my first Medium article, and definitely not my last. Just as an aside, I’ve stumbled upon a fantastic podcast that has a great outlook on the gaming industry called “The Last Checkpoint”. I highly encourage you to check it out***