Videogames feel a bit more like games again

and I friggin’ love it

For awhile there, five years ago or so, it seemed like every game had to be some profound piece of art. Games had to have this impactful story or realistic multiplayer experience that lived up to the biggest blockbuster films. In other words they just seemed to take themselves way too seriously. A lot of the time that impacted fun in a negative way, and isn’t fun sort of the point?

Lately though games have been coming out that are lighthearted and colorful. Rocket League, DOOM, Overwatch, these games have been incredibly successful and none of them take themselves very seriously. They know exactly what they are and they do that so well, and they’re fun as hell!

Games learned how to just be themselves

and they’re way better for it

Games have a goal, some sort of objective to accomplish or something to beat. For awhile there were a lot of games that proudly touted how there was no objective, how it was all something to experience. Don’t get me wrong, some really good things came out of this, Journey for instance was about the experience along the way, not the end goal. Journey absolutely nailed that idea but for the most part games would just plop you into this “open” world where all the things you could do weren’t really that rewarding. You never felt like you beat anything.

Now lets take a look at DOOM. They put you into this world and give you a big gun. Go kill all the demons.

Rocket League, get the ball in the other teams goal.

Overwatch, play better than the other team and beat them (which obviously applies to Rocket League as well).

All of the games have one very important thing in common.

The games feel great great to play

and that makes them fun

Good solid game mechanics are so unbelievably important. Rocket League is such a beautiful example of this. It’s all physics based and you drive cars around to get a giant ball into a goal (or mini cars and a regular ball…doesn’t matter). It’s so simple! The premise of a game doesn’t make it great, it’s how its executed that makes it great (and fun). It feels really satisfying to punch a big ball into a goal and it feels even better to do that by outplaying your opponents. Now I’m going to say something that might cause a bit of controversy.

I think many of the best videogames of the last couple years learned a thing or two from mobile games.

We can do anything they can do better

and way better looking

Mobile games are successful because they all offer instant gratification. They offer something that feels good to play and rewards you frequently with nice graphics and sounds. They also never try to be anything more than they are. Granted the reason for that is because they already make a shitton of money and have no need to innovate, but still, it’s something to strive for in some sense.

Modern games like the ones I’ve been talking about understand very well how important it is for a game to feel good. Rocket League feels great to play, but it offers so much more. You’ll never see the kind of coordination possible in Rocket League or get the feeling you get from scoring that amazing goal (or missing it…) in any iPhone game.

Today’s videogames are becoming a bit more like games again with things to beat, goals to score and items to collect. But they’re also retaining that magical thing that no other medium can ever replicate. A lot of games lately have been merging the two ideas of game and experience in amazing ways.

Dark Souls is king

and possibly my favorite example for this

Dark Souls is one of the best out there for sure. On the surface it’s very simple.

Kill enemies => get souls => upgrade character => kill bosses => get more souls => beat game => NG+

You, the player, are put into this world that is constantly pushing back at you and you have to beat it. That’s what gamers want! The coolest thing though is that this game can be as much of an experience as you want it to be. There is so much lore riddled throughout every item and every corner of the world. They put so much substantial story into it but you can ignore as much of it as you want and just play. It’s such an elegant solution to the fight between making something simple and fun and still wanting to create something bigger than us. Each player gets they’re own experience falling somewhere unique on the spectrum of substance. What’s even better is that if you missed things you just start it again. These games are intended to be played multiple times. In my opinion, Dark Souls (and Bloodborne, I love Bloodborne…) is a videogame in its purest form and I can’t wait to see more of it.

Now ONCE AGAIN I stayed up way too late writing this. But wow I didn’t expect to be going this long. Sorry if I rambled a bit in this one but I think my mind took off a bit, not a lot of time to plan these things. I hope you at least got something out of it! Goodnight!


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