Monday, August 10

Editorial: Why we play

Video games have been around for decades upon decades, and with the 21st century in full throttle, the evolution of gaming has propelled with speeds never thought attainable just a few years ago. Do you remember the days when all you had was a GameBoy and all you saw were green graphics? I get a good kick reversing into memory lane, and yet I never thought we would see such strides in my lifetime; oh how knowledge has increased! Who ever thought that we would be swinging at air and seeing the motions reproduced on the Nintendo Wii? Did it ever cross your mind that Microsoft's Prject Natal would essentially eliminate any involvement of the game controller? How about Sony’s “magical wand” (that’s what I call the thing) which I think is just amazing in it’s capability to potentially get gamers more involved both physically and emotionally in gaming. Was there ever a thought that in a few years, instead of just seating down and playing your favorite game on your favorite console you would be losing weight doing so? Maybe some of you have, good forward thinking on your part but we need to remind ourselves, the console makers and the Devs why we play.

This topic is not thoroughly discussed most of the times because it seems as if we the gamers just take what we get. No questions asked. The argument could be made that there’re a lot of options and you choose what content you want. While this may be true, I still do think gamers should guide the industry's direction, not vice versa. We want great games, excellent content, and replay-ability. Not more graphics and no story; sometimes I feel like the console makers just stuff down our throats what ever they want and we in turn just eat or drink without any objections. I mean, do you really want to stand for hours swinging your legs and arms at your TV? Well do you? Innovation is good, I’m not twisting facts here, but seriously, do you want facebook and myspace on your xbox? Sony recently partnered with vidzone to bring content exclusively to the PS3. Music videos on the PS3? I love games, If I wanted to watch music videos there are other mediums available. Netflix is great yes, but do you really want to listen to radio on your Xbox 360? Great games sell consoles, example: Metal Gear Solid - Sons Of Liberty raked up much needed sales for Sony by the hundreds of thousands. Halo, well we all know about Halo, the original xbox would not have made it without Halo. Anytime you hear Wii Sports, you know it equals sales to Nintendo and the list goes on.

Console makers should continue pushing the envelope and try new things in order to bring fourth a better experience for gamers. But it seems as if they’re losing their way as they move forward in the name of Competition and exclusivity. We should take a stand; let our voices be heard. We love games, and that’s it. Games entertain us in ways nothing else can, just mention Final Fantasy XII and everyone in the room becomes nostalgic. It has been the best selling PS1 game on PSN not because the graphics were superior; Final Fantasy XIII was light years ahead in graphics and storyline yet still Final Fantasy XII will go down in the history books as the best ever made. Remember Killer Instinct on the Super Nintendo? Wow, I’m back in the 90s just thinking about those great experiences. We love when games connect with us emotionally, we love when the controls work excellent, we love when the graphics are great, we love when a game is not rushed, we love great voice acting, excellent soundtracks and yes we enjoy having our friends over to join in on the fun.

Really, we don’t care about Natal or Sony’s Magic Wand that much, if they give good experiences then we might approve. We don’t want radio on our systems, no music videos, we really are not asking for all the add-ons. We want great games and that’s it. So the next time you come across a console executive or some Dev who thinks he knows exactly what you want, remind him of the games that started the revolution in the industry, remind him of: Super Mario 3, Rocket Knight Adventures, Metal Gear Solid, Donkey Kong, Contra, CastleVenia, Street fighter, Crash Bandicot, Grand Turismo, Kingdom Hearts, Zelda, Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter, time and space would fail me if I attempted to list all the greats, I don’t have so much time to spare, I’m already way too busy; but Don’t fail to let him know the reason we play. It’s because we love games.

08/10/09 Ernice Gilbert

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