I’ve been taking a look at a few screenshots for the game Doom3 which will be released later this year. I have to say this looks like a pretty intense game. The industry has come a long way.
I’m not a big gamer myself. Every once in a while I find myself playing one to fill in a little bordem. I’m certainly not a hardcore gamer like people who go to conventions and lan parties. My glory days of gaming were when I was a kid and the NES first came out.
Video games are one of those things that keep getting bigger and bigger. For the last several years the gaming industry itself has made more money then the film industry. Obviously people like their games.
I remember when I first got my NES and from there a Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. I was a console gamer because computers were so expensive and complicated. Though I did eventually find myself playing Prince of Persia, Wolfenstein and Doom on a PC for brief bits of time.
Most of my glory days of gaming was when I was a preteen and early teenageer. My friends I and I would sit around for hours playing games like The legend of Zelda and Soulblazer. By the time I got into highschool I had other things on my mind, most notably girls, filmmaking and all sorts of other oddities. But at the same time the game industry in my opinion seemed to shift and change radically.
Computer gaming was becoming very popular and the console systems were in flux. The Super Nintendo was the big offering soon to die and the Sony Playstation was the new thing. Honestly I would have never guessed the playstation to become the next greatest thing. In my opinion it was way too expensive and the early games seemed kind of stupid. It didn’t impress me at all. I was sure the industry was moving toward making more filmed video based games like the game “Night Trap” for Sega CD. But the early playstation titles moved away from this completely it seemed. I was comforatable with Nintendo and Sega ruling the gaming industry forever. But these old companies were slowing falling apart. Sega never went far with their SegaCD and then introduced a strange 32 bit game addon for the Genesis. Nintendo never came through with their plans for a CD based addon for the SNES and at the same time was against releasing bloody games like Mortal Kombat.
It was the right time to move on and presue other interests in life.
I never completely gave up gaming though. Every once in a while I’ve found myself playing a little Simcity, hooking up the old SNES for some Street Fighter 2 and eventually (a few years out of highschool) I even bought a playstation once the price had dropped to $100. Several hundred less then when it first came out. Though I hardly played it. I did play a few more computer games though. Even so I’ve still remained pretty much out of the loop. Many of the games I played just being slightly newer versions of the old classics I enjoyed like Simcity.
Every once in a while I’d hear mention of some strange games like Unreal Tournament, Halo, Quake Arena, Everquest, ect. I’m only 25 years old yet I hear these things and know nothing about them. I feel like I’m a grandpa trying to understand what this new fad is with the young whipper snappers these days.
In the 7 years I was out of the loop the game industry changed. Suddenly the Playstation was the equivelent of what the NES used to be to my gaming generation. The great king system where all titles can be found. Microsoft released a system, Nintendo was still alive but no longer king, now producing a system that seemed to only offer games geared toward kids. Sega no longer in the system business at all. But the biggest surprise, games found for the PC could now also be found for the consoles.
Well surfice to say I have been paying more attention to the game industry lately. It’s filled with a lot of first person shooters and RPG’s. Gone are the days of the great side scrolling action games like Double Dragon, Bad Dudes, Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden. Now everything is 3d, everything is polygon based, and everything seems to me moving toward network/internet based game play.
I don’t personally think the gaming of today is any better then it was back when I was younger and really into it. Back then we had fun being in the same room, switching off who would play next. When 8 bit graphics moved to 16 bit graphics we thought it was the greatest thing since ice cream. Things were simpler. But they were still a blast. Althought the graphics and sound weren’t as good a lot of the games alot of the games still involved a lot of skill and thinking.
This past week I purchased Quake II, Deus Ex and a Tomb Raider game. I’ve spend about 10 hours so far playing Quake II. Haven’t tried the other yet. I know Quake II isn’t the newest and the best out these days. But being as I’m still playing catch up it’s all new and interesting to me.
I bought all these games for my computer. Where PC gaming used to be the expensive complicated alternative to console gaming when I was young I’ve found it to be almost the exact opposite today. For starters I already own my PC. I’ve had it for years doing internet and video work. Playing a game on it is no big deal I just have to go out and buy the game. Rather then going out and buying the lastest game console like a PS2 or Xbox and then the game. Plus I’ve got all types of games to choose from, one of the great things about PC gaming is that I can play games from 14 years ago or a new one that will be released tomorrow. Because the games I listed above were a few years older they were a lot cheaper and being as I didn’t know if I’d like them it was less of a gamble. Unfortunately you can’t rent PC games from video stores like you can console games.
I will say this though, the playstation 2 is the first console I’ve ever heard of that allows you to play your older playstation 1 games on it. That’s something systems should have been doing years ago. In that sense I have a feeling that the PlayStation systems will continue to do this and always have a great backlibrary of titles you can play on the current system. This is very PC-like of them and a smart move.
The Future of Gaming
I really can’t say anything for sure on this. I just stepped back into the game after a many year break. Things changed so much in that time I wouldn’t be surprised if they did again. But I’ll take a guess for the fun of it.
I don’t think Microsoft will stay in for more then another 5 years. When I first saw the Xbox I gasped. The thing is ugly and unwieldy. The game controllers themselves feel bad in the hand. But some people like it. Unfortunately it’s pushing head to head with the PS2 and in the end the PS2 has shown it’s the winner. In less people care to always buy two systems I think the majority will look back on how round one went, see the PS2 as the winner and buy the PS3 instead of the Xbox 2. Which means the future of gaming for the next 5 years is pretty much sealed with the PS2 and 3.
Unfortunately I think Nintendo has gotten themselves into a mold they can’t get out of now. The N64 and gamecube with cartoonish offerings that seemed geared toward younger childeren. No doubt their Mario and Zelda games will always shine through. But Nintendo seems to be holding onto this card that say’s “wholesome gaming the whole family can enjoy”. But truth be told American 16 year old boys would rather be playing Socom: Navy Seals and so would their dads. So once the kids are out of diapers Nintendo is out of market.
The Playstation seems to be the only real sole winner. I’ll admit Sony has done an awesome job with these two systems of theirs. Although it felt to me like the original NES ruled as king system forever, it’s time of the thrown has already been trumped by the playstation dynasty. I have a feeling that dynasty will rule for the next 5 years…
…or at least in the console world. The true king of gaming has shown himself to be the PC. Still there are games on both you can’t find for the other.