So a trend I’ve noticed ever since I moved over to playing games on my PC as opposed to consoles (thank christ I missed this console war), is that games have changed so much. I’ve always played games in my life, one of my first memories is playing the Sega Mega Drive’s Sonic with my Dad, that and James Pond and Mega Bomberman were my introduction into the world I would one day try to be part of. Add in Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time a few years later and there’s no way I couldn’t be hooked by this brilliant and essentially still `new` art form. One thing that I noticed about myself recently was that I wasn’t happy with just the bog standard game that’s pretty much only defined by the genre it inhabits. I didn’t want to be spoon-fed the same tired format that has been built upon in either this way or that, I wanted something fresh. This is when I realised that as the games I’ve played have changed, so have I and not necessarily with them. I’ve played many single player games as I wanted to enjoy the story and see what this or that designer had to say in their game, but I found myself craving different styles.
Ultimately my self realisation was minor, I wanted to connect, I’d done this in the past; I have this blog, I used to host a podcast called “The Magical Fun Bus”, I’d streamed games with my friend but I’d never truly found a core group of friends or even a community to play with. However my much larger realisation of it wasn’t just me shook me for a second. I remembered the Xbox One reveal when the next CoD was being announced, and it was said that the game was aimed more toward `Emotional Attachment` (not hard for a CoD game). This was interesting as the usual spiel that comes with each Call of Duty is the new multiplayer features, killcams that can be uploaded to youtube within minutes etc
I remembered this as I now only noticed that this is due to the fact that gamers are people who want to be entertained and despite Call of Duties `fast food-esque` past of gameplay (i.e. It’s bad for you, yet still people consume it), they had realised just as I had that gamers are changing with the games they play.
This is because of several things, one major one that is very simple is the fact that gamers are an entertainment medium, people want to have fun playing them, they want that emotional investment, they want to be immersed in the game so much that it becomes less of an avatar and more part of who they are. This is backed up further as if you watch any player start a new fantasy RPG game, the player will spend about 40 minutes creating the character, everything from the eye level, depth and width apart are all customised by the gamer, and even though the majority of these features will not be seen during gameplay (think Skyrim – fully customisable face, First Person Adventure) they are still vastly important as the player then see’s the avatar as theirs and it creates this level of protection – the player is in charge and this character is now theirs.
The sense of ownership is intensified as gameplay commences. There have been scientific studies showing that people create much stronger bonds through adversity and this holds true for gaming as well. If the player saw the avatar as theirs at the beginning, given enough time and set-backs in the story and the gamer will start to see that avatar as themselves in this world.
What I hope to see from games in the future as they grow is more innovation. Gaming is all about player fulfillment and creating the sense of accomplishment and filling this role of power fantasy. Unfortunately many games take power fantasy and they do the lazy option with it which is to use guns, a gun is a simple concept we all understand and get, given the controllers we have to day its easy to see why a trigger was put onto a controller and thats because it easily simulates the pulling of a trigger. As I said this is easy, but it’s also lazy there is very little future in it and soon designers are going to have to start looking elsewhere to try and sell their games, but right now whats happening is big publishers are doubling down effectively on this because it works and makes money (for now). As Warren Spector said for Critical Path – These games masquerade as adult entertainment and they’re not. Its a shame that Mature in games essentially means just it has blood and guns in it (paraphrasing but you can find that here http://criticalpathproject.com/?v=38451972).
Due to these things players want different experiences, not the same tried and tested shoot ’em up, its a calling card for Innovation to take place which is hard seeing as it takes alot of money to make a game and test it, but we need this experimentation, thats why designers allow users to `Mod` their games to see what players can do and what they want. This is also shown in the Indie movement, these designers are small and therefore able to experiment with gameplay to see what will work with players, however they don’t have large budgets for advertising. Its very much `6 of one and half a dozen of the other`.
Thank you for reading 😉