The 360/PS3 generation brought both horrible and great additions to gaming with it. Here's a few of my favourites, good and bad.
BAD: The local level of social gaming disappeared...
Since the emergence of online gaming — PSN, Xbox Live and the like — the personal camaraderie of gaming seems to have all but disappeared. Remember games like Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64? Gaming was more social back in the day; we had more fun, we talked trash, we had beers, we socialised. There was nothing like executing a perfect powerslide past your friend on the last corner of a track on Mario Kart and getting to see the devastation on their face! At the end of the passing generation, people stopped using microphones online; the personal factor dwindled.
GOOD: Bon Voyage wired controllers.
This is something that didn’t cross my mind until I played Mario Party 2 with a few friends over the summer. Traversing the living room felt like recreating a laser hallway scene in a cheesy action film. If you wanted to get past for any reason, you literally had to be become an acrobat; wires were left, right and centre. As much as I could do with the work out these days, I just love the neatness of wireless controllers. I sure as hell will never take them for granted after last summer’s fiasco.
BAD: Where's my 3D platformers!?
Sure, there have been a couple of good ‘uns this passing generation in the form of the Ratchet games and Mario Galaxy. Honestly though, think back to 10-15 years ago; We still had Mario and Ratchet, but we also had Banjo, Jak and Daxter, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong and it goes on… These games hold such a place in many gamer’s hearts, it’s a shame to see them going into decline.
That being said, the new indie era of game development provided some cracking (mostly 2D) platformers: Meat Boy, Braid, Journey, ‘Splosion Man, Fez, I could go on.
GOOD: Plenty of storage capacity.
These days we hardly have to think about our save files. 500GB Hard drives and the Cloud more than do the job of holding every save file we could dream of (even including DLC, movies and entire game downloads). One story in particular comes to mind from my Gamecube days. It came down to the decision of deleting my 100 hour plus Animal Crossing file or my beloved Wind Waker file. I couldn’t afford another memory card back then and mostly rented games. Thank God that horror will never have to be relived. All hail the Cloud.
BAD: Consoles are faulty
Right, I still have my SNES, Gamecube, PS1, Mega Drive, GBA, GBC and more from back in the day. This generation, I have gone through four Xbox 360 consoles, three PS3 consoles and two Wii consoles. This is unacceptable, and I hope to God this trend ends in this coming generation. Looks like with great power, comes great destructibility… Early reports of faulty PS4 and Xbox One models are not comforting.
BAD: Oh, it's just a black and white, double-sided sheet...
I miss detailed, coloured manuals. It's so sad to see a few sheets black and white of paper with very bare bones information on them. When I was younger I'd love buying a game and then reading the manual on the journey home; I will always hold that feeling of excitement and wonder close. Shame it's gone :(. Nintendo are still pretty good with their box art though (reversible covers etc).
BAD: I just bought a full game, right?
I’m sick of buying a game, only to have to wait for a 10 minute patch to download because they released it buggy and broken (I’m looking at you Obsidian!). Don’t even get me started on Capcom’s antics with on-disc DLC this generation. Sure, DLC can be great when it adds to the experience- it’s just when publishers (and even developers) hold back ready content just to make a quick buck that ruins everything. We are paying quite a bit of money for these video games; I want the full package on day one, with nice extras along the line if I want them. We are now even being charged for things that used to be FREE: extra skins, characters and even cheats. It is ridiculous. Not only that, the increasingly popular“free-to-play” model is being implemented into games we paid 40 quid for. Even Rockstar dabbled in this model, with the ability to purchase online GTA dollars with real cash. This worries me, this worries me a lot…
GOOD: The stigma of gamers as 'losers' is gone (almost)
Fifteen years ago people would think of a stereotypical gamer as an outsider of society: a geek, a nerd, a loser. The segregated line between gamers and everybody else has blurred, and I frickin’ love it. Society has almost fully accepted gaming now. Obviously the older farts in the partisan sphere are still pretty against it, but they’ll be *ahem* gone soon. Gaming SMASHED the box office towards the end of the 360/PS3 era. GTA V broke seven world records, including the fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion. It’s not just third party games that performed well though; over the summer in my motherland (the UK), The Last of Us had allegedly grossed more than Man of Steel in its opening weeks. A first party Playstation game grossing more than THE FRICKIN’ NEW SUPERMAN MOVIE; if that’s not an exemplar of the popularity and acceptance of gaming today, what is? It's only going to become more accepted in the coming years too.