By EvilConker 10 Comments
Games have always had that feeling of "we're still in the garage in our hearts," but now, we aren't. I recall Adam Sessler on his soap box talking about how the "B-Movie Game" is dead, and I remember how he said that now people are putting more "thought" into games. And when I heard that, I decided to take a trip down memory lane.
I've always thought of nostalgia as that thing you feel about games made during the 5th gen and before, but what I've began to realize is that it now is beginning to happen for me during the 6th gen, and what I realize is... it's been five years. Yes, five years, I felt nostalgia for the 5th gen back then, during the 6th gen, so I guess it's apropriate to feel nostalgia towards the 6th gen... But is it? I mean, I can't call Super Mario Sunshine a classic, neither can I call Ratchet and Clank, in fact, I can't really say anything during the 6th gen as having the "classical" feel to it. I mean, there are no blocky graphics, it's all pretty clean, and there are no real great forays into the game world, like the invention of 3D during the 5th gen.
All in all, the 6th gen was an updated 5th gen.
Except, there was something different. And that was the games.
I recall that during the 6th gen, the games were a lot stranger. I remember looking at the PS2 aisle in particular and being filled with wonder about all the odd and strange games I see. I saw Katamari Damacy, I saw Timesplitters, hell, I even saw Destroy all Humans. There were all these strange things that just wouldn't exist today. I remember Xplay back then, it used to be a lot more "personal" then it is right now, it was less flashy, and it was more about the reviews. I remember they had more games to mock back then, there was Big Rigs, there was Yogi-Oh game #999,999, there was Dynasty Wars, and all of them Adam and Morgan made a point in mocking to the fullest. They also did more skits, such as the famous test of the three consoles in terms of durability, where they smacked them with sludge hammers, or the Xplay goes to Japan episode, I mean, the good one, with Adam going to a diner and inventing a "game" based off it, where the money is the points.
Nowadays X-Play is a half-decent attempt at trying to be what it used to be, all the while carrying the weight of what was once an entire line up of shows, now all confined to their little 30 minutes or one hour at times. They now try to reach broader audiences then they used to, in fact, that's G4 in general, and yes, that all started with the beginning of the 7th generation for the most part. If it weren't for Adam Sessler, I wouldn't watch it.
All in all, there was that feeling that lingered in the game industry that no longer exists today.
I remember watching the Grand Theft Auto 3 review on Gamestop a few months ago, and not understanding how the hell somebody gave a review like this... sorry Jeff... But seriously?
Yeah, GameStop doesn't do that stuff anymore, watch ANY review now and you'll see that the times have changed.
Now I'm looking at the news feeds and the game aisles, I'm seeing a lot more big budget games, and the small budget games don't even get shelf space (they go on XBLA, if you've wondered where they gone.) Yes, XBLA also gets featured here. Who honestly knew in 2005 when we had Geometry Wars as the biggest thing there that we'd end up with Limbo, Castle Crashers, and Skulls of The Shogun? The small time game scene has changed. One of the most notable thing is the massive absence of the small time Japanese developers, you know, the guys who either delivered a JRPG or some wtf game that doesn't even make a moderate amount of sense, they're all either shut down or still hanging around the PS2 which is still actually quite popular in Japan as I heard.
Now what we're also hearing is PR guys getting everywhere. Believe it or not, there was a time when Community Managers didn't exist, and PR was a short ad. Now we're seeing exclusive game trailers being shown during the NBA Finals, complete with all the explosions and special effects of a big budget movie. Additionally, we're getting a lot of press coverage. I was actually shocked to see Yahoo putting down Starcraft II on their front page, that was virtually unheard of during the 6th gen. Also, remember how much coverage the Wii got? And how much coverage MW2 got? Yeah, this stuff didn't used to happen. I think the biggest game during the 6th gen was Madden, although Madden's still huge right now, it's certainly NOT the biggest game. Speaking of which, remember that Madden show where they used to get the best players and put them in real football training camps? Does that show even air anymore?
Anyways, I think the biggest thing we've seen is that gaming has "opened up" and now we've got a lot more people watching us. The airport scene in MW2 wouldn't have caused such a stir if it wasn't in... well... MW2. We're getting a LOT more games selling multi-million copies. I hear a LOT more chatter in my school about kill counts in Call of Duty then I ever heard before, and this isn't just because I've grown up, I don't think it really existed all that much before, this is something new. I think my local Gamestop's drawn a lot more attention too, it didn't used to be crowded 2/3 of the time. And what about Farmville, 100 million players? The guys who used to chastise WoW players are now replicating the same things they hated, except instead of bashing boars, they're growing crops.
Now that games have opened up, companies have a lot more money in their pockets, too. Remember when EA shut out 2K sports out of the NFL license? That used to be huge news, but that's NOTHING compared to Activision shutting out West and Zampella out of their royalties. And what? Activision and EA are both fortune 500 companies now? They were big before, but now they're among the ranks of banks and oil tycoon's, and they're making money off a much smaller medium, yet they're still pulling out multi-BILLION dollars. And what do they do with all that money? They spend it on PR and all that stuff, the big trailers and making a name for themselves. Like Nintendo setting up a Wii station practically EVERYWHERE during the 2007/2008 holiday season, you think that's cheap? You think they could do that when the GC was around?
So much has changed... So much. I think this is the biggest leap gaming has ever made, forget 3D and whatnot, this is huge. And what we've found is a LOT of things we used to know don't exist anymore. We're not seeing any colorfull wacky Japanese games (Bayonetta aint colorful, and it can't hold a light to Katamari Damacy) like we used to, the small devs are now on XBLA, PSN, Wiiware, but NOT on the shelves, and now the companies have gotten a lot bigger and we've seen the overall tone of gaming change.
And I don't like it... But that's just me... I mean, I miss the old X-Play, I miss letting the Japanese have their way with game design, and I miss seeing more variety in the store shelves, and I miss the days when gaming was just a lot more... cheesy.
So yes, I do feel nostalgia towards the 6th gen, and it's alright if you do too.