My first reaction was to retweet this article, but it does such a good job of describing how I’ve been feeling about the gaming world as of late, and by extension why it’s been so quiet around here lately.
At first I thought it was just because I’ve been dedicating myself to writing as of late, and maybe also because of programming burnout. Both excuses are true. But the real problem is…
Look. As of this writing, videogames have existed (as more than isolated experiments) for about 40 years — longer than I’ve been alive. And if you want to insist on that dumb comparison with movies that everyone makes, videogames should be at the stage where movies were in 1935.
Which, quite clearly, isn’t the case.
No, I’m not holding my breath for the “Citizen Kane of videogames”. I did say the comparison was stupid, right? And there have been quite a few games already that everybody can agree to call art (apart maybe from Robert Ebert, but he left this world not so long ago). We obviously DIDN’T need ultra-realistic graphics to achieve that. But nobody can seem to figure out what does make those masterpieces so great, let alone replicate their success. Maybe it’s because videogames are so much more complicated than movies. I don’t know. I’m too tired of my own failed attempts.
Worse, I’m tired as a gamer. Can’t remember when I last played anything that wasn’t a text adventure… written by a friend. I know someone who buys every Humble Bundle on principle but never plays any of them. I know another someone who buys games on GOG by the dozen and also doesn’t play any. The only people I know who still play at all are into Guild Wars 2, Wizardry 101, or else some version of Pokemon. Even on the Metro, you wouldn’t believe how many of the many passengers with large-screen smartphones play… some implementation of Same Game. Out of literally millions of possible choices.
In the mean time, literature is getting better than ever (despite doomsday predictions by a publishing industry nobody needs or wants anymore), and even amateur short film — a laborious form of art to create, even moreso than games! — has reached the point where YouTube is full of little masterpieces. I keep meaning to watch more of them, and somehow never succeed. All this while videogames have been going exactly nowhere, despite an increasingly frantic output by industry and indies alike.
I don’t think we know where we’re going. I don’t think we’re making any progress either. Not even in circles.
And that’s why as of late I’ve been going back to my lifetime passion of reading and writing. I’d change the main topic of this blog (seriously, I’ve been tempted), but that wouldn’t be fair to my readers, I think. The two of them who are still out there, anyway.
Funny how easily literature has moved away from experiments such as Dadaism, and yet is still thriving on the same good old principles that were already established by the time Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe.
But videogames don’t yet have such established principles. We never bothered acquiring any.
After all, we could always rely on hardware getting more powerful, right?