I like old action movies… by old I mean the ones from the 70ties and 80ties, films like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon had lots of great action, comedy, but also great actor play. These movies were fun not just because of the flying bullets and kung-fu kicks of Martin Rigg’s, but also because of John McClane’s funny comments and Riggs making fun of his partner Roger Murtaugh… I’ll never forget Mel Gibson’s role as a positive psycho-cop. Now compare this to today’s action movies… more action, more special effects, zero acting, zero comedy. Just budget and special effects. Do you know any great roles from an action movie of the last decade? Just big budget and biiig special effects. Notice anything similar in the gaming industry?
Who remembers Commander Keen? Or Dizzy? Doom? Another World? Prince of Persia? Dune? What did they have in common? Masterpieces! Revolutionary! Games with soul and passion, each of them added a unique chapter to the history of the computer games. And those were the times, when just 1 or few broke people made these games with just few computers. So, what happened?
MONEY. Yes unfortunately money ruins things, money ruins art, because computer games are art. And when someone (investor) smells the chance to make more money by investing a bigger amount he starts to ruin the industry. You can’t make much more original and passionate computer games with money, but you can make them longer and with better graphics and sound. And let us don’t forget that we Homo sapiens tend to judge things by their appearance. So the more original products, made by the truly passionate individuals were lost to stream of well marketed, long-play, good looking etc. products. It has been many years since I saw something revolutionary in this industry, the real artists are gone from this art. Now it’s just budget and graphics…
So what can be changed about all this stuff?
- mobile devices – they create a whole new level of gaming industry and lots of amazing possibilities for developers with ideas, moreover they aren’t spoiled as much as the desktop/ console industry yet, unfortunately they do have good graphics processors already, so we are starting to go the wrong way again BUT
- social media – if a unique game appears on the market and it will have truly amazing gameplay, then fear not! Even if it will be ignored by the whole gaming industry and their media, we will know about the existence of this game thanks to social media.
- The Internet – back in the old days, game developers had lots of problems with CPU power and funding, today acquiring these resources is much easier thanks to the Internet. Need more CPU power for some graphics work on your new game? Just do it in cloud. Lack of money for some music to your game? Gather money through Kickstarter or other tool.
The sad part is that probably it will all be very similar to the desktop gaming industry. The big players will eat the small and innovative ones. And once again everything will be just about the budget and the graphics. I do hope the impact of the Internet and social media will stop that and diversify the gaming industry.