Mister Mistro Malstrom,
I don’t think your idea is crazy at all when it comes to the happenings of video games and the shift from games to electronica. Here’s some crazy; what is evident to me is that the shift toward electronica as you put it is based upon a cultural shift (opinion of course); gamers/people in general are currently obsessed with technology; people spend most of their days staring at their smartphone/apple craptop. I’m only 22, and I know what people my age are like, entirely technologically dependent, the shift from games to electronica is because people are always craving the latest and greatest (because of educational competitiveness conditioning?) so innovation in gameplay takes a backseat towards humanities drive towards developing photo realistic worlds. I think that is currently the goal of video game content developers. Photo realism, and a much more fluid input system (brain interfacing obviously being the best we could aim for). Why? This may sound entirely crazy, but I think humanity is driven towards this for evolutionary reason; we can’t sustain our current life and some instinct inside of us has been slowly developing; the creation of other worlds in which we can store consciousness without worrying about messy things like environment.
I do agree with you whole heartedly about games just being half assed movies nowadays and everyone knows it, even the developers know it. I played Half-Life 2 Episode 2 with dev commentary on and they were talking about how they wanted the game to make you feel like an action hero in a movie. They want you to experience the end of Half Life 2 and its episodes because ‘stuff happen’. So, now, with all this writing guild bullshit we’ve got protagonists who spout shit at us and control our experience and context of the game. Completely destroying what made them so entertaining in that we interjected ourselves into games, creating our own meaning and experience, especially as children. Its mostly evident in triple AAA titles, some games still retain the idea that they are in fact games; like Portal and I think it was a huge success because of that, it didn’t take its self seriously like 90% of hollywood garbage and it was a game about playing a game, in which you used your brain to solve puzzles etc. As opposed to games like COD which are just about explosions and American patriotism. I may as well watch Die Hard 4 with an xbox controller in my hand. Games are going the same way as triple AAA music (do they call it that?). It just plain sucks and is degrading in human talent and innovation and morphing into an almost narcissistic state; i.e. it’s good because it is in our faces all of the time and we did it. Accept it or be labelled anti-social for eternity.
There was an offhanded quote I read from Robert E. Lee that stuck in my mind and kept growing in importance. In a letter of advice to someone raising daughters, Lee advised to educate his daughters in the matters of reality and to keep them clear of fantasy related entertainment. I forget the exact quote, but that is the gist of it. It made me think of many things.
People today plug themselves into a digital universe and do not think about reality. Sure, they ‘think’ about reality but only in the context of that digital entertainment universe. With the news, people only absorb the news that is ‘entertaining’ to them which means they get a worldview of news that amazingly props up their own political, moral beliefs. There is no challenge to it. I’ve made it a practice of mine to say something public, which I can back up with available information from reality, which is in stark contrast to their digital entertainment world. The reaction, at first, is shock and outrage at myself. Hate goes out to me. But then some see the information from reality and are grateful for the readjustment.
An example of this would be gamers dissing the Wii’s ‘growth strategy’ because the PS2 was the biggest growing system ever. How could the Wii do anything? But the actual information shows that the PS2 grew on trends not related to gaming such as additional markets and population growth. Gaming, as a medium, didn’t actually grow. People who understood this were not surprised by the Wii’s explosive start. Another example is the 2d Mario vs. 3d Mario. Anyone who has seen the 2d Mario sales numbers were not surprised with NSMB DS and NSMB Wii’s success stories. But there were people who thought people only liked 3d Mario and they got that way by reading websites and forums populated by only people who liked 3d Mario.
In political polling, there is always disbelief at them because people hang out with people whose political views are similar to theirs. A famous comment concerning Nixon’s win of 49 states was a journalist who said, “And I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”
One very real issue I try to bring attention to young men is divorce law. When young men plan to get married, they do not think of divorce or what its repercussions might be (they are extremely severe and unfair that most male suicide occurs during divorce). It is not a ‘fun’ subject to talk about. But it is reality. By choosing not to participate in reality, I’ve seen so many young men destroyed both financially and life-wise.
What is our lives? Do we just go to stores and work to keep returning to a digital realm of entertainment?
Concerning Lee’s comment, the people of the past submerged themselves in a world of entertainment as well. I wonder if the ‘Romanticism’ was the result of people choosing to create an alternate life for themselves because the real one, with railroads, factories, and the great industrial revolution, was too much for them to grasp.
I suppose I was raised by people who took their entertainment from the Real World. What I mean by this, they were fascinated with something ordinary like how the trees grew. And they became engineers and scientists because of that.
I take Lee’s advice as a way to save that person’s daughters from oblivion. But are we treating electronica like some people treat alcohol? We laugh at the guy forever drunk at the bar because he is escaping the reality of his life. But are we not doing the same with electronica?
“Are you saying electronica is all bad?” No. I’m just saying that electronica should help us in our journey of life instead of it being the destination. The drunk is someone who works and spends his paycheck on more booze. Are the electronica addicts any different?
Kids have an excuse to play video games all day. Kids cannot control their reality. Their reality is controlled by their parents, by their schools, and where they live. But as adults, we can control our reality. We can get better jobs, retire early, move around, whatever.
The huge success of games like Wii Sports or Brain Age is that these games did not transport people to a virtual environment. People who chose to have their entertainment reside in reality were attracted to these games. If Wii Sports was filled with Mario characters, it would never have sold like it did. We don’t expect every book to be a fantasy orientated book so why should every video game?
The desire for the Electronica Lifestyle which so overwhelms electronic products today totally pushed out gaming from video games. The reason why so many games today do not feel like games is because game developers today become game developers to pursue the Electronica Lifestyle (i.e. play games and make games all day). This wasn’t the case in the 80s or early 90s. Electronica hadn’t risen to such an extent. The Internet wasn’t yet popularized. Computers were used mostly for work.
The study of games is the study of the real world. This is not appealing to Electronica addicts. So the only metric for a ‘better video game’ is ‘how does this game better connect us to Electronica’?
The Wii and DS did just the opposite. Those systems brought me closer to the Real World. No wonder certain people despised those systems.