Saturday, November 26, 2005

Considering the Revolution-A Jumble of Thoughts

The past months have been filled with talk of Next Gen gaming and consoles. Its made for some pretty interesting and sometimes heated discussions. At first everyone thought the race would only be between Microsoft and Sony because their machines actually had hardware to boast about. Nintendo's Game Cube had done poorly and the Revolution looked liked it would follow in its footsteps. Nobody could've guessed what they had up their sleeves with the Revolution controller. After Iwata-san gave his keynote speech at TGS, anyone and everyone had an opinion on it and they all made sure to voice it. It seemed most game journalists were either a bit apprehensive at first, then caught onto the idea and loved it, or they just loved it right away and designer reactions were similar.

Every day gamers were a different story. Very few seemed to like the idea and the two most common complaints I heard were 1)I wont look sexy playing with that glorified remote control (which makes me laugh. As a woman who is attracted to guys who game, I have to say that NO controller makes you look sexy) and 2) its a gimmicky peice of crap. Give me better graphics, not new game play.

This is quite disconcerting to hear come from the mouths of people who consider themselves "hardcore" gamers who have been playing for 20 years. Is that what it all boils down to in the end? You want to look and feel sexy holding a VIDEO GAME CONTROLLER in your hand and only want improvment in graphics. This blows my mind.

I am worried for the industry. Video games are extremely expensive to make and so, in turn, they are expensive to buy. Like any industry, consumers have a level of control over what is made. No one will take a gamble on something that they don't think anyone will buy. If gamers are closed minded, then so are the designers. They have to be to make any money. And so, walk into any store that sells video games, and all you see are franchises. They are a product of our own way of thinking. We have no one to blame but ourselves. And we do try to blame others for our misery. We blame the designers, the publishers, EA for buying everyone out...then we run out and buy the newest Madden...and after we are done playing it for a couple hours, its back to bitching. In fact, I've heard people bitch about the insane number of franchises AND how lame they think the Revolution will be in all in the same breath. Its amazing to me that gamers can't seem to make the connection. Why can't they see Nintendo's vision?

Maybe its not so much that gamers can't open their hearts or minds to Nintendo's vision, but more that they are unwilling to. The gaming sub-culture revolves around a very tight knit community full of history and inside jokes. We have clung to our roots and were faithful when playing video games was a epitome of nerdyness and now that gaming is becoming a cool and mainstream thing, the community feels threatened.

But there is a real reason that gaming is gaining popularity. A very cool and postive reason that is so interesting that The Escapist online magazine has an entire issue dedicated to it. The first generation of gamers are all grown up and are now having babies! They are the second generation of gamers and they are a voice in the community that needs to be recognized. I worry how our decisions as consumers will affect the next generation of gamers. We need to be aware that this industry is growing and evolving. Growth needs to take place in all areas and we should encourage it, because right now, we aren't!

The Xbox 360 and the PS3 play important roles in pushing graphics and technology, but the Revolution plays an equally important role in keeping the bigger picture in mind: the non-gamers and the 2nd generation who are poised and ready to take our places. Its time to introduce a new, simplified way of playing games. Again, The Escapist online magazine has an entire issue on intergenerational gaming and the article called "The Third Generation" looks at how children are attracted to simple game play. The author, Spanner, discusses how playing these kinds of games is a way of bridging the generation gap. This is something that Nintendo understands and wants to do. I remember Kotaku's Luke Smith reported on an article that was in Business Week where Shigeru Miyamoto talks about wanting the Revolution to be the console for the whole family. Do you know what Luke's reaction was?

"No offense Miyamoto, but I don’t want to sit in front of the television while my parents wave their arms around with the Rev’ controller in their hand squawking like seagulls. I don’t share your vision."

The vision isn't for you and YOUR parents, its for you and your CHILDREN.

Again, I worry. The gaming community is still young enough where I don't think many do have families, so they can't understand something that aims to bring one together. I can only hope that we learn to keep our minds open enough to allow this idea to carry through to when we all can relate and support this idea...that video games CAN be for children too and that they can be a postive influence in a family.

-S

Check out: The Escapist,
Kotaku's story on the Business Week article, and 4 color rebellion's look at Nintendo.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Martez said...

Word.

5:07 PM  

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