Monday, 9 January 2012

Are good games becoming rarer, or is it me?

Being born in the mid-80s, I was fortunate to enjoy both excellent cartoons and the birth of the gaming industry. I can still recall waiting for 30 minutes (no, youth of today, I am not jesting) for the cassette games to load on my Amstrad, during which I’d do some reading.

Naturally, as a child, I loved the new delights videogames offered. I belonged in the Sega camp, when the SNES and Mega Drive were at war, and then shifted to the Playstation when Sega eventually lost the conflict. It seems ultra-fast blue hedgehogs are no match for a moustachioed plumber.

I can still remember some fantastic, old, games. Games like Phantasy Star IV for the Mega Drive, Vagrant Story for the Playstation and Shadow Hearts Covenant for the PS2. They’re still being cranked out (Skyrim being the latest and most obvious example), but I keep feeling somewhat… lacklustre about gaming generally.

Metal Gear Solid was great, but MGS2 replaced the hero with a whiny boy in need of a haircut. I enjoyed MGS3, but then 4 decided to go completely overboard with endless bloody cut-scenes. Likewise, Final Fantasy VII was very nice, X featured a whiny arsehead as the protagonist and apparently XIII (I don’t earn sufficient money to throw it away on the bonfire of a series now trading entirely on its name) is as linear as the Channel Tunnel.

There are also tons and tons of FPS (first person shooter) games. However, they’re not really my kind of game. I quite like strategy games, but being a PS3-only gamer (there are enough distractions on a PC without adding gaming to it) there’s not exactly a huge range (Red Alert 3 springs to mind, and it’s ok).

So, what is there? An Elder Scrolls game twice a decade, possibly Dragon Age (assuming EA actually let Bioware make the sodding game without a ridiculous deadline next time), Uncharted and…. Er….

I might get the next Formula 1 game, but even as a fan I’m not going to spend £40 every year buying a slightly different variant on something I already own.

An awful lot of the better games are just sequels in established series, and, except for Uncharted, it’s been a while since a properly good series started. I know lots of people love Assassin’s Creed, but I bought the second game (reckoned to be the better) and got bored with it.

Maybe I’m just viewing the past with rose-tinted glasses. After all, everyone remembers The Beatles and Queen, nobody remembers Love Is A Rubber Ball Bouncing Back To Me (I forget who performed it, but in my defence it was about 20 years before I was born).


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