Friday, August 12, 2005

Videogame creators still searching for validity?

Hey all, just a semi-rant here.

After our lecture on gameplay I couldnt help but think that the videogame industry comes of as rather insecure. I remember at the launch of the Xbox game "Halo 2" the constant reminder at how much money it made, note the emphasis on "money" and not "units sold". Sure, Halo 2 made something like $US120 million (I think was the figure) but if we compare the units sold, to the number of "units", or people, that watch a comparable blockbuster film, i'm pretty sure we'd have a more accurate indicator/comparison. Lets not forget the fact that the average cost of a game in the USA is $US50, whereas a movie ticket is somewhere around the 8-12$ mark. This only made me think that it was the game industry desperatley searching for validation.

I know the fact that in the USA the gaming industry, as a whole, makes more money annually than the film industry, and while gaming is not considered a purely "geek" pastime i dont think it has achieved the sort of cultural cache that films have.

Hrmm, i dont think that i have made a point yet. Alright, how's this for one - game creators should let go of their insecurities and start to make some truly original games, instead of simply trying to make an 'interactive hollywood'. (something not set in World War 2 would be a nice start.)

This rant was inspired by something I read on www.grumpygamer.com a few months ago. Cant be bothered finding the exact article.

3 Comments:

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

That's an interesting point, regarding how the game industry chooses to market itself in a similar way to the film industry. One way of looking at it is that, well, it's WORKED for the film industry. Hollywood does love to rant on about money. Although, it's an interesting idea that though the game industry outstrips the film industry financially, they're less secure about how much esteem they're held in. This is possibly due to how often various political forces try to blame them for everything up to and including communism.

Another thing to consider is a growing divide within the game industry between the larger players, such as the sprawling satanic empire that is EA Games, versus the smaller publishers like Double-Fine.

EA Games is trying to be the Microsoft of the gaming world, buying up smaller companies when they show promise and then homogenising the product.

In comparison, do a websearch for a game called Psychonauts. It's from a tiny company with something like forty staff in total, and it's one of the best games I've played in years.

If you want a list of other games which are certainly original, go looking for some of these:

The Thief Series from Looking Glass Entertainment.

System Shock 2 and Deus Ex.

Star Control 2 (Now abandonware, so it might be easier to search for the free XP update called 'The Ur-Quan Masters')

Fallout

Grim Fandango

The Half-Life series.

That covers a good variety for types of games, and a lot of them are from small companies, or which were small at the time.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger aiwa said...

Yeah, i love Grim Fandango, Broken Sword, and the Monkey Island games.
(Barring Broken Sword, the other titles made by Lucasarts when they were still a company that made games OTHER THAN Star Wars franchises)

I've heard great things about Psychonauts though (from the creator of "Full Throttle", i believe).

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Indeed, Psychonauts is from Tim Schaefer. I think he was the head designer for Grim Fandango, actually, along with involvement with Day of the Tentacle and other such glorious LucasArts games.

 

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