Posted by drew10 on Aug 30, 2007


Everyone killed the video games star.

Ok so it is a cliché, the term casual gamer was once a derogatory term used by uptight nerds. Now however it could spell the end of gaming as we know it.

As gaming grew as a recognised medium more and more people naturally became interested in it. A good thing for the industry you may say, however this trend brought with it a worrying side effect.

The so called casual gamer wasn’t interested in deep plots and groundbreaking gameplay styles. No the casual gamer wanted racing games, football games and the odd recognisable franchise, especially it seems if she had big tits.

I guess that is fair enough but the problems began to arise when games companies started to realise that they could sell yearly updates of the same game without having to create a new game engine or storyline, step forward FIFA 96-08. This cuts costs and creates a perpetual way to print money. Johnny casual, as we will now call him, lapped it up then and has been ever since.

Now I am not saying the games companies are to blame here, let’s face it they are there to make money. Why invest in expensive new ideas, when churned out substandard remakes of virtually the same game year in year out still hit the top of the charts? I mean three years ago Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was top of the charts and then, unbelievably, people bought the sequel. Essentially, it was the same game with new questions and again it sold for full price and still charted number one again. Go figure.

What really pisses me off though is the people who find a great games for cheap at the bottom of a bargain bin and then moan that this game should have done better when it first came out. Well maybe it would have if you had bloody bought it upon release.

But then its not just Johnny Casual’s fault either, games shops are as much to blame as anyone. Games are badly displayed and whilst FIFA whatever will get fifteen shelves all to itself, sometimes subsidised by the games marketing people, whilst gaming gold like Beyond Good And Evil barely even get a mention.

But nor can we pin the blame on the games shops; whoever schedules the release dates of games has to also be tried as an accomplice, (Although I do have an image of a monkey, a calendar and a pin.) 2006 saw one of the most congested festive games release schedule’s in recent memory. Now surely, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that releasing all the games at the same time will mean the more niche titles will get overlooked, especially when going up against the really big releases. These are the games that then end up in bargain bins only to be discovered too late down the track. Do these people not realise that gamers buy games all year round and if a big release came out say mid-January then all the little, or big, kiddies with Christmas money to spend would buy it? Plus it would have the entire shelf to itself and all the press too.

So in short, it is the entire industry that is to blame, from creator to end user. Creativity in games is all but dying out yet ultimately the buck stops with you. You are the consumer it is your duty as a true games lover to keep the creativity alive. Buy the original titles, forget the yearly updates, because believe me if you suddenly changed your purchasing habits the games companies would soon sit up and listen and then maybe we would get a richer, fuller and more varied medium to immerse ourselves in.

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One Response to “Feature”

  1. moonhead says:

    As a business, gaming needs to grow and unfortunately this means seeking new gamers from more diverse social groups such as women and older people so I can only see the problems noted in this article getting worse. If you look at the games that already have been overlooked sales wise this year and that this years final quarter looks like being the most congested ever the writing is on the wall. I feel the blame lays mainly with the publishers and developers, for me even though I am playing the fantastic Bishock at the moment for some considrable period of time I have found their is a total dearth of creativity and variety.. I am totally sick of the hundreds of generic war FPS’s, squad based games and endless sequels. Also parents need to be blamed slightly as they are major buyers of games as gifts. These purchases are mostly made by parents who do not know the first thing about games so stick to tried and tested names and brands or even worse, via advice from shop assistants in their local Game store who are only going to pimp the latest Fifa or the latest animated film to game tripe rather than a more original niche title. In short I love gaming and being the well informed gamer I am I do not suffer to much as I know what I want to buy and at present there a lot of good titles coming up but I am worried that the games industry is running itself into a dead end cul de sac that it will be very hard to get out of.

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