Saturday, 1 November 2008



Well the final part to gaming history is the present and future. The largest change in the gaming industry today is the advancement of technology. During the mid 80’s up until today, the industry has become a global consumer market filled with all the possible ways to play video games. Considering that games first came out on arcade machines, today we can play video games on a range of different devices from the internet, consoles, PC’s and laptops, handheld devices and mobile phones. The industry is now at a level at which it can compete against other entertainment industries such as movie, music and magazine.

Looking at gaming today, the advances today have changed the way in which we play games. Remember how ten years ago when we wanted to play games with our friends, we had to see if they were available to come round. Today however with Internet and online communities we are able to play with our friends and other people around the world while sitting comfortably at home. As far as gaming goes we are now able to work in big teams formulating tactical ideas to overcome the challenges we face, all that instead of simple point and shoot.

Back in 1994, I remember playing on my friends’ NES fascinated by the square controller with a D-pad and four buttons. It was different to the keyboard and mouse used for PC’s. Looking at it now we have controllers that are ergonomically designed (excluding the original Xbox controller, it was far too big) with analogue sticks rather than a four way D-pad. The Wii provides a new way of input using the motion sensor allowing for a totally different experience. We also make use of microphones and cameras and other devices such as musical instruments (Rock Band) and dance mats.
With the new advances in technology comes a heavy price to pay. Looking back twenty years, a development company could finance a game on its on budget using one programmer or a very small team to make the game in a few months. Today it requires a large team of around fifty to well over a hundred to produce a game in more than a year’s time on a large budget of around £20 million. Developers have to outsource for staff and now need a publisher to fund the development of the game. Technology such as High Definition has made it harder for developers since games now have to be highly detailed which requires more time and resources. All in all it is becoming very expensive to make a game and publishers have to take a big risk when faced with a totally new game idea. Majority of publishers today are settling with sequel games and games based on movies, comics and other licensed property. Originality is being thrown out the window in many cases.

For me personally, I think the technology used today is at its prime. Graphics can get better and processors can run faster, but with the cost of having to make a game to meet the standards of the hardware, I think its going to become very expensive and companies will not see it as viable. I would like for the industry to go back to its roots and find better, more interesting ways to play and make games. Originality is the key to success and although it is a big risk, publishers should spend more time investing in new ideas rather than make a quick buck with spin offs. Braid was a game released this year for Xbox Live Arcade. It was designed by an independent software developer and was highly recognized for its simplicity and game play. The game is like any other Platform game but differs due to the environment and time control system. It really has to be played to understand its brilliance. It’s a good example of how an original idea can be developed using a small budget and team. I would love to play more games like this in the future. Games that are mentally stimulating and intuitively designed are more appealing than a generic FPS. I would love to have a system by which we were able to enter the digital world as a character and play a game as if it were real however I know they are considerable negative outcomes of a system like this. I think with games, they don’t allow a player to use what he already knows from reality and put it into a game. Majority of the time a game simply teaches you through practice only. Anyway before I get too deep into future technology I best leave it here and get a subway and play some guitar hero….

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