Never before did I feel as disconnected from the industry I love as I do right now.
When I take a look at what kind of games people choose as their “game of the year“, I can only think of how ridiculous that choice is. Don´t get that wrong, different people have different opinions and that is okay. But it is the whole combination, the whole package that makes it that unbearable for someone like me. Be it goty-votes, hype for certain games or reactions of the media press…it makes me feel disconnected.
When I was in the prime of my gaming life, gaming was about colorful, varied gaming experiences. There were great games from every kind of genre in every kind of visual style. The gaming industry I remember featured a combination of Turok, James Bond, Pokemon, Zelda, V-Rally, Secret of Mana, Resident Evil and so on. When I take a look at the kind of games that were hyped this year and are about to receive their goty-awards, all I see are “cool”, so-called mature, super-linear, cinematic games. You have different settings, but all you do in these games is shoot enemies, all happening in realistic looking visuals. Basically, the emphasis seems to stray away from gameplay farther and farther. Gameplay doesn´t matter anymore. A game has to look great, have a “cool” story and characters that give off snarky comments all the time. But it totally doesn´t matter if the gameplay is on the level of some kind of mini game. I just finished Modern Warfare 2 on its highest difficulty setting, and the game is a joke. Google “Moorhuhnjagd” and you know what Modern Warfare 2 felt like.
A lot of modern, self-proclaimed hardcore-gamers praise games like Modern Warfare 2 for their cinematic approach. They don´t, however, realize that they´re not even playing a game anymore, or at least veer away from what originally was a game at full speed.
If you followed this blog you´d know that I have this vision of a complex, big open-world adventure-game. In my vision that game is and will be a Zelda-title. But tonight I thought about which titles on the HD-systems actually offer such kind of games. You know, these HD-systems for the so hardcore gamers, these mature people. And when I finished thinking I got my answer: None. Neither Bioshock, Assasins Creed, Uncharted 2, Killzone, Halo, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 5 or GTA4 are such games. They´re all super linear games, some offering more, some less optional stuff that, in the end, doesn´t matter anyway. To make this clear: THERE IS NO BIG ACTION-ADVENTURE GAME ON THE HD-SYSTEMS!
It may be just me, but there was a time when action-adventures, my favorite genre for many obvious reasons, was the most popular and saw a lot of entries. It wasn´t just Zelda, but games like Eternal Darkness, Starfox Adventures, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, Beyond Good and Evil, and many others. None of these games lived through its visuals or its story. These games were great because of their atmosphere and the highly interactive gameplay. How great it felt in Eternal Darkness being able to cut aim at whatever part of the enemy´s body. How great it was to fly to whatever planet you liked to in Starfox Adventures. Not to mention all the possibilities in past Zelda-games. This kind of video game has vanished. The death of interactive video games is accompanied by the jubilation of blinded gamers.
And that may be the reason why I feel so lost in this time of the history of video games. It is no longer the game that counts, it´s the wrapping that decides over success. And unlike many other times, it´s not just some magazine, professional´s website or publisher that´s at fault. It´s the so-called gamer himself that welcomes this new age of video gaming. In a world where a game like Bayonetta is hyped and gets perfect scores, I just don´t know what to think anymore. If you disagree with me about all that, then it´s maybe for the best if you never read any of my reviews for FlyingFisch. In the world of video games, it is the gamers´ biggest sin that they ignored WiiSports Resort. And while the masses rejoice over linear, movie-like experiences, I wait for Zelda Wii, and only Zelda Wii. Because no other game even tries to go for the golden nugget called “interactivity” anymore.