Thursday, 30 October 2008

From Pong to Pacman continued...

This lovely chunk of text will look at the present games 'history' and how the needs and desires to create hyper-realism is affecting the games industry.

The most significant change in the games industry is the technology available. In the 80s we were playing text-based adventures on 16bit colour screens, or getting to grips with joysticks and game pads. However, today, we have consoles that experiment with realistic graphics, we have wireless controllers that offer a different interactive experience and we even have devices that fit into our pockets.

The industry has also changed economically, there are thousands of games, covering a wide range of genres that appeal to teenagers' disposable income. Games are also used as advertisement and teasers, with many movie-based games released before the film itself.

The amount of time and money invested in producing games has also dramatically changed. Back in the days of Pong and Pacman, a single programmer could easily make a game in a matter of months on what seems a feeble budget.

Nowadays, game production teams consist of hundreds of people, costing millions of pounds as they try to achieve realistic movement and textures.

In my opinion, I feel that computer games are at a point where the graphics and engines aren't going to be dramatically improved. I feel that games will head in the direction of the Nintendo Wii, where a different interactive approach to games will offer us a different experience such as virtual environments and mind control.

And now for my personal installment yet again.

For many years my family was happily content playing on the PC,with games such as the Sims and Age of Empires we would argue for hours over who's turn it was.

However, we never had any more consoles. I used to play on my friends PS1 but we never had anything like that ourselves...until, that is, my parents suddenly decided they would come home with a PS2 one day. I treated that machine as if it were my child. The first game I played on it was 'Jak and Daxter' and I remember thinking it was the best thing I'd ever seen. I play it now (though still an all time awesome game) I feel myself reaching for the ps3 controller instead as I have lost the ability to appreciate games that don't have mind blowing graphics.

And now for the bit in which every game artist will want to hit me for. I think the future of games lies in the experience and not the graphics. Yes I know I have a PS3 on a huge HDTV and yes I know it is awesome but I'd much rather have a laugh on the Wii or Guitar Hero as I prefer interactive games that keep me interested for hours, rather than just pressing the A button every now and then.

I just feel that some games brought out now focus more on the graphics than the actual game play and that is what lead to the crash in the games industry in the first place!

Watch this space...

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