Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dumbing down

I just stumbled upon a blog post I wrote 5 years ago, at 3 in the morning, bemoaning the state of computer games. I'm reprinting it here because it made me realize that the situation has gotten significantly better in 2009, with many developers re-learning that gamers might just have a decent IQ.

Dumbing the game down
Posted at Sep 29, 2004 3:04AM PST
Are gamers considered to be a negatively evolving species? Why are we now only given "cinematic experience", or only faster action? Are we supposed to simply regress back to better reflexes? Or become fatter couch potatoes as we see longer and nicer cut-scenes? What happened to long involving storylines? Where's the intelligence factor gone?
Download Ultima V and play it on the emulator of your choice. That was a real game. Something worth playing, where you as a gamer were respected by the developers as an intellectual peer, not just as a wallet or fast fingers.
I am so happy that we have emulators of old systems. Maybe that will teach the next generation of game developers how to write games. The current one seems to have forgotten.

My quick reviews
Posted at Sep 29, 2004 3:18AM PST
Call of Duty: Beautiful cinematics, but scripted to death and ultimately simply a nice very long movie.
Far Cry: Could have been great, they messed it up by including monsters. Developers: We are sick of monsters. Give us real regular people and make the story not need monsters! You can do it, come on.
Deus Ex 2: Too simple, catering to 10-year-olds. There wasn't one challenging piece, even though the story was better than average. The original Deus Ex was targetting older gamers, in my opinion.
Splinter Cell: An exercise in frustration because it's so precise and scripted. It turns into a game of guessing how the developer wants you to move around the dimly lit room.
X2: Good, but its scope is a little too large with not enough differentiation. It has great potential with a few mods.
Sacred: Very pretty hack-and-slash, better than Diablo 2 except that unique items aren't varied enough, and there are still frustrating bugs at version 1.66. Version 1.7 supposedly fixes them. But the storyline is good, and the world is very large.

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