Americans are getting dumber. Sorry to point it out, but your kids are getting a shitty education, being fed brain rotting cartoons and the media treats them like they are too stupid for their own good. Then again as a society, we’ve now become obsessed with reality TV, and celebrity gossip. Sorry, but we are now an idiotic country, who’s ruined our own freedoms, and warped the words of our forefathers to some jacked up version of what it was supposed to be. That being said, much like other media, movies have been dumbed down and soon, it sounds like some want our games to be dumber too.
The first person shooter as a genre of video game, with very few notable exceptions, has become the reality TV of the video game world. It’s like The Expendables, nobody went to see that because of the plot. they went for explosions and Jason Stathams body… wait…
The point is, FPS games are more about the action usually, much like reality TV is about ‘who’s the biggest douche’ or ‘what orange skinned whore drinks more’. However great games like Portal, Half-Life, Bioshock and a few others have great story and characters, then the mass produced cookie cutter games, have forgettable characters, but tons of action. Action alone can’t make a good product, its like relying on a name brand to sell something… like Superman… or Sham-wow. You can dress it up, make it pretty, but its still a glorified cum rag. Even a king of narrative, such as Square-Enix has fallen into this, or did all of you forget about Final Fantasy 13 already?
Back in the Doom era of FPS games, there was a story, but it was explained in the manual or via text screens. Limitations in the engines had to make developers creative in use of story. Then as computers got more powerful they could convey a story through small movies or unfortunately as in the era of live action games… horribly graphic depictions of a woman’s head being ripped in half, or a man with a lobster oven mitt snapping your neck (not joking, look them up) Then games like Half-Life and System Shock came a long, and while the player is a silent protagonist, all the story surrounds them as the camera as well. Gordon Freeman’s struggle to get to the surface is shared by the staff of Black Mesa. The audio logs in system shock share the fate of the crew, right up till Shodan tries to HACK YOUR BRAIN in system shock.
Games now have turned into checkpoint based objectives. Go here, blast this, go here, shoot this. That was fine back in the day, but failing to write a proper story, or basing stuff on the accounts of a seal team and calling it a story is fucking stupid in this day and age. Postal 3 had more plot than some of these big name games, and you spend a chunk cleaning cum rags in a porn shop.
Originally, I was going to do a great piece on Heavy Rain and Quantic Dream’s upcoming title, but this recent trend to dumb down games, it’s just starting to wear me thin. I applaud Valve and Irrational Games for continuing their excellence in storytelling, Hell Left 4 Dead had all of its story told via safe house writings and character interaction. If developers don’t stop dumbing down game stories and treating gamers like idiots, we’re gonna have another ET level catastrophe on our hands in the future.
Now would you kindly go play some real games?
Josh Flaherty is an independent game designer from Minneapolis, MN and owner of Queuethulu Games LLC. He has worked on independent video games since 2003 and is passionate about the art of games, unique stories, and long walks down dark alleys. Visit Josh at his personal blog, http://vonshmoot.blogspot.com/ and also at Queuethulu Games Blog (personal game design blog) http://queuethulu.blogspot.com/. You can follow him on Twitter as well @SWTZMBEJESUS. To contact Josh, email him at email@example.com.