Games for All !! by Ryan “The Unevenflow”
In an industry which has been almost as bereft of ideas as hollywood, the past few months have made for some pretty interesting gaming. Even the future looks to be a little brighter for many of us.
And what happened to do this ? Well, even I’m not so sure. For some time gaming has been moving towards the big blockbuster games – games with budgets in the millions and unable to really take chances. It seemed like everything would be something along the lines of a first person shooter, with few changes made from the previous versions so as not to alienate the series’ fans.
The past few months though, things have been shifting drastically. Part of this is because of indie developers: people who don’t worry about appealing to EVERYONE, just to the audience for the game they want to build. My favourite example lately has been FTL: Faster Than Light. FTL is the game I’d been dreaming of since I first saw an episode of Star Trek – the chance to be the captain of a ship and telling your crew what to do in various situations. Mark of the Ninja is another – a game which feels almost like a 2-d version of Thief.
Even some of the larger companies are starting to pull back away from what they think will be popular and just releasing what they think might be fun. Xcom (while being a reboot, not a new idea) is a release from a major company which is in a genre (turn-based strategy) which the major developers have been avoiding now for years.
I’ve always had a rule for podcasting which I think applies really well to gaming: When you try to appeal to everyone, you’re actually appealing to no one. I like the idea that the industry is beginning to move back towards just making fun games for the people who will enjoy them, not just making games that they figure will sell to everyone. Xcom, FTL and Mark of the Ninja may not be for every gamer, but certainly the people who pick them up because they’re something along the lines of what that person likes to play will appreciate them.
Which is one of the reasons I could not be happier to see Chris Roberts not only return to gaming, but try and restore the long dead genre of space sims. As one of the biggest Wing Commander fans around (and X-com for that matter… Suck it Spoony !) I cannot wait to see what this man can do with today’s technology.
And for me, that is what gaming was meant to be – creators taking chances and creating the games THEY want to play. Not what a company THINKS everyone will want to play.
PS. Xcom, FTL, Retro City Rampage and Dishonored reviews forthcoming when I come down from my nostalgic high this week.