Brand New Blog: Its Not Just Graphics

Hello and welcome to Its Not Just Graphics. This is a blog that is aimed at trying to highlight some of the classic games that have appeared over the years. Video games are a unique art form (yes, they are an art form, but we can have an argument about that later if you don’t believe me) in that they are evolving at a faster rate than any other sector of entertainment due to the technology that drives them.

Since the inception of the videogame new genres have sprung up in the blink of an eye due to new inventions. More powerful systems meant that text based adventure games like Zork could become fully fleshed hollywood hack and slash RPG’s like Skyrim. The arrival of the internet has not only added the Massively Multiplayer Online to the existing RPG where thousands of people can inhabit the same fantasy realm, but it has also brought forward a lot more competitive games. No longer do you have to find a smokey neon nightmare of an arcade to challenge someone, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

We have also seen console manufacturers offering us new ways to play. Instead of the standard keyboard, mouse and joy pad, it is possible to orchestrate your characters movement on screen by flailing your limbs like a drunken Airport Traffic Conductor. These methods of controls have either brought us games that have been more immersing or ones that just simply wouldn’t have been feasible. There has also been unfortunately the vast amount of mini game cash generators which have been created simply as a way of tapping into Nintendo’s discovery of the ‘family market.’ Because apparently before Nintendo came along with the Wii, where you throw plastic at an expensive tv, games were a waste of time played by weirdos. In fact, before the Wii if you played too many video games it was common knowledge you’d either become a murdering psychopath or one of those overweight creatures you see floating down the high street in their mobility scooters.

The problem with the constant progression of technology though is that every new generation of consoles, operating systems and games, makes the previous generation of games obsolete. It was widely accepted that if you got the latest generation of console you wouldn’t be able to play your old games on it. And why would you want to play your old games anyway? They looked practically like a bunch of cave drawings when you placed them next to the brand new launch titles of the next generation which invariably involved more realistic bouncing breasts from beat em ups such as Dead or Alive, even more realistic lens flare and breasts from Ridge Racer’s Reiko Nagase, and even more realistic bouncing flesh from the latest EA (insert sport here,) titles.

It wasn’t until Sony came up with the idea of backwards compatibility with the Playstation 2 that people started to realise it might be quite nice to keep some of their older games out of the loft and charity shop. The PS3 was branded an ‘epic fail,’ by the virgin keyboard warriors of the geekdom as they vented their fury at Sony’s decision to remove backwards compatibility. Although I now understand Sony’s rather shrewd fiscally driven move, what with their classics ranges of old games given a quick HD makeover before being re-sold to gamers at a premium price. Although who can really blame Sony who are just desperately trying to claw back some of the cash lost to the second hand market. The second hand gaming market may very well be the death of games sold on physical formats. It doesn’t make any sense for developers to splurge millions of pounds on developing something when they are only going to receive payment for it from one of the five people who are going to play it. By forcing us to purchase digital downloads we only own the right to play some code, and don’t have anything tangible that we can trade on. We are being sold the idea, and not the book.

Would I be upset if the entire games industry switched to a download only model? Probably. But I like nice boxes that I can show off to people when they come to visit me because I’m a materialistic arsehole. What might be quite nice about this possible future is that we may see a universal platform, where it doesn’t matter what system you’ve got, you can play any of the games available. Cloud computing is already kickstarting this ideal off. People can buy cheap set top boxes and then pay a cheap monthly subscription to play the latest games in high definition. It doesn’t matter that the box isn’t really very powerful at all, because all of the processing is being done hundreds of miles away in a server room on a super computer. This model of gaming is a lot more inclusive and very interesting, its almost like the HBO of gaming. Video games are by their very nature quite episodic, Alan Wake excelled at mimicking the style of a stylised horror tv show where each level was a new episode. Its not even uncommon for games to be sold in episode form now, whilst the next one is being developed.

But anyway, I digress the whole reason of setting this blog up is to hopefully showcase some of my favourite classics from past and present.

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