Friday, November 08, 2013

Next Gen - Thoughts

So it's that time again, after some 7 years of no new consoles (except the Wii U) the 'next gen' is nearly upon us. In one week the trumpets will sound ushering in a new age of tech with a new age of games. Parades with circus animals will roam the streets, jets will fly overhead, fireworks will go off, bunnies will have sex....well bunnies always have sex....It will be a time of jubilation for us gamers, that's what I'm getting at.

Or is it??

Now don't get me wrong, I am intrinsically hyped for the new consoles as is my techie nature, but something about this new generation of consoles leaves me with reserved feelings. Each new generation has offered a promise of better games for some obvious tangible reason or another. Let's break that down for a moment.


The NES gave us prospects of gaming where we could identify characters, there was obvious level progression, boss encounters, and a general beginning and ending to games unlike previously with Atari games which were all high score based.

The SNES / Genesis promised us what all consoles will do from here on, which is better graphics. It advanced gameplay further by mastering the side scrolling adventure so they weren't mostly shitty expierences but instead and understood medium by now and developers made good ones generally. We also got a glimpse into 3D gaming, and 3D modeling for some games.

The N64 / Playstation reigned in the very awkward transition into 3D gaming. One could argue whether the graphics were "better" here though as the 3D polygons were so early, and so terrible, that during this early period gamers were crying out for those well drawn 2D games they came to love in the previous generation. But time passed and the devs got better at it and the games started to look pretty great. Never the less, this gen will be defined as one that brought us 3D worlds for the very first time.

The Gamecube / PS2 / Xbox will be known as the era that got 3D gaming right and nearly perfected. No longer were gamers subjected to mostly empty, often overly large 3D worlds. Things became more inhabited, realistic, and overall more fun as the gameplay got fine tuned. This generation also ushered in the beginnings of online gameplay, we got a taste of the future here.

The Wii / PS3 / XBox 360 era is easily defined as the online console era. Gamers were no longer restricted to one TV anymore to play with other people. Games were designed with online experiences in mind, and most gamers were expected to have access to them. Multiplayer overshadowed single player experiences in many cases. This gen will also be defined as one of trying to bait a casual market of gamers with mostly unsuccessful results minus the Wii. Now at the end of their rope, we can pretty much call it a short term success seeing as none of them transitioned to the Wii U if sales are any indication.


But here we come to this new generation of games, what will it be known for? What will it do that previous generations could not? Sure, we'll get better graphics again as we always do, but what else? Is there anything else? I can identify a few things this gen might offer, but none of them are as wholly groundbreaking as 3D gaming was, or the online era.

1. Indie games. All 3 new console makers have stretched out their hand to indie devs. No longer will the process be super restrictive like it was in the past. Indie devs can make games and not go through very much red tape to get their games on the new consoles. We'll either see an influx of creativity from this, or a lot of trash.

2. Second screens. Again this is another sort of 'meh' improvement of new consoles, IF they even bother taking advantage of it. The Wii U clearly has this figured out providing all gamers with a second screen for various uses making some games a lot more enjoyable not having to pause for menus anymore. The system also is selling worse than any Nintendo system previously and isn't garnering support to showcase its second screen. PS4 will allow gamers to use the Vita as a second screen, and Xbox One is letting gamers use the Microsoft iPad (wtf is it called?) as a second screen. Will any of this amount to anything? I doubt it personally, but it's there and I can see it actually improving gameplay if utilized.

3. Social media. For someone like me still getting his feet wet in streaming games and recording shit for youtube, this new addition is sort of a godsend. Both the PS4 and Xbox One will allow gamers to stream and upload gameplay to youtube and Twitch TV. How well this will work is still questionable though. Will we be able to do webcams, have separate audio, can we green screen ourselves out, etc? If the utility of this is mitigated in most ways, prominent streamers will continue to use capture cards and their PC setups to make sure they are still making quality streams. So again, this is interesting but will gamers even use it much?

That about sums it up for what I feel these new consoles can really offer. Oh sure, Microsoft will tout it's "cloud" until it literally becomes a flying nimbus in their own minds...

What I'm saying's not gonna do much of anything worthwhile. The cloud isn't going to revolutionize the way developers make their game worlds, and it isn't going to streamline any online gameplay either. What it will do is serve as a talking point of marketing and those in the console war debate much like Sony's PS3 CELL processor we all thought would change gaming like Robo Cop changed crime...except...

...Yeah didn't really do anything for them did it...

Maybe it's because I've been a part of the PC master gaming race for the last 3 years and a lot of these so called "advancements" consoles are getting are just something I've already had on PC. The graphics are a downgrade vs my computer, live streaming is already here and I have more options to choose from, indie games have been a staple of the Steam community since its inception, and second screens are...well...multiple monitors.

So what it really comes down to this gen is the games. We have to see a deluge of good games that need to stand out from the crowd...but so far the games I see devs focusing on ONCE again are First Person shooters. Destiny, Titanfall, Halo, COD, Battlefield...will it NEVER end with these things? Now we're getting "new IP's" with MORE FPS games? There will be some devs that will take chances as there always are, I just with more of them would lest gaming become some pseudo virtual paintball hub.

Son of a bitch!!


** please be aware the views and comments given by "*" are not consistent with the views given by "**" or this blog. The new consoles offer nothing new and suck donkey dick...good day **

* Screw you **! You and your logic! GAMES Muthafuckkaa!!*

** I will not lower myself to this petty argument...I have standards **

*Here's your standards*

** touche' **

*Damn right Frenchie!*


UncleKrakken said...

I think a big part of the somewhat "meh" feeling towards the next-I'm sorry, now the new current-generation of consoles is that as your quick rundown helps illustrate, the PS4 and the One amount to little more than an incremental upgrade to what we already have. I wasn't able to be a Wii U early adopter-I suppose I could have, but financially it would have been an irresponsible thing to do-and last month, when I looked at picking up any of the 3, that's where my money went. Of course I'll still end up with the other two, maybe one of them within the next couple months.

But besides the fact that I have plenty of 360 and PS3 titles to catch up on, with just a few games purchased I already feel like I made the right call. Two as-usual-highly-polished Mario titles (3 if you count the Luigi expansion), an HD update of the best (in my opinion) Zelda game, the director's cut of Deus Ex (a game I have already played, but the improvements and playing it a different way make a big difference), the DC-infused Scribblenauts Unmasked, whatever the fuck The Wonderful 101 there's still games I want to pick up, and some upcoming sure to be great titles. Obviously I want the library to improve, and there's a chance that in the end the Wii U will have the subpar library of the 3, but right now, I'm way more into this system and its little touchscreen than "oh look, THIS Assassin's Creed IV looks a little prettier."

Acefondu said...

Yeah I am thrilled with the Wii-U currently, the new Mario blows away anything the other two consoles have currently. Plus new Donkey Kong in February, Bayonetta 2 coming soon, and the sequel to Xenoblade I foresee much Wii-Uing in my future.