Why Today’s Video Games Suck

For those of you that follow my Twitter feed, you’ve already gotten some of this…

Today’s video games suck. Not all of them. There’s always exceptions. And I’ll be talking about those as well. But let’s talk about the suck first.

As we look around the video game landscape, we are bombarded by new games, sometimes as often as every week. They all tout amazing gameplay and photo-realistic graphics. But when I get into the game…it sucks. It’s the same game I played last year.

You know the one. The one where I get to run around, first person, and shoot stuff with a variety of creative weapons. To kill something, I just need to have enough ammo. As long as keep shooting, I’ll keep advancing.

Or maybe that racing game. The one where I get to customize my car to no end, and then get to drive it around famous cities. All the while not taking nearly the damage that a guard rail at 250 MPH should provide.

Or the sports game. Be it baseball, football, soccer, golf, hockey, you name it. I get to pick my team to represent, and manage it just like the guy that does it in real life. I can make trades, set the cost of merchandise, etc. Oh yeah, and I get to simulate the games as well. I get to control the batter, or the quarterback, or the left wing. And I get to run and run and run. This game has been made every year, with a new name (and “NEW” features). BTW, making my character look more like me is not enough to get me to spend $50 again.

Finally, there’s the fighting game. You know the one. You choose one of 20 characters, and then spend the rest of the game fighting the other 19. Or your buddy, who doesn’t know the UP-DOWN-LEFT-RIGHT combo moves to destroy you.

Yes, these games get more visually appealing. I’ll agree with that. And they do add more features. But at the end of the day, it’s still the same game. Where are the new ideas?

The first new idea I’ve seen comes from one of the most storied game franchises in existence. Super Mario Galaxy. They took a great story and made it better. It’s got innovative storylines. It’s got innovative gameplay. (The inherent innovation of the Wii notwithstanding.) It is, by far, the best game I’ve played in a few years. Mario64 gave us one of the first 3D worlds. Running around spherical planets the size of a large house is a completely different experience. Now try jumping from one to the other…because they’ve each got their own gravities. Absolutely a step in the right direction for an already great line of games.

The second new idea out there is the Guitar Hero/Rockband concept. Who thought pretending to play a guitar could be so much fun? Never before has there been a game that was the POINT of everyone coming over to your house. (No, I’m not talking about your Halo LAN parties.) I’m talking about mixed company (yes, that means girls) coming over to your house to hang out. To have a few drinks. To socialize. And to wait in line to play a video game. Oh yeah, and the game provides the party’s soundtrack. Now, perhaps this happened in high school. But having your buddy and your respective girlfriends over to watch you and him play Tecmo Bowl does not count. I had 10 people over 30 in my house recently to play this game. That, my friends, is a first.

My third thought on an amazing new idea in console video games is the “training” game. Whether this be training for your body, mind, or even your eyes, these games are really taking on something new. Games like Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, and Wii Sports have really ignored the need for stunning graphics and instead focused on a game/trainer that actually claims to help you get in shape, make quick decisions, or even improve your peripheral vision. I’m in no way saying that their claims are accurate, but at the very least, I’m getting better at playing their games.

So let’s talk ideas. What do you want to see the next great game become? Personally, I’d like to see a new game that incorporates some truly FUN gameplay. Take a look around at the “casual” gaming market. Sites like popcap.com or kongregate.com. Let’s take some of the great ideas from these games, smack your “amazing graphics” package on them, and take them to prime time. There are some amazing games on these sites, and it seems only soccer moms are the ones appreciating them.

11 thoughts on “Why Today’s Video Games Suck

  1. games suck today because everybody are only worried about visuals and not actual story and gameplay. and yet rpgs which doesn't have you button mashing or dodging like crazy are becoming more mediocre in visuals. (of course the graphics are good today) but im talking about effects. characters should have endless moves. or at least a lot of visually appealing ones. I wanna destroy ff12 creators. x blades just came out.Bad graphics….same gameplay as a mix of devil may cry, and….I dont know something else, and wack story. what the hell happened there? O_o and then there like," yeaaa um….60$" im like f#&K you!! >_<

  2. Games today do suck. My fiance and I found this website because we were trying to find a decent game to buy.I wondered, “Whatever happened to games like Mario?”I want to go on actual adventures and discover cool tricks about the game instead of being entertained by a bunch of glamorous graphics. Swimming to collect coins, finding hidden doors, walking around castles, and completing difficult levels was fun. Now, unfortunately, we are stuck with watching pretty graphics like a two year old sitting in front of a cartoon. Everytime I spend $60 I’m paying for very bad camera angles which hinders my playing ability.I don’t mind guitar hero and rock band because that actually takes some skill to do. Not every person will see a color dot in a particular order and know to move a certain finger on the hand and strum at the same time. Plus, it’s fun to watch someone who hasn’t played it before try. But, other than that, new games are just about war or having cool weapons and characters. After learning the buttons it’s just endless killing and it gets boring. Each new game is the same no matter the story, cool graphics, weapons, and bad guys- where are the unique aspects that sets it apart? They should really create some games that will be memorable. Some people might say that mario sucks, but then again it’s a game everyone of us remembers. We played it everyday after school and all summer and it rocked. I want that again. Someone please make something like that again.

  3. Insaniquarium FTW!

  4. Couldn’t agree with you more. The old classics are still classic because chomping dots and power ups was unique. Jumping a frog across a road and alligator heads was unique. And even with the plethora of Space Invaders/Galaga type games, they each held your interest for a while because the game play was straight forward and addictive.Today…I’m not a huge fan beyond sports games. (I’m a sports fan, it’s natural for me.) I played Doom for weeks on end, so other than the technology advances, what’s the difference between it and Gears of War? I do enjoy Guitar Hero, and I blame you for that.What I really want to see is more games take a Wii Sports approach to the Wii controller. At the top of that list, I want to see EA release NHL ’09 where you use the Wii-mote as a hockey stick. Snap a wrister off, make passes, load up a slap shot…play goalie by using the nunchuck as your glove. So many possibilities for games with the Wii-mote…

  5. I gave Guitar Hero to my son home from college as a Christmas gift. We had friends and family over for dinner that night and his piano teacher, an opera singer, was bobbing her head as she tried to hit the right chords. Of course I got a video of it!

  6. If you want a good story, rent a movie or read a book. Video games shouldn’t be about stories. The Wii is the only good video game console left, everything is re-hash. It’s all been done before.Who seriously has the time to play a game that has all these pointless intricacies? Get a life. I play a game for entertainment for maybe an hour max, anything more is obsessive and likely unhealthy. I can understand children who do this because they have nothing better to do, but adults? You should know better.If you digital appearance is more important than your actual appearance, you are anti-social. There’s no two ways about it. Providing open environments that take hours to explore doesn’t make a game better, it makes it more boring. Just get to the point already.As an example, I just rented Fallout 3. The first part of the game you are crawling around as baby looking for things to pick up for no reason. If Doom did that I would have screamed. They put things in games now just to keep you busy and it’s terrible. WHO HAS THE TIME?

  7. Sounds like you like the Wii a little too much there buddy…..And you talk about redundant but you fail to mention all the horrible Mario Party and Mario sports games…..You almost had me but then you messed up by talking about Mario Galaxy and different gravities which is just a rip off of Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World with the different worlds.

  8. In the same mode as Guitar hero are the Dance Dance Revolution games, which I really enjoy.Totally agree about the sports games – the 2 I have are ones that I bought used the year after they were purchased for like 10 bucks, because what’s the difference between Madden 06 and Madden 07 or 08 or 09?

  9. Pingback: Letting go of Gaming | Danny's Dreams

  10. That’s exactly why I retired from modern games and switched back to retro games!
    I got sick of playing the same games over and over, and got sick of the whole graphics over gameplay attitude game developers have these days! Not to mention that modern consoles break easily and you can’t even play multiplayer without online connectivity in most games! Call me old school, but I prefer playing video games with friends on the same freakin’ console in the same freakin’ room!

  11. This post has inspired me to do games like before.
    That required skill.
    That were fun
    That were not only about killing.
    So i will grab gamemaker, unity , etc to demonstrate that today games doesnt suck
    For now you will now me as DiamondHand….

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