The Null Device

Game and puzzle designer Bob Abbott on why video games have become incredibly stupid; mainly due to advances in technology, the fallacy that graphic realism makes for a good game and/or the Big Yellow Shorts factor:
Not only are they incredibly stupid, they arent even game designers. They are computer programmers and graphic artists. Video game companies cant even comprehend the concept of a game inventor. To them, a game or a puzzle is of no consequence.
I think the main reason for the failure of the new video games is simply this switch from the top-down view to the 3-D view. The top-down view just gives you more information. You see where all the monsters are, you see what is travelling into your area, you see where the barriers are, and you can plan ahead. In the 3-D view, you only see what is directly ahead of you. And about all youre given to do is shoot at what you see.

Damn right. IMHO, some of the most interesting computer games were developed on ancient 8-bit computers and the like back in the distant past before the invention of the first-person shooter genre, and the confinement of the market to the carefully researched demographic of overweight teenage boys with 15-second attention spans. (via Plastic)

There are 10 comments on "":

Posted by: Graham Thu Feb 28 12:08:32 2002

Well, if we're talking about First Person Shooters, yes. Basically most of them are tired derivatives of Wolf3D/Doom. Though a lot of top-down RTS's are pretty samey as well.

Posted by: acb Thu Feb 28 12:44:11 2002

Though from top-down, you'd have to be a bit of a wally to get sucked into a first-person shooter, at least enough to pay $89.95 for it. Can you imagine packs of teenage mooks in BYSs sinking cans of Red Bull and playing Commando or Xevious or something?

Posted by: kenny http:// Thu Feb 28 15:55:21 2002

yeah, give me ancient art of war or herzog zwei any day!

Posted by: memphet http:// Thu Feb 28 17:41:11 2002

I remember that game Pirates. Boy that game kicked ass. I used to sail the 7 seas and plunder shit and take over fortresses... <happy sigh>

Posted by: Sinistar http:// Thu Feb 28 19:10:01 2002

Oh boo hoo. "Video games suck now that the 3D tech is too good." "Movies suck now that they use this high-tech thing called 'color'." "Books suck because people can use word processors that make it too easy for them to correct mistakes, unlike a typewriter where they have to put more thought into them ahead of time." "All manufactured products suck because they're made by machines instead of being handmade with care." Whine whine whine. Back to the cave for you. "But I can't go back to the cave because technology has made modern life so easy that no one including me knows how to survive in a cave anymore! Waaah!" Yeah yeah.

Posted by: Jimbob Fri Mar 1 01:04:59 2002

It's so right; although the factor of age / free time should be functioned in, I spent months upon months struggling with games like "StarQuake", "Gauntlet" and "Jet Set Willy" on my Amstrad when I was younger, but I'm bored shitless with most modern games (even vaguely original ones like Black and White) after a couple of hours. Hence, I quite rightfully refuse to actually pay for the damn things.

Posted by: memphet http:// Fri Mar 1 02:32:32 2002

Man fuck a black and white. That's the gayest fucking game I ever played. The only thing that's cool about that game is beating the shit out of your creature, and throwing people around and killing them. And throwing rocks at your creature. And teaching him to eat the villagers. But other than that...fuck it. As a matter of fact I can't remember the last new game I played that I liked alot. I hope neverwinter nights is cool. !

Posted by: acb Fri Mar 1 02:47:21 2002

Of course, not all modern games suck. (I found Civilization quite addictive, though the stupidity of the AI starts to grate after a while.) Though the market is rather saturated with mindless fighting/shooting games which don't involve any thought or puzzle-solving but only work out one's reflexes.

Posted by: Graham http:// Fri Mar 1 08:11:09 2002

I fucked up uni the first time because of Civ and designing Doom levels (which was more fun than actually playing Doom. Heh.)

Posted by: Johnny Cage Fri Oct 3 02:44:59 2008

The PC had some good games too. Gnome, Star Trek games, Need for speed till Porsche Unleashed, Madden games. But for some reason games started to not be good after about 2000. In general it's because every game has women characters in it. What's with this? It's not a question of equality, simply a matter of practicality to not have women characters in every single game. It's stupid. Also most of the newer games after 2000 have just explosions and more explosions as the key to their element. One exception is the Hidden And Dangerous series. These 2 games in the series are great games and 2 of the best I ever played, along with Need for speed high stakes and Need for speed porsche unleashed!!!

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