Games are in a constant state of flux, and I love it
The video game industry changes a lot, and it is always looking to the future. It’s that time of year again where we’re excited to see all the new trailers, and we think about the future not in terms of days or weeks or even months, but years. With each new title that comes out, we can’t wait to see how the graphics, gameplay, story, art and music will push the games even further, showing us something the medium has never done before. . The constant demand for new consoles has become even more important with the scarcity of new ninth generation hardware.
There’s a constant force pushing us forward, and while it’s exciting, my sentimental side wants to slow down and smell the roses a bit. I get a boost just watching a side by side of video game graphics from nearly thirty years ago to today. That’s probably why I’ve been playing so many cozy community simulators lately.
The future of video games is impermanent
This sentimental mentality makes me think about how transient and impermanent games can be. I’ve compared video games to live theater before, because live performance is the closest cousin we have to games. There are many reasons for this, but the one I want to delve into here is how, like every performance of a play, musical, show, etc. will be unique to one another, no two parts of a game will be exactly the same.
In the same way that different actors who take on famous roles like Hamlet will voice the same character in ways only they could, different players can slightly alter the most linear game stories depending on how they like to play.
Act in our own game
A classic example of this is a stealth game’s pacifist versus genocide race, which can lead to a “good” or “bad” ending in some cases. While the majority of who a character is can be set in stone, players still have the ability to alter how they interpret that story through gameplay. Is your character a ruthless killer who launches into blazing guns? Or are they determined to remain as peaceful as possible, instead choosing to sneak past all enemies? Are they trying to avoid deathblows to the best of their abilities, only to make a mistake and cause the character to make wrong choices?
Not only does the player act out a character’s story in their own interpretation, but their “performance” is finished and finished with the same finality as the curtains that fall at the end of a play. The even cooler thing about games is that you can do this an infinite number of times just by restarting a checkpoint if you want. Unless you have the perfect setting, even the most choreographed speedrun routes will never be the same. Things can only get more interesting from here too, with the future of video games looking towards improved AI and procedurally generated content.
A race against time
Of course, there is also a downside to this – the fact that we are losing hundreds of games in history to progressive hardware degradation. Old games and consoles are literally rotting away, and the thought makes me incredibly sad. Books are able to survive for thousands of years because all you have to do is open one and boom, you get the whole experience.
It seems that the more complicated our media becomes, the more difficult it is to ensure that it stays there permanently. The film industry is also tackling this problem through rotting film reelsand games are hot on its heels as important pieces of early games history are lost to poor storage conditions and rotten plastic.
Fans on the internet have done a really good job of archiving online game content with ROMs, but sometimes you can feel like you’re missing out on the full experience by not playing a game as originally intended. . Also, the legality is always a bit uncertain – companies like nintendo are known to plunder ROM sites.
It takes a lot of different forms, but there really is something about games that makes them constantly change and evolve, for better and for worse. Although we risk losing some truly amazing works of art (something archivists are getting better in the fight), there is truly something invigorating about the way this industry continues to move forward all the time. Sometimes I find it exhausting, but the optimism of always hoping for something exciting around the corner is a reason to love games that I keep coming back to. Personally, I think the future of video games looks bright.