Editorial: Nothing Is New Under The Sun… Or The Monitor

A common feature of video game developers is that they are greedy and do things that they should not. Occasionally, this is the brutal and savage despoiling of classic works of literature. Other times it is an affront to humanity, sanity and good taste.

However, sometimes the naked greed and opportunism takes on a different shade… a shade of blue.

A discerning reader might ask, “Why not an Avatar MMO? Avatar was a very popular movie that redefined the term spectacle. The first thought of many upon seeing a world of floating rocks, aerial waterfalls, and strange beasts was that they would like to liv…

Oh, fuck it. They thought it was Thor-damned Nagrand, and started looking for Hemet Bloody Nesingwary.

Nagrand:  Home of Orcs, Ogres, and A Weird Crystal Ship
If only there was some indigenous blue-skinned race tha... holy shit! James Cameron ripped of "World of Warcraft!"

There is a persistent problem with unoriginality in games. Occasionally, riffs on the familiar come out awesome (see the review of Torchlight posted on this blog a few weeks back), but most of the time, they feel crass and unwelcome, like the cold touch of a doctor’s stethoscope against one’s nethers.

What?

Looking back at some of the best games of the last twelve months, more than a few have been sequels: Mass Effect 2, God of War III, etc. A few have been pretty repackaging of common stories, such as Dragon Age…. which in a way was just a fancy graphics update of Baldur’s Gate!

Have we reached the point where innovation in games is not possible until some technological revolution comes along that changes the basic, organic rules from which games can be drawn? Or have I just missed the really cool stuff because I am still attempting to “Get Lich or Die Tryin’?”*

*PS: We have been working on the Lich King for freakin’ weeks at this point. WHY WON’T HE DIE?**

**PPS: Yes, Lusipurr, I know that is a contraction. You can sue me. No, literally. You can. I will win, but you could. And that is what is important.

0 comments

  1. I’m afraid of what the pus-spewing answer might be, but in the interest of science, I have to ask: what kind of fucked up medical problem are you having that involves the stethoscope going on your nether regions? I know I’m not the best student, but I don’t recall hearing about lungs-in-balls disease.

  2. You mean there was no reason for Dr. Wong to… but the whole exam! She said I had a case of breathless genitalia and needed to palpitate the region to find the air sacs! Oh god. What is this… I don’t even… Oh, no. UNCLEAN!!!

  3. On a more serious-like note … good post. I still think that there is room for innovation and “newness”. It’s just, well, a bit harder since so many things have been tried, and it’s riskier for the devs. This is true for all forms of media and entertainment. If you can do something new, innovative and awesome, it’s fan-frakkin’-tastic. But more often than not, it is NOZT awesome, and you lose loads of money.

  4. To give an example of Ginia’s point: Katamari Damacy. Seriously, how could you predict that rolling shit into a ball would be a smash hit? Or Little Big Planet, or Spore. Any of these that could be considered innovative could easily have fallen flat on their face, but for whatever reason, they did not.

    I also love that we’re all talking to each other and none of our readers give a damn.

  5. @ Lusipurr: you have not yet begun to plumb the depths of depravity that are my squamous and batrachian appendages. Just let me say, when Cthulhu returns, it won’t be to devour it me. It’ll be to say, “Hello, son.”

    @ Gin/Jen: I guess I just have moral objections to the ol’ “I’m not going to take a risk, so I’m going to make a safe cash cow of a game!” I mean, an Avatar MMO will not be popular. It will get an initial cash outpouring as people try it based on connections to the movie, but once they realize it’s another WoW/EQ clone they’ll go back to playing WoW or whatever other substandard MMOs are around these days. So it’ll make a lot of cash initially and then tank. Therefore, the developers have one way to make money: rush a hack job to market, get the initial cash, and then GTFO. I suppose I think publishers ought to support good devs by giving them a reasonable amount of funding and not forcing them to rush stuff out the door.