The Mayans were right after all! No more Nintendo! Arrivederci Atlus! Bye-bye BioWare! And the end EA! The arrival of the iPhone and the Android OS have cast their destructive judgment! Just look at what so many video game news websites are saying!
Evening ladies and gentlemen, the Inverseman here again and tonight he is ready to rant. From large gaming news sites to popular opinions, there seems to be this claim of the “death of the video game console” and the “death of the handheld” forthcoming our generation. The stories range from “impending doom for dedicated gaming devices” to doom for “all of video games”. While the onset of combined technology is great, I would vouch that video games have a long way to go before they get assimilated or destroyed. Three good reasons come to mind.
1. Fine dining versus fast food
Imagine this. You’re hungry but your lunch break is only half an hour before you have to go back to work. You are pressed for time, whip out five bucks, and wind up settling for McDonalds. Not the best choic, but hey, it’s quick and cheap. Now you’re visiting your family for the holidays, and you have spent the past hour or so preparing a fresh broth, which accompanies a steamed fish, vegetables in oyster sauce, fried rice, and roast chicken. All made day-of. This isn’t take-out my friend. What people seem to forget is that gaming, and entertainment at large, can be much the same as food.
Yes, pulling out a phone for Tetris on the train is great for those less than ten minutes, but could you enjoy an iota of the Mass Effect series in three subway stops?
Would today’s phone be able to do the game justice in graphics and sound?
Could one even focus when the subway cars screech against the rails?
While on the topic of a refined experience, what about the competitive gamer?
The RPG fan won’t settle for seeing Tales of Xillia sans HD glory, so what about the tournament frequenter? Well, I wouldn’t imagine trading in my Hori Real Arcade Pro for an awkward touch screen, and shooter fans would cringe if they were forbidden from their mice or 360 pads. Even a “casual” fan will need their tightness and type of control to experience their games; a touchscreen isn’t a Wiimote or Kinect. Even the handheld console has its merits with the uniqueness of their designs and still being able to give experiences above Angry Birds. Sometimes, regardless of what kind of gamer you are, you need a real sit-down game, and the console delivers that experience. Perhaps if the mobile phone catches up in presentation and control, it would branch to beyond the amusing and addictive “fast food game”, but then to what heights would the console transform into?
2. Games are immortal
I’ll say this now; video games cannot die unless electronics themselves die from some uh… Computer apocalypse or something. Since early times, people have found ways to entertain each other using whatever technology was available. A stick, a ball, and an open field, and bang! Baseball is born. The tools of divination our ancestors used for serious business, cards, gave birth to poker, blackjack, and go fish. As we amass technological advances, we come up with more ways to have fun and interact with each other. Even if the industry of video games gets devoured into our TVs and phones, they won’t die out there. We’ll still want to enjoy ourselves in an interactive manner on an electronic visual device, hence, a video game.
3. Not going down without a fight
And last, but not least, there’s the marvel of PC gaming to deliver rich, full-bodied experiences and quick and easy ones all on the same machine you do your work on (when you’re not procrastinating with aforementioned games). As for consoles, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have novel ways of keeping the masses in the game. Sony’s PS Vita has the familiarity of the phone with it’s aesthetics and superb specs, but don’t be fooled, you can’t play titles like Gravity Daze in their full glory on anything other than this touchscreen equipped mini-PS3. Nintendo has a more crafty approach in the form of the social aspect of gaming. Simply having your 3DS asleep in your pocket will pick up Streetpasses with any other owner. But of course, you’re not going to wait until you get home to check your notifications; you’ll break out your 3DS right there, and that’s the key: getting out your 3DS instead of your phone. From there you’re consciously using it on a regular basis, and moreover, the Streetpass is an excellent ice-breaker to get people talking about games, making gaming part of daily life.
“You’re playing Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor: Overclocked? What’s that?”
“Allow me to fill you in, miss.”
“Oh my gosh, it’s soooo good!”
Microsoft can always capitalize on their integration between the 360 and Windows-running PCs. As for consoles, like I mentioned before, with our current technology, the experience cannot be bound to a phone. From unique controllers to multiplayer support like Live, unless the very near future lets us freeze space-time to have the waggle-room for our limbs, the peace to effectively shout into our headsets, and the breathing room to plot out how to clear the next floor of a dungeon anytime anywhere, the home console still has a place.
And that’s my piece on the “state of video games”. Sure, tomorrow’s technology could fully integrate all kinds of gaming experiences into one uber phone-communication device, but even then, video games as we know them today can still live on. Books still live despite PCs, TVs, radios, and the Kindle. And board games and TCGs still rake in cash despite the existence of video games themselves. So I’ll say this, “long live gaming!” Join me next time when I show you how to pull Siri out of your iPhone 4S as a moe gijinka girl.
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