Video games have always been apart of my life. Years ago, I remember I would stay up playing games into the early hours of the morning. I was completely consumed by what games like Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil had to offer. It seemed as if they had a story to tell. A true experience to share with the masses. Along with that, it seemed like they cared about what the audience thought of there work.
As games became more about graphics, I seemed to steer away from the once promising form of storytelling that is the video game. Games seemed to evolve into mutated sub genera's that would demand more time from people to even deiced weather or not they liked it. Game companies were realizing that if they could reproduce a game that was similar to one that was a success, they could cash in with little to no effort for originality. This seemed to make a custom target market that would serve as a security blanket for game sales. But as game development becomes more expensive, I believe there marketing tactics will be forced to change drastically in the near future.
I recently stumbled upon a new indy game made by just a handful of people. Being sold solely on Xbox live network, Braid was only $15. I was very surprised to say the least.
Braid is a direct ode to the Super Mario Brothers era. With sharp controls and mind bending narrative, I believe this is one of the better games iv played in some time. It takes a very direct approach to the classic side scrolling adventure game and adds a few more tools to shake things up. You start with the ability to rewind time. This instantly gives you the option to undo instant deaths without penalty. Other abilities range from a radius based time control bubble to self controlled ghost clones to help solve puzzles.
Right from the start it’s easy to see this game doesn't demand anything from you. You can walk though the whole game without attempting the puzzles, but you will quickly realize that the game is almost entirely about your own motivation to challenge yourself. Great music and great art direction seem to compliment the game amazingly. Game play takes a very bold approach to strategy with some intense mind bending puzzles.
As video gamers start to become older, I can only wonder if the industry is truly taking note of the changing target audience. Instead of directing game play toward adults that are becoming more mature, they change almost for a more graphic nature. More blood will come out of the enemies, women’s chests will become unnaturally big, louder explosions will occur. At my core, I feel entirely misrepresented.
I believe there is hope out there though. People are beginning to realize that casual gaming has potential with a very lucrative market. Innovation has recently become more appealing as platforms like the Nintendo Wii go on the market. Online indy games have just started to gain popularity with support from home counsel networks. Pay attention to the weather people, I have a feeling games as we know it are about to change drastically in the near future.