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Thread: Dvorak on the Future of Video Gaming

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    Default Dvorak on the Future of Video Gaming

    Our good friend John C. Dvorak has seen fit to turn his attentions from the dumbing down of America and onto that of the future of video gaming.

    Doom 4: End of the Game Industry?


    I usually enjoy Mr. Dvorak's columns, but I feel that he pretty much missed the mark on this one.

    Thoughts?

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    mr dvoraks veiws can be said about ANY form of media today. it isnt just videogames, i bet developers would love to make games with fresh ideas but if the market eats it up like pringles they are gonna make the same crap, same with the music, television, and movie industries. i really dont se how his angle is any different
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    oops, double posted
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbeatmongrel
    mr dvoraks veiws can be said about ANY form of media today. it isnt just videogames, i bet developers would love to make games with fresh ideas but if the market eats it up like pringles they are gonna make the same crap, same with the music, television, and movie industries. i really dont see how his angle is any different
    Very true. And you can also say that you have 2 choices. Piss and moan about the cookie-cutter mass market stuff, or stop worrying about it, and dowhutchalike.


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    It is a very simplistic 'everything goes downhill'- and 'there is nothing new under the sun' - view.

    Instead of rebuttling the 'impressions' which is very easy to do, I would ask one simple Q:

    If basic gameplay stayed the same, same genres, and gamers play the same stuff for 20 years now (leaving out the industry crash, starting with the NES), how in the world did the game industry expand and got more successful? Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that another market crash would have occured for some time now if his assumptions were right?

    Most likely answer: most gamers (mainstream, uh, bad) are bamboozled by impressive new graphics, higher resolution, and hardware specs in general. Then we are in the 'most players are uneducated, simple-minded, and dumb'-attitude. They are probably so simple minded that they spend money for the same stuff over and over and over again - like me, I'm just a little plain dumb guy when I bought Devil May Cry and enjoyed it and didn't realize that it is basically Ninja Gaiden with better graphics of the very old adventure genre.

    There were and are innovations in gameplay, games changed a lot, and to reduce everything to moving around pixels or polygons on the screen from the beginning of videogames is as narrowminded as the average gamer supposedly is.

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    Just read the article.
    The only thing that I might agree with is that I do wonder how long game companies can come out with the same basic game, where people will stop wanting to spend their $50 bucks on the game. I mean it might be 5 years, it might be 50, but how long can a person keep playing the same basic Bond game?
    I use Bond as an example because I am one of the biggest Bond nuts around! I buy ALL the Bond games the DAY of release! And will continue too, but do wonder if nothing ever changes, and people still continue to buy games, not just Bond game either, why will game companies want to make new types of games if its guaranteed to be a seller anyways?

    What I am basically saying in this is that while I personally don't think anything will crash in the video game market ANYTIME soon, I wonder when or if anytime game companies will start feeling the pain of lower game sales because of basically the same types of games, with just different graphics, backgrounds, weapons, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lendelin
    It is a very simplistic 'everything goes downhill'- and 'there is nothing new under the sun' - view.

    Instead of rebuttling the 'impressions' which is very easy to do, I would ask one simple Q:

    If basic gameplay stayed the same, same genres, and gamers play the same stuff for 20 years now (leaving out the industry crash, starting with the NES), how in the world did the game industry expand and got more successful? Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that another market crash would have occured for some time now if his assumptions were right?

    Most likely answer: most gamers (mainstream, uh, bad) are bamboozled by impressive new graphics, higher resolution, and hardware specs in general. Then we are in the 'most players are uneducated, simple-minded, and dumb'-attitude. They are probably so simple minded that they spend money for the same stuff over and over and over again - like me, I'm just a little plain dumb guy when I bought Devil May Cry and enjoyed it and didn't realize that it is basically Ninja Gaiden with better graphics of the very old adventure genre.

    There were and are innovations in gameplay, games changed a lot, and to reduce everything to moving around pixels or polygons on the screen from the beginning of videogames is as narrowminded as the average gamer supposedly is.
    Thing with Dvorak is he's one to spout stuff off to help attract attention to the magazine. From what I've heard he's no gamer so I take his viewpoints with a grain of salt.

    Before writing his piece he should have opened the lens a bit to see the larger picture of history: genre/theme beating has been around since day one. It was complained about by magazines in the early 1990's and the industry still moves on. From Pong clones to Space Invader clones to Pac man clones to Mario clones to Doom Clones to GTA clones: the concept is not new.

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    You know, I used to enjoy watching movies, until I realized they are all just love stories, comedies, or dramas. Ho-hum. I predict a crash of the movie industry any day now.

    OK, that's an oversimplification of Dvorak's argument. I actually do see his point. If game companies are too afraid to innovate, it will lead to stagnation and presumably to lower sales. But I don't think the article considers that it's possible to innovate within genres. Lendelin mentioned Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden being in the same basic mold, but they're different games, they each have their good points, and they each attracted buyers. The fact that Dvorak's own kids don't see his point and are apparently willing to play and buy many of the games he considers "the same" indicates that there's still a market out there.

    I think the first videogame crash demonstrates that there's a point at which the market becomes saturated, and then there's a downturn. That's natural with any market. Because of genre overcrowding, we could very well witness a slowdown as compared with the boom market videogames have enjoyed in recent years. That's not the same as the market crashing. It may result in belt-tightening, layoffs or bankruptcies, but that happens all the time in the economic world. The crux is how the industry reacts. If it panics like it did in 1983 (or like stockholders did in 1929), then yeah, things may crash. But I don't expect it this time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by o2william
    You know, I used to enjoy watching movies, until I realized they are all just love stories, comedies, or dramas. Ho-hum. I predict a crash of the movie industry any day now.

    OK, that's an oversimplification of Dvorak's argument. I actually do see his point.
    That is a great way of putting basically what he is saying though!

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    Default Re: Dvorak on the Future of Video Gaming

    No, I haven't read both columns in detail...but I tend to zone out when confronted with sweeping generalizations (unless they are done in a sufficiently humorous manner).

    America's computer using population is getting dumber? Hmm...I recall something Old Man Murray said about that (first quote is from Roberta Williams, who was behind the King's Quest games and is more than responsible for the horrid double entendres of the titles, I'm quite sure; the bracketed notes are from me):

    Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, then [sic] they are today. Back then, [Lots of repetition throughout this rant] computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive [Not just exclusive, MORE exclusive, heh] to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn't watch television as much [This is a damned lie and we all know it - I watch nearly zero television thanks to the Internet and my ability to read news on it], and the instant gratification era hadn't quite grown the way it has lately. I think in the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More "average" people now feel they should own one.

    I know you've all read that before, but it's worth reading again every couple of months. And I think she's got a point. I want to lead the return to a time when fewer "average" people played games; a time when titles like Softporn Adventure were "FOR ADULTS ONLY!" not because they they were violent, but because they dealt with mature themes that appealed to people of a certain income and education level, themes such as nymphos sucking each other's wet slits and how to defend your gated community against the blacks. Nothing is more adult than porn. Period. Even kiddie porn is pretty adult when you think about it.
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    It seems strange that with the industry falling apart in the way he describes that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are coming out with new systems.

    The derivative games argument is getting really old. That has been going on since the beginning. Maybe we should go back to the good old days when 3/4 of games were Pac Man and Space Invaders clones.

    Games are harder now? Huh?

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    It's not just that games are often derivitive. It's always been that way. The real problem now is that casual, quick games have gone by the wayside. For a culture with such an ever-shrinking attention span, it's wierd that videogames require more and more attention to understand and play/watch through.

    Of course, great games are still being made, and usually when things become too staid and boring, something new and innovative brushes through, eventually becoming the new king of the hill. In a perfect world, there would be dozens of Katamari ripoffs two years from now.

    But the simple arcade game, the five-minute videogame, is lost. I can't really complain about Dvorak too much, since I've often wrestled with the same issues in my own game reviews. And maybe it's just a function of age. But then I find myself immersed in another truly great game (like Zelda: Minish Cap). It can't all be nostalgia.

    Interesting how closely this mirrors the Game Developers' Conference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Thomas
    It's not just that games are often derivitive. It's always been that way. The real problem now is that casual, quick games have gone by the wayside. For a culture with such an ever-shrinking attention span, it's wierd that videogames require more and more attention to understand and play/watch through.

    Of course, great games are still being made, and usually when things become too staid and boring, something new and innovative brushes through, eventually becoming the new king of the hill. In a perfect world, there would be dozens of Katamari ripoffs two years from now.

    But the simple arcade game, the five-minute videogame, is lost. I can't really complain about Dvorak too much, since I've often wrestled with the same issues in my own game reviews. And maybe it's just a function of age. But then I find myself immersed in another truly great game (like Zelda: Minish Cap). It can't all be nostalgia.

    Interesting how closely this mirrors the Game Developers' Conference.
    Yep agree with you on the short fun video games are dead point. To be honest I don't know how much longer I will be playing games. While playing through God of War I wasn't really having fun, I just wanted to BEAT it. While doing Pandoras Temple I groaned after I entered every new area, wanted it to just END! Then again I disliked DMC as well, finding it pretty boring and simplistic. Maybe action games are just not my thing? Or maybe I just find mainstream games too simplistic and repetitive. Most mainstream games these days are aimed at the average gamer, who isn't very damn bright. I totally agree with the "all forms of media are getting progressively dumber" idea. Just look at the top 10 rated TV shows. A vast majority of them are reality shows, and they are to TV what supermarket tabloids are to printed matter. You could write a book (or series of books) on why this has happened. My take would be that in the past uneducated people/pesants were too busy toiling to write / attend plays en masse while thats pretty much all the aristocracy did. With the invention of the raido and later the movie picture / TV media was distributed to a much larger segment of the population, chaning the dynamics of the whole industry. Anyways i better stop here before i keep rambling on. And i would just like to say that I am 99 percent sure that there is almost nil chance of there being another video game crash. the market is too developed. It would be like having a TV crash, it just won't happen.

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    Umm, since when was this guy on the pulse of the console industry? PC Gaming I can understand, maybe, but consoles? I don't think so. He seems to be spouting out his ass a bit, using the 'I'm John C. F. J. Dvorak the III birthright to know and dictate everything electronic as it is' power.

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    Here's a link to the Dvorak article on Archive.org for those new to the class joining in on the necro-adventure.

    So, do you think things have changed in this regard in the last 15 years?

    I'll chime in later on after the flies clear.

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    The article seems like a fluff piece to me. When people are making such broad generalizations, yes, there's some universal and timeless truth to it, but there also isn't much of a point being made. He wasn't making some observation that was novel to 2005 or even to the video game industry. Virtually every entertainment medium, be it video games, TV, movies, books, music, etc., can be boiled down to a handful of very broad genres or themes. And when you look at it in such broad terms, you miss the forest for the trees. I mean, metal is a sub-genre of rock, but does Elvis Presley have much in common with Metallica? So what the author was saying applied to the entire history of video gaming, and still does now, but with that kind of perspective, I doubt he'd notice or care about the tremendous change that has taken place, both from the start of the industry to 2005 and from 2005 to the present. I don't think anyone in 2005 could have accurately predicted the state of the industry now. The scope of it has really expanded, such that what existed in 2005, and the trends back then, are only one part of the picture now. The distribution models of 2005 limited what was financially viable to create, so a lot of developers would play it safe, as has always been the case, but there are a lot more options now. Even if they're overshadowed and outsold by the AAA mainstream stuff, indies and niche games are flourishing, and there is more variety in what's available than ever. Sure, people can argue if the games are as good as what was coming out in the past, but to me, that's comparing apples and oranges when most of the modern games I've been playing in the last several years are types of games that just plain didn't exist in 2005 (or they did in minuscule quantities and/or only in Japanese). But would the author of that article notice or care about the existence of the ultra-niche otome visual novels I've been playing? Probably not, and he could just as well brush them off as yet another form of the adventure game. But the experience I get from those games is a heck of a lot different than from, say, a Zelda game. My husband, whose tastes in modern games skew a lot more mainstream than mine, has also been playing stuff totally unlike what he was playing in 2005 or even what existed in 2005. He's been playing a lot of open-world/sandbox games, walking simulators (for lack of a better way to describe them), and unusual indies like Return of the Obra Dinn and Untitled Goose Game, whereas, in 2005, he was playing stuff like Metal Gear Solid 3 and Resident Evil 4. Heck, even looking at those old, established franchises, we've been offered drastically different takes on them. My husband really enjoyed Metal Gear Solid 5 and Resident Evil 7. So I think there has always been a satisfactory amount of innovation within gaming, in spite of all the cookie-cutter games that have always been present as well. You just have to have your eyes open and look for it.

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