Another Generation Older, Another Generation Dumber
Has anyone noticed anything unusual about this generation? Most of the time when a new video game generation comes out publishers and developers are rushing to push out the prior generation quicker than a venereal disease spreading around a brothel. But this generation’s still around. It’s like the companies had the last generation on stage, pulled the curtain down, pulled it back up, and now both generations are there. And the new guys have to compete in the same environment as the better, cheaper, more experienced group. It’s become very awkward, especially with website after website telling me that my last generation console “isn’t dead.” Well yea, my 360 is sitting on my desk next to my original Xbox and NES, all three still very much alive in a console respect. I still buy and play games on all three systems. In fact this year I only brought my NES to my dorm in order to dilute the amount of 360’s and PS3’s on my hall. And while there’s an interest in having a new system, is there any real justification for buying a new console, even since they’ve been out for almost a year?
Well, no. At least, not right away. And for quite a number of reasons. Most people don’t have that much disposable income. When I started working this summer, my first thought was to decide between a PS4, Xbox One, or WiiU. But after I drank a load of mentholated spirits and arose from the coma that proceeded, I realized I was limiting myself to such narrow ends. Neither has an extensive and deep library of games, other than the WiiU and its backwards compatibility with Wii games. They’re also expensive as fuck, too. I don’t want to spend $400 for a new system just for the luxury of spending $40-60 per game. I don’t have an HD TV, and I don’t find a desperate need for 1080p 60 FPS. Most people don’t either, and the ones that do are on PC. That’s the only thing pushing this generation: better graphics, and the consoles can perform more tasks. The systems can’t promise better games on an actual gameplay or story level. If anything, they’ll be starting back from square one. Without backwards compatibility, console makers are essentially erasing the entire last generation’s worth of progress.
The console games being sold now are in no competition with the prior console generations’ games, since the new consoles have segregated the audience into people that own the last generation and people that own the new generation. And what’s worse is that they’re telling you that the new generation is the only way to go. Well, I mean besides the fact that huge AAA titles are still being made for the prior generation. Dark Souls 2, Destiny, Alien Isolation, Dragon Age Inquisition, Shadows of Mordor, The Evil Within, FarCry 4, the list goes on. The games that will be made for the new consoles, however, will have no worries in trying to beat the plot of Silent Hill 2. They won’t be in competition with the romance in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. They don’t have to have the pick-up-and –play fun of Alex Kidd in Miracle World that the original Master System had. Instead we’ve moved from a console with a game built into the system to one gig day-one patches just for the system OS. With the systematic erasure of prior generations of both consoles and games, we lose sight of what used to be successful and positive plot, gameplay, and features that didn’t work as well. Yea, the systems and games are still around. But the push by publishers to act as if every game made today is twice as good as the games made yesterday is not creating a healthy pool of next gen games. The pool is beginning to stagnate and smell like the piss the publishers have been putting in it. If anything it’s only left most consumers either let down or just meh over most titles released.
After figuring out which next-gen console I should buy, I decided to make the best decision to me and get an NES. At time of writing, I have more games in my NES library than are in the entirety of the Xbone or Pisspour’s library of physical games and haven’t spent half of what one console costs. And I get just as much enjoyment from my NES that I get from my original Xbox or Xbox 360. Publishers and developers want to feed you, the consumer, the garbage that a new console generation means better and more awesome games when, in reality, they only promise that they can keep is that they’ll be a bit prettier. They want you to desire their new consoles more than the last one you bought. They want you to spend large sums of cash on new consoles, games, accessories, online services, and everything else that comes with a new console. Consumers should stop thinking in such linear terms of which console this generation they should buy. With every online, motion control, multitasking gimmick thrown at consumers, it becomes more and more difficult to determine the merit of a console for gaming. We live during a time where just about every console made can be bought for a reasonable enough price that are also in good condition. Go buy a PS2. Shell out for an Atari 2600. Buy some old systems and play some old games, not for nostalgia purposes, but ‘cos there actually were good games back then that can compete with anything around today.