Why Are We Playing The Same Games We Played 20 Years Ago?

Legacy or laziness?

Why Are We Playing The Same Games We Did 20 Years Ago?
As I was strolling through my Twitter feed the other day, I found an image by way of user @Haris_WumpaZone that really struck a cord with me. Take a look at it for yourself below:

Image courtesy of @Haris_WumpaZone
Though probably just meant as a joke and little else, the commentary this image conveys is apparent. For any video game enthusiast around the same age as me, it's plain to see that we as an industry are indeed playing more or less the same titles that we did two decades ago – with some nuances added in, of course.

In 2017, presentation is much better. That much is obvious. Gameplay has involved around the user experience, too, allowing for greater feasibility of movement of characters on screen and better control input. These changes are welcome – it would be hard to find anyone who's adamantly against these improvements, unless he or she is a diehard retro-gaming fan. So aside from these and other improvements, has anything else significantly changed?

The answer is yes and no. Modern gaming is much more community driven, focusing not only on the user's individual experience, but on those he or she has with others as well. RPGs have become the foundation from which blockbuster AAA games market themselves as. In-game worlds have become more massive and impressive in scope, further immersing users into the scenarios they're in.

But a lot has stayed the same too. Because of the expenses associated with large titles, publishers aren't as willing to take risks on games not guaranteed to sell well (in other words, new IPs). Companies aren't willing to diverge from tried-and-true gameplay mechanics either, opting for genres they know will be popular with the mainstream crowd instead of catering to more niche audiences. It's for this reason that games like Tekken, Resident Evil, and Gran Turismo make the list above.

Crash Bandicoot and Parappa the Rapper make the list for a different reason, in my opinion, one riding on the coattails of nostalgia. Nintendo has done this with their games for years now (Super Mario Maker and the New Super Mario series are perfect examples), and it's certainly not a bad thing. After all, the kids that played these games way back when now have the spending power to buy the games again and relive their childhood experience as adults. As a bonus, a new generation of kids can be introduced to the characters their parents used to play. It's a win-win for publishers and consumers alike.

So, is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Publishers need new revenue sources and are getting to understand their consumer more, which benefits both parties at the end of the day. This trend shouldn't come in the way of innovation, however, as when it does our industry doesn't push boundaries and evolve. It's in this sense that I agree with some hardcore audiences of today when it comes to the threat of us playing the same games over and over again.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I for one welcome this wave of nostalgia-driven games, but want the Horizon Zero Dawns and NieR: Automatas of our industry to garner more respect and praise than the Crash Bandicoots and Parappa the Rappers.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

The opinion expressed in this article is purely that of the author and is not representative of KeenGamer as a whole. Follow David on Twitter: @ZenoCreator125  

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