Originality in gaming still exists, at least to a crazy person

Posted on August 10, 2012 - 4:00pm by Vkmies

TLDR;

 This is an article I wrote a while ago. Go ahead and talk about it, give me feedback about my article and shit like that. It's all appreciated.

Editor's Note: I've added some pictures.

Dora the Complainer

Gamers like to complain. A lot. One of the most common complaints gamers have, is about the lack of 'original ideas'. I disagree with this, quite a bit in fact. Not only that, but I also believe that originality is something we will see a lot more in the future. I see the points of the common complainer, however. The boring sea of World-War 2 shooters quickly turned into a boring sea of modern war-shooters and, weirdly enough, they still sell like that inherently creepy Pony-sex-doll in a Brony-convention. "Everything is brown!" they scream. "Everything has forced multiplayer" they scream. This is what many gamers like to do. BioShock 2 had forced multiplayer, so every game has forced multiplayer. Gears of War 3 was brown, so every game is brown. According to these people every game is also a first person shooter with massive amounts of pointless sex.

The problem with this argument, aside from being completely stupid, is that it's also completely wrong.

I do, however, see how one could come into such a conclusion. There is no ignoring the numbers. Modern Warfare 3 sold 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and UK alone and grossed $400 million, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. Battlefield 3 sold 5 million copies in its first week of release. It's easy to see how a studio would think that this is the way of the future and that their "Grey War-Shooter: Revengfulnessatation" will undoubtedly bless the studio with miraculous riches. The stronger than stone presence of these games have farted out a big grey cloud of uncertainty that has been hanging above us for a good 5 years or so. From the depths of this cloud gamers condemn the supposed lack of originality. This metaphorical cloud is ruining video games for people who say that unoriginality is ruining video games. That makes sense, sort of. While any game that even has the color brown or includes shooting is automatically unoriginal shit, every game that dodges that cloud goes ignored and unnoticed by the complaining masses. That's why people come into such harsh solutions, but you are really here to read why they shouldn't, aren't you?

Western World Problems

I have never heard any Asian person complain about this. This proves the fact that the western consumers are often just hypocrites. As much as they whine and complain about the colors or material included in the new Call of Duty-title, they still wind up buying it. It's pretty clear that if every person who is even remotely concerned about the unoriginality of modern games would also ignore all the unoriginal games, Modern Warfare wouldn't sell 6.5 million copies. You know how most video game magazines have the top 10 best selling games of the month-list? Have you noticed how in Europe, Scandinavia and the Americas the list always looks the same: Free-roaming-game, shooting-game, sports-game, repeat. People buy those games while complaining how every game is either a free-roaming-, shooting- or a sports-game. Then, when you look at the Japanese list, whoa! Doesn't that look different? Oddball fighters, arcade-games that defy all genres, RPGs about the weirdest things, COLORS! Katamari Damacy, Tales Of-games, Monster Hunter were all the best selling games of their time in Japan. Would a Western gamer buy a game where you roll stuff into a ball until it becomes a planet?

Some do. Quite many in fact. But those people are not enough.

They need the Call of Duty-audience to prove the Western gaming masses that originality is out there. Now, would the normal Call of Duty-gamer ever even touch a Katamari game? I would have to speculate that most of them wouldn't. This is a problem that cannot be fixed. We can only show the complainers these games to prove them wrong, but the numbers are still out there. The shooters still dominate the Western market and unfortunately they will, until Activision and EA decide to do something else with their money. That creates the problem of localization. Westerners don't buy Japanese games, Japan stops bringing them over. That sucks. The only solution I can see for the dominating stance of the shooter-genre in the West, is bringing all of their weird, corky and interesting Eastern titles over here. But that is a risk no company can afford to take. There would be bankruptcy, loss of jobs, death, destruction and apocalypse. It's a shitty gift that just keeps on giving. The less people care about weird and original Japanese titles, the less of them are going to be brought over here. "Vote with your wallet" is the only advice that can be given here. Original games are not dead; they are just hiding, in Japan.

Indie Jones

This is an easy one, and the clear answer to everything. If an original game isn't hiding in Japan, it's hiding in the indie-circles. Seriously, if you think there are not enough original games and you are not following the indie-scene, you are not right in the head. The recent rise of indie games has been one of the best things to have ever happened to the industry. Games made with small budgets and in free time assure both a low price and an experimental outlook on gaming. These kinds of games can take risks, because if they fail, it doesn't cost the developers millions of dollars or tons of people their jobs. Of course, the small budgets mean that you have to be careful with them. Be sure you are not investing in a piece of dog shit, cheap or not. But that's true with all consuming.

These indie guys have provided us with some really interesting, different stuff.

You just need to keep reading blogs and news to keep up with all the games that are not released on Steam, XBLA, PSN or other digital sources, but are just hidden in the jungles of the internet. This basically means that if you are, after reading this article, still complaining about the lack of originality, you are simply not looking hard enough. Amazing games like Lone Survivor or Dwarf Fortress are just simply not played by the general public, because they don't have the kind of marketing AAA-titles have. You know, those brown, shooting-type AAA-titles. Original games are not dead; they are just hiding, on the internet.

Oswald the original

In conclusion, original games may be harder to find than the newest trendy shooter, but they are still there. They are still there by the thousands. And there are going to be thousands more. Few days ago Dice came out and said that the modern-time shooter is getting old. When the second biggest shooter-developer says it's time for a change, it's definitely time for a change. This doesn't mean we start seeing a lot more original titles, it just means that soon enough we will see one that will do the same thing to gaming Modern Warfare did in 2007. There are original games released all the time, you just have to pay attention.

The fact that more and more people want original games is a good thing though, since that means these kinds of video games get more recognition. Bastion and Minecraft were huge titles and very successful. Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez had an entire feature length film made about them! They are not that hard to find anymore, and the rise of digital distribution services will make sure that it will be even easier in the future. If Ouya will be as successful as I hope it will, the whole way we look at video games -and the originality of them- could change forever. Original games exist and are often cheaper and better than boring AAA-titles. This will be even more apparent in the close future. So the next time someone complains about the lack of originality in gaming, you can hit him over the head with an iPad.

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