10 reasons why videogames are doomed

It’s all over people. The videogames industry as we know it is doomed, and here’s Harry to give us ten reasons why...

Doomed, doomed, we’re all doomed. You, me, him, that guy over there looking shifty and scratching his face. Yeah, him. Doomed, doomed, doomed. So’s videogaming, and here’s why.

3D

Oooooh, look how things realistically stick out of the television. It’s a revolution, it’s the most amazing thing any of us have ever seen! Here and now I set you a challenge: go out and find an example where goggly 3D actually improves the gameplay, narrative or overall experience of playing a videogame.

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It’s a fad, and a fad that comes around every 20 years or so. VR headsets will make a comeback next, when a large publisher realises they can charge more for games that need helmets to be played.Arm wiggling

Moving around has its merits. It means our sofas aren’t covered in excrement, and allows us to go to the cupboard to fish out snacks and alcoholic beverages. Moving around to control a videogame character, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of what gaming is about.

Nintendo captured a mood by mixing gameplay accessible to the non-gamer with celebrity endorsements, and the demystifying of gaming culture, thus making a shed load of money. This in turn led every console manufacturer to try and do the same thing. And so we get market saturation and buckets and buckets of utter garbage masquerading as digital entertainment.

Sequels, remakes and re-imaginings

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Look at the shelves of any major videogame retailer and you’ll notice a vast array of numbers, repeated words and familiar faces. If it’s not the newest COD game, it’s another music title. If it’s not Generic Space Marines 3, it’s Hyper Detailed Vehicle Simulator 5.

The videogame industry is falling under the same spell that blights Hollywood – namely, that risk and innovation shouldn’t get in the way of making shed-loads of money by rehashing the same old shit. Franchise is the buzz word of the current gen, and it’s choking us with a two-year cycle of exactly the same games.

Space marines

The rash of third-person space marine shooters that dribbled onto consoles in the neck twitchingly muscular wake of Gears Of War is symptomatic of the malaise that’s spreading through the industry. Success breeds imitation, but some of the copycats on offer to the game buying public are almost lawsuit worthy. That publishers and developers are so brazen in their “me too!” attitude towards the latest trend is shameful – that as players we lap it up is downright nonsensical.

The teen demographic

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Guns, tits, explosions, jokes about excrement, rampant homophobia and misogyny, one-dimensional characters, turgid and vapid exposition, more explosions, more guns, more tits. No, it’s not a synopsis of Michael Bay’s newest film (zing), it’s the direction videogames are heading.

And who should we blame? Not teenagers themselves, but whoever came up with the concept of the teen demographic. In marketing terms, being aged 13-19 means you’re a slobbering moron who giggles at the sight of things that look like penises, worships at the altar of enormo-boobs and would rather have some second-rate Z-Movie crap thrown into your brain than an interesting and diverting story.Money

Money makes the world goes round. Actually it doesn’t, it’s inertia, but that’s not the point. The point is that making money has overtaken the creation of an excellent end product, at least in the eyes of some people. We’ve all heard the horror stories of over-worked coders, locked in dungeons and fed pins and their own dead skin in the run up to a deadline, all so John Q. Businessman can buy another hat made out of solid gold and exploited child labourer’s tears.

For shame. Forewarned should be forearmed, but this reckless disregard for quality, coupled with an target obsessed culture, has happened before. It ended with millions of copies of E.T. buried in the New Mexico desert.Shovelware

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Shovelware is the videogame equivalent of Jennifer Aniston appearing in a romantic comedy. It’s predictable, safe, will make more than its money back and anyone who is unfortunate enough to have to endure the end product is scarred for life by the putrescence of it all. Actually, shovelware is more like a mass colonic irrigation – it’s not pretty, a lot of people are left feeling violated and all you’re left with at the end is a bag full of excrement.

No. Wait. Shovelware is actually the most cynical form of manipulation this generation of consoles has managed to produce – it’s a disease that specifically targets the most vulnerable gamers, the ill informed, and then proceeds to rob them blind. Saturation, loss of confidence, market crash, everyone’s dead.

Casual gaming

That title’s deliberately misleading. Casual gaming is in fact wonderful, and has opened up the simple pleasures of the interactive digital art form to a bajazillion more people than some ever thought possible. The problem comes when every Tom, Dick and other person try and cash in on the trend. This leads to accessories for your controllers, to make them look like the thing they’re supposed to look like, whilst adding nothing whatsoever to their usability. And people buy this tat.

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Soon they’ll be selling Kinect tennis racquets, so you can really feel like you’re playing tennis when you’re not actually playing tennis. You are the controller, but you need other stuff so that you’re more controller-y than other people.Narrative failings

The search for gaming’s Citizen Kane will continue unabated until someone explains to the majority of gaming script writers that “murder everyone, or save this cute ickle wickle puppy” is not an effective or affecting moral choice. It’s about time that videogames came to terms with the fact that the world contains more shades of grey than a John Major look-a-like contest taking place in Slough.

Perhaps if script writers stopped exclusively watching action movies from the mid-80s, things might be able to move on a bit. Until then, we’re left with the same cliché-spouting morons engulfed in global conflicts that only they can end, with all the context and humanity of a loaf of stale bread.Negative top ten lists

Oh. Sorry.

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Tomorrow: why videogaming isn’t doomed.

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