The State of the Video Game Industry-It’s not dead!

I’m sure many of you have opinions of the Video Game Industry as of today and comparisons of yesteryear with many of those opinions being justified with speak of mostly Triple A titles. That might because the Triple A titles set the bar for all video game advances or just that people who talk about video games publically only care about those titles. The truth that sits away from your opinions, whether they are right or wrong, is that today in the year of 2011 the Video Gaming Industry could not be going stronger…minus a few things released in the last few days (I’m looking at you Gearbox and 2k). Now I know that statement is a bit hard to believe but hear me out people. First, let’s skip over all the Triple A titles for right now since everyone knows the standings on those games and instead look on the games that are getting high praise from those who know about it, but little recognition from everyone else. Take the games that were entered in this year’s Developers Choice Awards. The games that were entered into the awards show weren’t just titles that had millions of sales or a gimmick that it was running off of. No the games that were there broke a new boundary in the video game medium in either a big or small way. Perfect example of that is “Amnesia: The Dark Descent.” This game was created and published by Frictional Games who created the Penumbra series and was originally released as a free download game. After word got out about the games excellent use of fear tactics and incredibly vivid soundtrack the game got a lot of attention and ended up winning countless awards and being sold on Steam Marketplace and retail. Let me tell you, this game deserves the recognition it got. Not that this game had the most amazing graphics (but it did look pretty beautiful) and not that it even had the most intuitive controls (which it kind of did for what it wanted people to do), but it was that the game was literally what it said it was and more: A horror game that lets the player avoid enemies without use of weaponry. It not only made its players fiber shoot through the roof, but it made the player interested in the story. It starts you off with a character that knows almost nothing about himself and a note that is written to him saying that he is has to exact revenge on a guy before it’s too late. To some that would be a game that is just frustrating to play and not even be worth mentioning, but that story coupled on with the game mechanics and the pacing of everything made it a true homage to the horror genre which in a way has brought video game developers attention that make games in the same genre to up their products and remember the bare essentials as to what scares a person white.

 Now let’s focus on a title that is a Triple A title that is soon to be released: Dead Island. Now I can’t really judge how this game is going to improve on the stance of the video game industry right now, but I can definitely tell you what impact it’s having as of now. When the trailer of this game came out, many people were heart-struck and some were almost brought to tears when shown a reverse/forward clip of a little girl turned zombie/running away from a horde of zombies and bringing the video to a close with the two clips meeting at a reunion of the girl and her dad right before things went to hell. Now there isn’t much to say about a trailer that tugs at the heart strings, but at this year’s E3 there was gameplay that was shown and boy was it well received. It showed off its difference from all the other zombie titles by introducing gameplay that makes the experience more realistic by giving you a fatigue bar and situations where you must make a moral choice as to whether you save fellow NPC’s or die. Some zombie games in the past have done this and usually punished you for doing so. But this game takes to heart the golden rules of zombie apocalypse and makes you choose between being selfish and living, or being heroic and dying. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s being implemented in games today and it’s what gamers want more and more: Reality in games. And that want for reality is reaching developers and being put into all titles both indie and Triple A which just brings the arrow on sales through the roof.

Sure, I will admit that there are some really bad eggs out there and some games that could be made better if more time was given to it, but not all can be gems. Luckily the ones that shine are the ones that get the most attention, the most sales, and give the industry more attention and praise for what it give to its audience. So remember next time when you are talking to your buddies about video games and the industry that there might be some bad vibes going around, on the whole the industry is thriving well and sailing smoothly to its peak. Plus, you can always tell them that we have Pokémon which has grossed more than 215 units sold over multiple platforms. Promise you they won’t step to that. See you guys!

-Davain

Image from Monstervine.com

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