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Too Much Focus on Online Play

John Turnbull

Posted on February 11, 2019 11:23

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Gameplay and graphics suffering, all because of the almighty dollar...

I'm what you'd call a "First Gen Vidiot", because right after it launched I had the Atari hooked up to the 26" screen, wooden console monstrosity in the living room. As my mother, a single parent, had to work two jobs, she inadvertently became a forerunner of progressive thinking babysitting by replacing a person with a video machine.

With food wrapped in Saran Wrap in the fridge and Adventure, Space Invaders and Haunted House on cartridges strewn across the carpet around me, I could wile away hours in Elysium-like video bliss. It kept me engaged, entertained, engrossed and, most importantly, out of trouble. Name any sort of platform that does that single-handedly nowadays. Ahh, simpler times, simpler times.

It is inconceivable for kids today to envision, but I had no problem picturing that pixelated white blob as being a scary ghost. "Mind-blowing graphics" was yet to be a term and good ole' (fast becoming extinct) imagination filled in the blanks. And then Sega (or arguably Colecovision or Intellivision) came out and the ball game changed. Graphics, gameplay, and interaction improved remarkably as each new version of video game platforms came out, culminating to the apex: Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One X. The only upgrades I envision in the foreseeable future is that the actual gameplay gets as smooth as the cut scenes and Virtual Reality becomes less glitchy.

So now with the graphics basically peaking, we get to the crux of the matter and my main issue with today's games: online play. Companies and platforms are taking advantage of the gaming community's desire to vicariously interact with one another and they see nothing but dollar signs. In order to accommodate for this cash cow (indeed to compete in many games one HAS to purchase add-ons, power-ups, and extras) something has to give. And that something is gameplay. All the little nuances that added realism, particularly in sports games, have gone by the wayside in order to make room for the online multiverse immersion. For gamers this might not be important, for purists, it's essential.

Take Star Wars as a case in point. With the graphics capability and memory available, there's no reason we couldn't enjoy playing the original trilogy like it's never been done before, basically recreating the movie where we are in control. Imagine getting to fly the Millenium Falcon through an asteroid field while being pursued by Tiefighters or battling that one-eyed creepy thing in the trash compactor while the walls tighten in. Instead, we're dealt this Star Wars Battlefront nonsense, where hundreds of players kill you the second you enter the game and you're stuck flying some B-reel ship. Unless you pay to upgrade, of course.

While there are some great "story mode" single player campaign games still out there (Spiderman) they are disappearing fast. Perhaps the solution is to have two separate discs, one for single play and one for online play. Means more bucks for the suits.

John Turnbull

Posted on February 11, 2019 11:23

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Source: GameSpot
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