: What Happened to the Magic?

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What Happened to the Magic?

That magic of videogames: many a gamer it has touched. Mostly during childhood though — these days, as burgeoning adults with high aspirations, powering through those marshes of social fabric to the beat of various tunes, one would be lucky to receive even a light spattering of that endearing hocus-pocus. Oh but how it touched our spirits!

Flash back to 2000: An 11 year old boy watches as the camera pans outward. Up and up it goes, from the underground sewers of Deling city where a haunting vulnerability lingers, to the adorned golden tower from which our comrades are ready for an execution. A two fold execution actually: the execution of the plan to trap the evil sorceress (the lever must be pulled....now!) and the actual execution, the assassination that is, of this malicious entity (a face of pure evil!) by our flirtatious sharp-shooter. It all goes smoothly, until...Blunder! It's all gone to the scraps! And what's this? She knew about it all along!? The screen transitions and our young soldier readies his weapon: the PlayStation controller.

In hindsight, moments like this aren't just magical. They are sublime, lavishing the player with warm enduring memories, the kind that power us through dark and harsh times. A kind of light was born within me that day as I played through the end of disc 1 of Final Fantasy VIII. It was a glimpse of greatness I believe. Because It wasn't just a game that I played, nor was it just a story that I eagerly absorbed. It was the potential of life, embodied all at once in that one scene, coming to the fore in my young mind. It was the thrill of creation through one's imagination, and knowing deep down that to imagine was to be. And it was having that knowing reciprocated by the game, by the story, and by  that massive world of pixelated glory.

But what has changed over those years? Just watch a child play, and you shall be assured, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that the magic is still there. Except for some reason we are no longer the full custodians of this secret little world, being allowed only a scheduled visit here and there — fully supervised of course: any 10 year old from the primary school down the road will do. And even though we are the builders of these worlds in the literal sense, they are the true creators in essence, powering it all with their indomitable imagination.

2/14/2016 John Nakhoul

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Legacy Comment System (11 posts)

Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 2:36:59 AM

Cause everything these day became sooo business oriented?
Games only get bigger and bigger that they overwhelm every single generation that big budget becomes an uncontrollable prerequisite for a very good game. Its much more about trend than creativity no matter how much they justify it.
Plus with so much information to acquire and how easy the access to them are over the years... The Japanese developers or their bosses has become so insecure about their products because of the success of their western rivals.

That's how I see it though...

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 3:14:31 AM

The magic is still there. It is US who have changed, growned up. Thankfuly, the memories remain:)

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 8:26:47 AM

twich gamers, they need everything fast action now now now

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 8:43:44 PM

I'm a twitch gamer, and I also love FF9, and classic turn based RPGs.

Its not the twitch gamer, its the lowest common denominator, which are gamers who like fast flashy games.

Its kind of like how the movies that make the most money are usually big spectacles with terrible plots and pacing. All sparkle no substance.

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 3:27:20 PM

Growing up definitely has a lot to do with it. Considering many factors of being an adult and for some of being a parent, it's no surprise that that childlike magic has gone to the wayside. Every once in a while you may get a taste of it though. Every once in a while.

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 5:35:19 PM

I say it is a combination of things. As adults we are not as easily impressed. Same even for the modern child who has screens and technology at their beckon call. It will take more that just pretty colors and a somewhat intriguing story to catch and hold our attention. The magic is still there. It does still exist. It is just too far and between. There are just too many options out there vying for our attention. And with so much access to those who wish to create we get a surplus of games and experiences. And be honest. Not all developers are the same. Some are artists. Some are just in it for the money. Some take time and care while others rush product like an assembly line. Some even get lucky with these tactics. Good for them. But nowadays humans are not easily fooled and demand quality more and more. So much so that even when the good things are given we become cynical to them and judge every aspect of the experience. It all boils down to there are simply too many variables in this day and age. But look closely. There are gems of out there. And more to come.

Last edited by FatherSun on 2/15/2016 5:39:27 PM

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 6:39:11 PM

I think having gamed for about 28 years now and living through the 16-bit and 32/64-bit eras when gaming arguably went through the most change, the magic isn't there simply because I've seen so much. That isn't to say there aren't some games I still really love and some that still take me by surprise but it's more the story now that has to really click with me. For example, I don't think The Last of Us or Uncharted do anything out of the ordinary from a gameplay stand point but the story, especially in TLoU, really pulled me in and the gameplay is easily good enough to back that up and make me want to keep going.

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 6:44:02 PM

It's there if you try to catch it without a critical mind. Having replayed Skyrim from a standpoint of just playing it. It definitely was a lot better than it was back when I tried to play it as a succesor and several other things I had hoped/wanted it to be. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be casted a spell on, and not try to catch the spell and analyze it too much.

And I liked White Knight Chronicles story. It was generic and bland, but I allowed myself to feel like a side character in a story that's been told a million times before. It felt special even though it wasn't.

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Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 8:44:33 PM

I loved White Knight Chronicles. It was a lot of fun, I hope they revisit that world on the PS4.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016 @ 2:03:16 AM

I did too. The online could have used some work, though.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016 @ 5:29:27 AM

Loved that game, so many good memories from it. Was my first final fantasy, so has a special place!
It's the stories that stand out from the older games, they just don't seem as good any more. The increase in processing power should has sadly resulted in developers making games look pretty rather than focusing on the gameplay and story. There are a few good ones out there, but not as many as in the ps1 & 2 days

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