Maybe Innovation And Progression Just Isn't Fun In Games
Humans love the familiar. It's comforting. Change is scary.
But beyond that obvious observation are a variety of factors that contribute to the word "fun" in regards to interactive entertainment; i.e., video games.
Maybe the reason Call of Duty is the most popular name in the gaming universe is simply because it's extremely familiar, extremely addictive, and as a direct result, can be categorized as "fun" or "entertaining" for the vast majority. Last I checked, that's what this industry is all about: Entertainment. And there's no doubt that when we try something new, all sorts of problems can arise. If developers are attempting a new gameplay mechanic, for instance, there's no tried-and-true formula; nothing to guarantee a reliable, responsive - and overall "fun" - experience. And these days, few take risks with their hard-earned money.
Then there's the depressing argument that perhaps we've done all we can do with interaction, at least so far as the standard setup is concerned; i.e., a TV screen and a controller in our hands. It's difficult to predict what could happen next, although we have to assume there's no halting the advancement train. That being said, innovation and progression isn't just risky from a financial standpoint. It's also risky purely from a design standpoint: If something is tried and doesn't work, that's all the more reason for developers to stick with the formula. And the more they do that, the more we get the "been there, done that" experience.
But maybe that's not an issue for most gamers. Maybe they're perfectly happy with "been there, done that." It's a guaranteed fun time, right? You know you're not wasting your money and time. Why waste what precious little time busy adults have just to support the concept of innovation and freshness? And who's to say any of that is even fun? Don't developers need time to get an all-new mechanic exactly right? Since when is the very first example of a new gameplay system perfect? And if that's the case, why jump on the bandwagon immediately? Innovation might not just be boring; it might also be crucially flawed.
Sorry, this is all a little disheartening. I know. But if you really think about it for a minute, you have to admit that you - yes, you - have at least once sacrificed taking a chance for something you know will deliver, even if you also know it won't deliver anything new. And maybe that's the safest way to participate...even if we all suffer in the long run.
6/6/2012 9:44:17 PM Ben Dutka