How Badly Do You Really Want Originality?
It's a common cry from the long-time hardcore gamer: "I want more innovation and originality in the industry!"
Well, think about that for a second: Do you? I mean, really? There are facets to the situation that often go ignored, primarily because many gamers don't want to address them.
Everyone screams for originality in many different entertainment venues but at the end of the day, innovation and uniqueness never - and I mean never - outstrip the safe and the familiar. And why? Because the mainstream masses are perfectly happy with mediocrity; at the end of a long work week, they have no interest in taking chances. They don't want to spend their time and money on a possible flop. They know the titillating summer blockbuster at the movies will be completely devoid of substance and intelligence, and it certainly won't offer anything new outside of a few flashy new effects, but they also know that they're fine with that.
If they weren't, the same ol' same ol' wouldn't sell well. In truth, the same ol' same ol' is often the fastest, easiest route to guaranteed financial success. If we really wanted originality, certain franchises wouldn't grab hold for years, generating billions of dollars and becoming the biggest names in the industry. If we really wanted to reward developers for trying new things, we wouldn't continually throw our money at developers and publishers who give us very similar productions, year in and year out. That being said, it's not that innovation and originality can't sell; they can, but usually only if the critics have given their stamp of approval.
What bothers me is people who complain bitterly about a lack of innovation in the industry, and then turn around and buy every last familiar, safe, mainstream title to come down the pike. Not that there's anything wrong with that; you play what you like and you support what you want. But you're not allowed to act all indignant when publishers keep flooding the marketplace with such products. They're not doing it for their health. They're doing it because you will buy them and they know it.
There are no contradictions; when you believe there are, you need to step back and reassess.
10/29/2013 10:25:29 PM Ben Dutka