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Gamers Need To Take More Chances On Original Concepts

While analysts have said that innovation could be the prime casualty of the recession, what with publishers tightening belts and only investing in tried-and-true studios and concepts, I think it's time for gamers to open their minds a bit more. If it's true that we can expect more of the same ol' same ol' until we work our way through this crunch, perhaps the only way to promote ingenuity and originality is for gamers to reward developers who take risks. They took one, so why can't you?

Granted, I'm not saying that you should just run out and buy the first game you've never heard of; the purpose is to reward quality as well as freshness. But despite the glowing reviews for LittleBigPlanet, it hasn't performed at a level befitting a game of such accomplishment. Then there's Tim Schafer and Double Fine's Brutal Legend (which just found a home at EA), and while we all have high expectations, can we really have high sales expectations? Some will argue that we never see sequels to Schafer's stuff because he chooses to create unique IPs every time out, and while I'm sure there's some truth to this, we also have to accept a darker reality. Perhaps none of his titles sold well enough to warrant a bunch of sequels. Psychonauts, in my opinion, could've competed quite favorably with the platforming franchises like Jak and Ratchet and Clank, but of course, Schafer's gem didn't get any follow-up titles. But the game world is changing, and I think it's past time that we reward the risk-takers.

However, I would like to add this- I am immensely proud of the fact that gamers, for the most part, research their purchases more than any other entertainment fan out there. Or at least, it seems that way. The best sellers are often the highest rated; can we really say the same for movies? Or music? Or books? Of course not. In my experience, most gamers are savvy and informed, but unfortunately, with the massive influx of uninformed casual gamers, there's even less chance of innovation. There's less chance of risk-taking. This means we avid gamers need to pick up the slack and pay respect to those developers who work hard and take a huge risk by delivering something entirely fresh and new. Yes, we should maintain our vigilance and restrict our buying to good games (innovative or not; if it sucks, it's not worthy of a purchase), but we also need to keep a sharper eye out for stuff like LBP and Brutal Legend. Do the industry a favor, guys. Please. :)

12/12/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

Qubex
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 12:59:37 PM
Reply

It is a tough call... in the end the money men, the guys in suites, make the rules... stuff creativity!

Q!

"i aM hOMe"

Last edited by Qubex on 12/12/2008 1:00:03 PM

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Tim
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 1:29:41 PM
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I don't know. Sure, not all original games hit it as big as we'd hope they would, whether because not everyone enjoyed it, or release timing wasn't right, or because the target customer for the game doesn't match with that of the system. But this whole generation rewarded Nintendo's taking a big chance with the Wii. Having more casual gamers may mean more opportunity for niche games. LBP is still quite successful.

I have hopes that more risk-taking games will catch on, especially because of free demos that are now so popular. I know I will enjoy the newest NCAA Football 20XX, but I need to try out a game on which I have only seen promising reviews and don't know if it appeals to me. With the PSN, that's exactly what I get, and it has helped me make better buying decisions.

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Wage SLAVES
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 2:20:17 PM
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We tend to do more research because we plan to commit a lot of time to something we enjoy. I totally agree about taking a leap o faith sometimes. If we dont we'll end up with a buttload of FPS's and...Maddenxx And that would be SAD

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MetalHead09
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 2:41:54 PM
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casual gamers are almost starting to sound like a threat to the industry and our favorite hobby. if the industry goes into a formula or a slump and gets rid of the games that continue to push the industry forward we would mostly have nintendo to thank. lets just hope all the real crap stays on the wii.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 3:34:28 PM

Yeah, I kind of see it like Reality TV, it really came in and screwed up television. And now both M$ and Sony are doing heavy advertising for their respective casual games this Xmas. I think their resources could best be spent elsewhere, but who wouldn't want a piece of that pie that Wii has been enjoying? It's certainly a problem.

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Cuetes
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 2:41:58 PM
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I for one agree.......but its more on the devs to come up with innovation. If you make a good game it will sell, in my opinion LBP will spike this holiday season, its just to good not to.

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Cuetes
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 2:43:08 PM
Reply

too good not to. (sorry)

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bustin98
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 3:14:51 PM

Psst Cuetes.... You can edit your posts. ;)

I would say the majority of high rated games end up selling well, but there are notables that get overlooked while others that maybe weren't as highly rated still sold better than average. Army of Two did well but wasn't a critical darling. Same with Kane & Lynch. Meanwhile Unreal Tournament got some high marks yet didn't make any news at all.

Some games get a free ride thanks to hype and that doesn't do any of us any good.

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Joe_III
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 3:34:56 PM
Reply

A. LBP isn't that original. There have been some games in the past that allow you to create entire games and maps and share them with others, much less something that allows you to create levels and share them. While not very similar, there one I recall was RPG Builder for PS2 (I think)

B. I have no problems supporting original games. I just have problems supporting broken games. At least in 2008, just about every game that has been touted for its innovation (aside from LBP) has been seriously bunk. Fracture and Mirror's Edge come foremost to mind.

C. It's not just the consumers job to keep an eye out for the hidden gems. That's where game journalists come in (ahem). There are enough good games that actually gome out for consoles each year that my own personal budget for games gets to be somewhat thin -- especially with the new trend of almost every game getting a collector's edition, warranted or not. To see where my extra gaming dollars go, I rely upon here, kotaku, GI, and teamxbox to tell me what's worth looking at and what isn't.


@ Bustin98
There is a fairly small window for how long you are allowed to edit your post. I think it's only a minute or two before it forces you to delete or post again.


Last edited by Joe_III on 12/12/2008 3:35:52 PM

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Reccaman18
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 8:35:06 PM

I think it was RPG maker, and it sucked a bi 'ol fat one. lol And LBP is very innovative, cause I dont really remember a game which had premade levels, let the players create their own levels and customize characters any way they wish, and share them across a network. RPG makers only let you create an RPG which had super limitations. There is a fine line between that and LBP.

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LightShow
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:34:12 AM

What's so bunk with Mirrors edge? I thought it was a lot of fun, though not necessarily the best game, it certainly wasn't broken...

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Joe_III
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 1:00:58 AM

@ Recca
Unreal Tournament GOTY had all the features you mentioned. And yes, RPG maker kidna sucked, but I know one guy who got a job at Midway because of what he designed with that game.

@Light
The world was nowhere near as open as proclaimed, half the jumps you made were blind jumps hoping for a platform. There's no good fighting system, then they say you don't have to fight, but then they make levels where there is no choice but to fight.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 3:39:14 PM
Reply

It is rather interesting that when we rent movies or buy books we rely only on what the back cover says, or a review. And those reviews come in the form of a paragraph or sentence, "A real thrillride!" But gamers aren't so stupid, although we get more bang for our buck it can be expensive so we check into our facts. And I can assure you that the number of games I bought just by reading the back and looking at screen shots that were actually any good, I can count on one hand.

As far as innovative original concepts go: meh I'm old and stuck in my ways :P

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/12/2008 3:40:15 PM

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ec0li
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 4:42:35 PM
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I do agree about keeping an open mind for all types of games but it all comes down to it being good or not. I still remember Nights into Dreams from Saturn and not enough people gave it credit. It was one of those games that made you want to play it over and over. Another original game was Jet Set Radio. It basically started the cell shaded trend. It's really sad to see Sega produce so much crap nowadays.

Last edited by ec0li on 12/12/2008 4:46:55 PM

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Reccaman18
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 8:42:46 PM

Ah the good old days of Sega! I remember them much. Games like Road Rash and the original Sonic games were the shiznit! Another good original game, and one of my favs, is Chrono Trigger. In fact, I just bout it today at Game Stop. Its hard to pull away from it, though!

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kreate
Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 9:44:54 PM
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well. LBP seems all good and stuff. but its not for ppl like me. i dont even think LBP is targeted to hardcore gamers.

i feel bad LBP didn't do as good as it should of. LBP looks great! but i'm done with mario gameplay style of games. only reason why i would play it is if my gf forces me to play it with her. sorry psxextreme staff. but i do hope ppl buys more games like LBP so developers can make more original games.

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LightShow
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:31:26 AM
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I'm just a die-hard rockstar, so i'll be preordering Brutal Legend.

As for LBP, It really is a shame that it hasn't been performing like it should. In what other game can you walk around with a shark on your head, with mirrored sunglasses, a dollar chain and a basketball jersey? None other, and its a damn shame...

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chilker
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 12:56:19 AM
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The deal is... my wallet is thin. I want to support these awesome games, but don't have money.

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pavlovic
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 8:49:56 AM
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The lack of creativity is amazing. There are many franchices that will continue issuing the same title year after year (I'm not taking about sports franchises), like "COD 7 - Modern warfare 3 World at War again II" Or "Guitar Hero 78... Now with cymbals!!"

Some day we'll get bored of this oversold franchises.

We have seen new franchises this generation that are truly gems R:FOM, GeoW, Uncharted, LBP... but in the end everyone has/will have a sequel... maybe the new franchises are only for the first console lifespam years?

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Scarecrow
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @ 1:34:07 PM
Reply

If it doesn't have blood it won't sell

US gamers kinda make me sick, not all, but a big majority.

I'd never thought I'd say this, but the Europeans have the BEST taste in v-games.

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Zorigo
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:00:48 AM

thank you.

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Arvis
Monday, December 15, 2008 @ 2:59:41 PM

Best taste in music, too, imo.

-Arvis

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Zorigo
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 6:00:30 AM
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what you say makes sense. people should buy ME.

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dveisalive
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 @ 9:29:22 AM
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To be honest I think it starts with the Japanese first, then us. Do the fact that if the Japs are running out of ideas then we certainly are. Just think about it. Us Americans love violence in our games 10000% but it does seem to get repetitive, or should I say that nostalgic games, as well as shovelware games are to blame. For if some company from where ever makes a original conceptual game then it gets ignored into a fashion that will never sell.

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