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"Video games – just the latest craze?"

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Wed 21/07/04 at 19:02
"RIP: Brian Clough"
Posts: 10,491
Crazes don’t last. They never have. I challenge you to find me children still perplexed by the awesome puzzle that is the ‘80s Rubik’s Cube or another the same age still spinning his ‘90s yo-yo. The truth about how these markets become so successful in their day and age is the tactics the big companies use in exploiting the mind of youngsters through very obvious channels such as shop advertisements, television and other forms of media, but also in more subtle manners like encouraging children to spread the news of the latest invention. Of course children aren’t the only members of society to be susceptible to the lure of the larger markets in the grand scheme of things. Just take the pyramid scheme – thousands of vulnerable adults all around the country signed up to these get rich quick schemes, only to find that 88% of them were losing out all along, leaving some devastated. How is any of this appropriate in a gaming topic you might ask? Consider this; could video games just be the latest craze? Nothing more? It’s hard to imagine a world without them: but are video games only here for a limited time only?

Well according to the pattern of crazes, their days are numbered. Having said that computers were becoming big in the ’70s and today they provide a bigger impact on our economy than ever before. Television is another example of the industry continually growing and becoming ever more influential on our next generation, with no signs of its potential slowing down. Games are different though, they so heavily depend upon critics who rate the products well and enthusiastic responses from the public. An attractive garment for arguments sake will sell well regardless of what a few critics say; however there is less freedom for the select few big developers. In order to ship out the goods, developers are forced to make titles that both please critics and fans alike. For some manufactures the pressure ceaselessly builds. EA were once heralded as great developers in their specialist field of sport, but now in most areas of former grasp, their control has slipped. The same fate is true for many other big name developers as the market intensifies, but also stretches out. Too much competition could prove bad for the market as a whole, as gamers are left confused about which way to turn next and what defines a title worth parting thirty odd quid for. Some of these points may all sound very cliché but the possible problem remains; could overspending and over advertising cost the market dear? In the wonderful world of football – a craze which thankfully still lives on well past its hundredth birthday, money was being recklessly splashed about for years with financial experts and managers alike warning of an impeding football cash crisis if the current situation wasn’t reversed. While most of the world of football still stood oblivious to the shame to come, ITV Digital cost many of England’s football teams much wealth, resulting in a meltdown in the lower tiers. Clubs went into liquidation, were forced to sell their ground and others came near to closure, all because of an inconsistent and overspent market. With the current risks being run by gaming firms such as Activision who recently released Spider-Man so close to the cinema opening, with much being gambled on advertising; how much of a sure fire bet is it that the gaming market will too experience an economical meltdown?

Perhaps a clearer way of assessing the situation would be to decide upon the odds of such a travesty and how if at all such a diversion could be made. Firstly – for a large enough impact to take place that would forever change the gaming market, there must be one swift knock-on effect involving money. It’s hard to imagine the current sums of money circulating around computer games decreasing, but as soon as we the fans start becoming restless with what we are being offered, problems could arise and will. The most dissatisfying thing to find in a game from a personal perspective and many gamers alike is where you purchase what you are led to believe by the company and appearance of the game is a ‘classic’, only to find you have in fact bought a slightly revamped patch on a game in the series past, with minor adjustments. Three hours after booting up the game as well, you find you have discovered all there is that this game will ‘enlighten’ you with and are left with a box that will for the most part gather dust for the next couple of years, before you pluck up enough courage to sell your vastly disappointing and annoying rip-off for a few measly pounds. So how long before we will really declare enough and stop backing the great companies of the past?

All smaller game businesses and independent developers will look towards the legendary developing prowess of Nintendo and the so far short-lived and yet impressively constructed Sony empire. Microsoft recently entered the high profile affray with their X-Box, but is it really fair to assume that this trio will battle it out for x amount of years at the top, with reported prices for the full version of PS3 reaching a staggering three or four hundred pounds at its prior release? If games don’t start making the kinds of leaps and bounds forward that we’ve all anticipated for so long; the market leaders may struggle. Squaresoft provide the best possible illustration of what can go wrong as the consoles progress. Their legendary Final Fantasy 7 was without a doubt the greatest Playstation role player to grace our screens and if we’re honest with ourselves nothing on the PS2 has come close either. Of course graphically FF7 is beaten hands down by FF10, but is that really what we look for a game? Absolutely not, and the sooner the developers realise this, the brighter our gaming future will be. Tactically FF7 provided the gamer with three disks worth of carefully thought out, strategic gameplay while FF10 while pretty on the outside, was a hollow reflecting of what Squaresoft were really capable of achieving in such a high prolific title. The crunch will come however when buying video games is no longer considered the ‘in thing’ to do and like so many crazes of the past is put down into the nostalgic category.

Video games through your television celebrate their thirty second birthday this year, so all we can do is hope they live long enough to be singing their sixty fourth birthday celebrations. If icons like Sonic and Mario can survive for a few more years yet, then our favourite plumber and hedgehog might just show the way for long term gaming of the future. Nintendo have survived the decades unscathed – now let’s just hope that gaming as a whole can survive for a few more years at least.
Thu 16/09/04 at 03:01
"Copyright (c) 2004"
Posts: 602
I really dont think that computer games could be considered a craze. They've been around since the good old days of military testing labs and space simulations for astronauts and with them now available on handhelds and mobile platforms its clear they're here to stay.

Crazes usually involve, say, one item or one type of item, like flares or hula hoops. Computer games are such a diverse breed of electronic entertainment that you really can't consider them in the singular. They have everything from Space shoot-em-ups to business simulations to exotic dancers on your desktop. What we DO have, however, are singular crazes within the industry, for example Tomb Raider. That was a well acclaimed game, very popular, and then we had the Tomb Raider craze, which is just now beginning to wear off. A more apparent craze is the recent appearance of sneaking games usch as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, which will undoubtedly one day be replaced by a new craze, which quite possibly be cell shading (see XIII). Now look at point and click adventures, rendered obselete. Sadly no more Monkey Island of Discworld games. Sigh.

Computer games have been constantly on the ball for the last 20 years ago. Developers utilise state of the art technology to create mind boggling graphics which often tend to be unavailable to the average budget gamer. Games move too fast to die out. Maybe a new breed will one day appear that will render games obselete, like VR, which will undoubtedly involve some kind of gaming. So in fact gaming can never die out, it can only, as it has been over the last 20 odd years, evolve to the next level, no pun intended.

Craze my juicy ass. Computer games are here to stay
Thu 09/09/04 at 23:25
"gsybe you!"
Posts: 18,825
To ask this question 20 years on is kind of...................

Mon 06/09/04 at 17:51
"grows in nasty plac"
Posts: 101
i totally doubt that such a fad will have its juice dried so quickly because gamers will always be demanding and many new things are on their way.
Fri 03/09/04 at 19:11
Posts: 12,425
Erm.. did you actually read the post?
Wed 01/09/04 at 23:27
"Bad Wolf; England"
Posts: 920
What planet have you been on for the last decade?

Video-Games-just the latest craze?

What daft question's next? is there a such thing as Television?
Sat 24/07/04 at 21:45
"RIP: Brian Clough"
Posts: 10,491
Yeah, that is what I wanted. But besides you, no-one else has popped on for a chat. Anyway if anyone has anything else to say on the subject it would be appreciated. Greatly appreciated...
Sat 24/07/04 at 21:23
Posts: 15,681
Aye - but you should continue it as a discussion if its how you really feel.

Hence my long reply with my opinions on all your points.
Sat 24/07/04 at 21:17
"RIP: Brian Clough"
Posts: 10,491
Edgy wrote:
> So did Forest Fan do this as a discussion or was it just a blatent GAD
> attempt like the old days?
> If it's the latter then I take back what I said...however I'll
> reserve judgement until I see he's posted elsewhere on the next day I
> notice he's on...

To be honest it wasn't one or the other. Bejam wrote a good piece a few weeks back that won GAD, so it inspired me on two fronts. To write something intelligent on gaming and try and win GAD. I just hope it gets people thinking; the GAD is a bonus and affirms I must have written something right.
Sat 24/07/04 at 19:29
Posts: 15,681
So did Forest Fan do this as a discussion or was it just a blatent GAD attempt like the old days?

If it's the latter then I take back what I said...however I'll reserve judgement until I see he's posted elsewhere on the next day I notice he's on...
Fri 23/07/04 at 15:21
Posts: 15,681
First point I'd like to make is that I am completely shocked that you have managed to get your fingers typing something decent for a change. You do deserve your gameaday for this. Congradulations!

However, although your points have been well thought out, I do disagree that gaming is just a fad. A craze that will soon disappear with the possibility of a re-emergance in the future like the Yoyo, Rubiks Cube and the current one going around my locality with the youngsters is the smelly balls*. Instead, I see gaming as an industry which will never cease to be around (providing humanity doesn't destroy itself).

You mention Electronic Arts losing control of the market. However, Electronic Arts never did have control. They were once just another developer who's games sat on the shelves and were occasionally bought. Then some of their development teams made a few decent games, such as Fifa and Command & Conquer. They generated income and created more and more games acquiring licenses and more development teams and expanded to become the most profitable third party developer on the market. If anything, Electronic Arts have become more influencial with titles like Medal of Honor and Need for Speed selling just as much as their EA Sports titles, not to mention the popularity of The Sims on all formats.

As for gaming reaching an economical meltdown, we know that should that actually become a factor, Nintendo will survive for the reasons you've given. You state that developers are putting too much into advertising, such as Activision's risk with Spider-Man 2. The truth of the matter is, Nintendo suck at advertising. They don't put much money into advertising and les the games speak for themselves. So, should the problem be the money spent in advertising, Nintendo will come out on top having kept their money for new projects.

Which moves on to your point about games taking huge leaps and bounds. I remember when gaming involved four shades of grey, bleeps and long cassette loading times. Nintendo changed all this with their NES cartridge based system which removed the need for an arcade machine to play the latest hits in your local amusements centre. This meant playing Donkey Kong, Bomberman, and everything else popular at the time without using up Quarters or 2 Shilling coins (depending on locality) and allowsing for play without having a large clunky joystick. Nintendo helped the market evolve and the evolutionary process continued with Nintendo creating most of the innovations and other parties, such as Sega, implementing their own versions. And games haven't just changed graphically. The way we play games is constantly evolving. There are light guns, musical instruments, voice commands and various other implements that enable games to become a new experience each time. As well as the traditional style of gameplay which is still ever so popular.

Games were once seen as the nerdy or geeky form of entertainment. However, as many television reports have shown over more recent years, videogames are taking over music and film as the most profitable industry around, taking in more of our cash than ever before. It is the case that games such as Grand Theft Auto, Goldeneye, Super Mario Bros 3 on the Super NES and so on are expanding the videogames userbase, and with families now investing in more than one system per generation, it seems that gaming is on the increase, instead of being ready for decline. The reason games are making more money is because they are constantly evolving. Sure, Nintendo release the same franchises again and again, but they do this because they're updating them, bringing out new games and (though some may disagree) improving on what we had before. This is why there is so much interest in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, why there is so much interest in Spider-Man 2 and why there is so much interest in Revolution, the console promising more than just better graphics.

It may be the case that games have reached a peak. That we wont know until ten or so years down the line when we can see sales figures over a long time period. But gaming will be around for many many years to come yet. In all industries there are rises and falls, but to compare gaming to a craze, such as a Rubiks Cube, is rather illogical. It's like comparing the entire human species to a single tree frog. It's millions of variables compared to a single product, which isn't analytically possible. Like Hula Hoops, games are around, and they'll be around forever.

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