Saturday, August 30, 2008

Video Games are lacking complexity

It was easier to see back in the days of Mario, and Sim city the obvious differences between PC and console games. Where console games were purely action oriented and can withstand thousands of mashes to their buttons a week, PC games lived in in the realm of offering players with a deeper smarter experience.

In today's game market I'm saddened by how little this has carried through. it would appear that as we strive to move toward accessibility where by we and reducing the complexity of today's games. Games are increasingly becoming less involved, and most games these days don't even require their players to "learn" something.

Take Team Fortress 2 for example. To make the game more accessible valve opted to remove all class based grenades. This omission removed many of the previous tacktics that abused how the game engine calculated physics in order to catapult players over walls and other obsticles. The number of weapons were also simplified for each class, each only has a primary a secondary and a meele weapon where in the past you might have creative goodies like the medic being able to infect enemy players.

A good exception to this rule is the game empires which manages to keep most of it's complexity intact from games of yester-year. Most of this I would attribute to the fact that empires unlike titles like bioshock is not a commercial product. The initial learning curve behind empires can be construed as downright frustrating but the sheer depth of the game itself continually ensures that each match feels fresh and different.

The high development costs of today's games means that it has in fact become too risky for commercial games to become so difficult that only those that put a serious effort into the game will reap the rewards of what the game has to offer. Prehaps for this reason the best games for the gamers that like complexity in the comming years will come from user created mods.