Playing games in an uncharted Golden Age
It’s a real shame that so many people out there still see computer games as child’s play; something that people naturally ought to grow out of in due course.
Indeed the idea that only kids, or those (mostly guys) in a state of arrested development, should care for interactive entertainment is a very common one.
It’s a mindset that has dominated a great deal of resistance to the (now almost inevitable) introduction of an R18+ ratings category for games in this country. Basically, many people just assume that games are for juveniles, and there should be no reason to expose the young-ens to any more graphic violence and nudity than they alread receive.
But this type of thinking is very, very wrong. Video games are certainly not just for kids. They are an amazing source of entertainment for mature adults too.
Exhibit number one: Uncharted 3.
What can I say about this game that hasn’t been said already?
Well, probably nothing, because critics around the world have raved about it already, and I’ve barely completed more than a few levels since I bought it upon its release on Thursday (lay off, I’m a busy guy!).
But, from the very first scene, as I was whipping crony butt in a bar fight, I could already can tell I’m going to love it as much, if not more so, than the previous instalment in the series. And, that’s a heck of a lot.
For the remainder of the play time, I’m expecting a genuinely riveting storyline, absolutely stunning settings and visuals, seamless transitions between gameplay and cut scenes, and all set to an amazing soundtrack.
The word I keep coming back to when I play this game is cinematic. It is absolutely on par with the best of big-budget films in terms of its script, visual effects and acting.
What makes it even better than popping down to my local multiplex, however, is that it is interactive as well. I feel that much more emotionally involved when I get to be Drake.
I never got to be Indiana Jones (sob).
I have been playing computer games since I was about 5 and, back then, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d one day have the privilege of playing a game this impressive on every single level.
Perhaps most excitingly though, Uncharted 3 just one of a slew of games in recent times which have continually re-set the standards of quality.
The list of awesome games released in the last few years stretches as long as your arm, and just over these past few months we’ve had Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3, FIFA 2012, LA Noire, Rage and Battlefield 3. All of which have been released to immense anticipation, and very little in the way of audience disappointment.
And that’s just the big-budget ‘blockbuster’, console and PC games. Thanks largely to the iPhone, the last few years has also seen an explosion of cheap, simple but still wildly addictive games like Flight Control, Tiny Wings, Fruit Ninja, and, of course, everyone’s favourite: Angry Birds, which has sold more than 500 Million copies in less than 2 years since it was released.
Basically, there’s now a game out there to suit everyone’s taste.
It took about 40 years from the establishment of celluloid as a medium (at the dawn of the 20th century) before film really started to hit its peak. Through the 1940s, Hollywood went through what is now widely seen as a ‘Golden Age’. And, I’m really starting to think the exact same thing is happening here with games.
Roughly the first 40 years of video game development focussed on the steady improvement of technical aspects, in particular better and more realistic graphics.
Now that it is possible for a game to look almost as good as real life, developers’ emphasis has shifted back to the core principles of gameplay and storytelling.
And, in Uncharted 3, gamers may just have their own Citizen Kane.
Really, it’s that good.
But, if running around, jumping and climbing your way around doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, and you prefer killing terrorists and saving the world from destruction in an FPS (First Person Shooter), then the good news is that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 comes out tomorrow. That event is almost certain to be the biggest and most-profitable entertainment release of the year, across any medium. Film included.
After that there’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third. And that hasn’t even taken us up to the end of November.
Like I said… a golden age.
It’s just a shame so many people will miss out on the chance to experience it, because they think games are just for ’kids’.
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