Sunday, November 8, 2009

Video Games Are Getting Too Complicated: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Have video games today gotten too complicated?

My oldest friend Josh and I had an in-depth conversation about this the other night outside of a Burger King in Northridge, where he was smoking a cigarette and I was nursing a diet coke. As we took to our respective vices, we reminisced on how there used to be a Malibu Grand Prix just down the road -- featuring a huge arcade center -- and it got us talking about the video games that kids today are growing up on and how there's a whole generation out there who have never heard of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Ah, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now that was a system!! Lots of different games, lots of different premises, and most importantly: Simplistic. Consider the controller the Nintendo used. It consisted of:

---A directional pad, which had the following options:





---An "A" button.

---And a "B" button.

That was it. That was all we had growing up. And you know what? We were happy.

You ever see a video game controller today? It's insane!! There's this impossible-to-use joystick for you to do required diagonal, vertical, horizontal and circular maneuvers; there's an "A" button, "B" button, "C" button, four buttons at the top, a trigger on the back, and a tiny red button in the right corner that looks like it will give the order to launch nuclear weapons; in short, if you want to play a home video game today, you essentially need to be an octopus, there are so many things to press.

And then there's the video games themselves. To my older readers: Do you remember the game Double Dragon? Here was the premise: Guy's girlfriend gets captured by gang. Boyfriend goes after gang to rescue girlfriend.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

And forget fancy maneuvers or powers. All your moves consisted of punching or kicking. There were bats, weapons and knives. The only guy who had a gun was the final boss, and that's what made him so powerful.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

And your mission didn't change midway through. You don't find out in level 3 that your girlfriend isn't really your girlfriend, or that this is part of an international conspiracy, or that you were secretly given a drug beforehand and everything that's happening is really in your mind. No, your mission was always to save your girlfriend. In fact, when you got to the final boss, you saw her tied up on the left of your screen, just to reinforce the fact.

Quick. Easy. Simple.

Today's video game premises are insane. Plots and subplots and subtitles and choices and misdirections and chapters and unforeseen developments. Everyone is involved, everyone has a role, your mission changes 18 times in the first seven seconds of the game, and by the end you're so blown away by everything you've seen that you've forgotten one important part:

What the hell the game was about in the first place.

And finally, there are the graphics. Honestly, how real does a game have to look? You want reality? Go outside. Me? I'm happy with two dots on a screen and a couple of colors. I'm easy to please, and so should the rest of video game America.

My point is: I come from a time where I would get up on a Saturday, go to a buddy's house, and me and other buddies would play a game that required little thought, few graphics and a couple of buttons. And it was this generation that developed the Internet, made Texas Hold 'Em a household name, and introduced flat-screen TVs.

In short: We made the world a better place.

But today's generation, with their fancy Wiis, are threatening all that my generation stood for. Soon, everything that we created -- that I created!! -- will be destroyed, replaced by a sea of complicated plots, space-age like controllers, and graphics that don't allow you to separate fantasy from reality.

Today's video games are destroying the fabric of everyday life.

And they must be stopped.


And now for this week's:


L.A. Lakers star Lamar Odom wants to have a kid with new wife Khloe Kardashian soon.

And that's more ammo for those who think a license should be required for those wanting kids.


Carlos said...

Hey Nevin,

Welcome to technology advancement! Technology improves frequently; it's reality. Also, your argument probably was given by our parents. "You kids with your fancy Ataris, Nintendos, and that stick control with A and B!!! We use to go outside and be happy playing 'kick the stick'. Why I outta!!!".
Life is a changin' so come on aboard. You must have foreseen this when you saw the Jetsons as a kid.

Contrary to you, there are many people who want insane graphics. I don't play the games, but I do appreciate high definition 3-D realistic graphics. It's probably because I just appreciate insane computer graphics; it's the nerd in me.

Anonymous said...

Dude Drop the controller go outside and breath some are what they are GET A LIFE