[As Read on GIO.]
[Titled: When Duty Calls, Do we Answer?]
Now, before I start this show in earnest, let me be clear: this is not a blog about Call of Duty, despite what the title and above image may lead you to think. Rather, this is going to be a blog created for the purpose of talking about the first person shooter genre today, and how it is constantly evolving in many ways, and devolving in others. That point having been made clear, I feel it is relatively safe enough for me to continue on without fear of losing you.
First person shooters have come a really long way in the short time since the creation of a certain hallway shooter by the name of Doom. We, as gamers, owe virtually everything to Doom in many ways- at least from a FPS perspective. While it may not technically be the very first first person shooter game created, it is known as the father of modern shooters, and recognized thereof anyways. Games just aren’t made like Doom anymore, and that is a good, and bad thing in more ways than one.
It’s a good thing in that games have evolved heavily, in general, over the last two and a half decades or so. Those games in general being, for the purpose of this blog, first person shooters. We go from Doom to Battlefield 4- snap, just like that, in about twenty years. It’s crazy. I mean, not only have the graphics improved massively over the years, but the technology behind the games, the amount of time put into them, the money, the features, and countless other aspects are simply astronomically different. Heck, modern technology could learn a thing or two from the video game industry in the way of producing new technology. We’d definitely have flying cars for everyone by the year 2020 then. But that’s beside the point.
While there has been plenty evolution of scale, scope, and general magnitude of gameplay, story, and other key facets of first person shooters- there has also been a steady devolution of sorts going on at the same time. Whereas FPS games used to simply have the core mantra of “Shoot those bad dude!” today we have overly complicated gameplay and storylines. Gone are the simple “press S to shoot” and simplicity, only to be replaced by a full controller scheme and a story so riddled with holes and so convoluted that it sounds like a Romero film. What used to take three or four keys on a computer- to walk, shoot, reload, and jump, now takes several dozen across multiple consoles. It’s crazy, it’s good sometimes, and it’s also scary others. But it’s a fact, look at it how you will.
How is it, that when things are going so well, that we can think that quality substance can be replaced by mere substance at any one time? I mean, sure, there are plenty of stellar modern FPS games out there currently- that is undeniable, but, it is also increasingly apparent that there are quite a few more with quality concerns and lacking gameplay. And yet they get the green light anyway to be produced. Back in the day (not to sound old, but I am relatively more so than the majority of you here, I assure you), we didn’t see many titles released each year, or at least, not at the rate we do today. It was very rare for a truly “bad” game to release, as they were usually stopped before too much funding was sunk into the project. But today, we’ve gone from jewels like Doom and Red Faction to Blackwater and Daikatana and Conflict: Denied Ops. Just how is that possible? Sure, every generation has its bad games, but there’s always hope for fixing the formula later, right?
Well, it’s interesting that I mention that, because those three games come from relatively different console time periods. Daikatana was a game released only a few years before the dawn of Xbox and Play Station masses on the PC. The Conflict series has spanned several years, but Denied Ops was released in 2008 for most consoles, and Blackwater was released fairly recently, with certainly no excuse for the quality it portrayed. Yes, there will always be bad games, but with something that used to be so simple as “shoot those guys” can we seriously not just churn out some invigorating and epic titles again, and more often? When duty calls, shouldn’t we be answering with gusto?
But that’s just me thinking out loud, and that’s just my opinion piece for the day. After all, this is only day three of my 30/30 blogging challenge, and I have no plan of relenting anytime soon. I’ll be seeing you guys for the next twenty-seven days after all, so things are only going to get better from here on… Until tomorrow, I bid you a fond farewell.