a mash-up of video games & games
Lurking in the depths and hiding behind the corners of nearly every new game release or console update is the much-bantered question of game-play versus technology. Better tech, the industry that churns out new titles and toys would have us believe, is the cornerstone of better games.
Faster computing processing.
More graphical polygons.
Smarter opponent AI.
Smoother video frame-rates.
Each of these, as the marketing mantras repeat in their advertising, are the crux of a better experience, immersing the player deeper into the artificial reality transposed upon the players senses and enhancing the foundation of escapism promised by our electronic toys.
The opposing argument, of course, is that games are games. Making them prettier or smarter or filled with lens-flaring camera effects, no matter how pretty, does nothing to improve the game itself.
And true, there is a discussion to be had within the realm of understanding what makes for good play: a great story, a challenging premise, a clear objective, or the ability to repeat again and again and again in perpetuity that same experience (with potentially different results.)
Ultimately, as with any art form, the field of game development has seemingly matured to the point where its reach has encompassed millions of diverse and invested audiences, and with like-as-many preferences has made the search for a single answer to the question of “great games” moot. After all, how is it possible to define a great game when we cannot possibly hope to agree upon the definition of “game” let alone “great?”
As such, the answer to the question of technology may be linked to the very problem itself. Any human pursuit seems inexorably linked to two foundational aspects. First, it is linked to a respect of the the history of said pursuit. Second it is tied to the iterative future enhancement of the same.
Will not video games, then, be granted the same effort: a respect of the foundations of great game play, while exploring the potential for things yet unlocked and undiscovered? That discovery may not be twelve percent faster processing, nor may it reside in the effort to make the sweat of a digital character bead down his face more realistically, but the serendipitous treasures we find between those efforts –or a few steps further down the iterative path– maybe the ones worth searching for.