Last week we talked about Serious Issues Affecting Our Industry. This week my column is a bit fluffy.
I wanted to dig up some older, more obscure games and show them off to the readers who began their videogame experiences in after 1995. One thing I realized is that I’m not sure what games they are likely to know about, and what games will be completely new to them. I imagine X-Com is legendary enough to spark recognition, but hopefully some of the other titles will be educational.
It is interesting to realize how much of the industry is driven by good and bad business decisions. What if Looking Glass hasn’t overextended themselves? What if iD Software had sold themselves to a publisher in the 90’s, as was common for companies their size? What if this small studio had been absorbed by EA instead of Microprose? We can picture an alternate history where System Shock continued pumping out sequels, were Quake III Arena never happened, where Starflight lived on the way Civilization has. Certainly some trends were inevitable – I think the cutscene / gameplay / cutscene / gameplay approach to game design in modern shooters is an obvious path of least resistance. I think it was unavoidable. But the success of individual franchises has always been a chaotic thing, governed by buyouts and re-organizations and the right (or wrong) people taking the right job at the right time.
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