on Sep 9, 2008
In an odd coincidence, Sean Sands published an article on the Golden Age of Gaming over at The Escapist, suggesting that the best days of gaming are… right now. This is in stark contrast to the article I put up on the same day, suggesting that the best days are behind us.
To be fair, we’re a bit apples-and-oranges here: He’s talking about gaming in general, and I was talking about the PC Platform, which is undeniably a mess. He cites BioShock, which is a great example of of everything that’s gone wrong with PC Gaming. BioShock is shallower, shorter, and less fun than System Shock 2, and was mired in DRM controversy when it came out. But: It was available, stable, and DRM-free on consoles, while System Shock 2 didn’t even exist in the console world. Is it better to have a watered-down version of the game available to a wider audience? If you’re part of that audience, then yeah.
Is console gaming better these days? I can’t really tell. I missed all of the consoles between the Atari 2600 and the PS2, and I haven’t really gotten into the current-gen consoles just yet. (My kids play Wii, and I have a PS3 on loan from a friend here, but I have yet to immerse myself into the pool of current titles.) Are we in a Golden Age? The PC is in shambles these days, the PS3 is (I’m told) still short on compelling titles, the XBox 360 has (or perhaps had) gremlins. I don’t think the console world is a wasteland of misery, but calling this a Golden Age seems like a stretch. I guess I’ll find out for myself once I dive in.
Still, for those who have taken part in the last couple of console generations, I’m curious how the current crop of devices and games measure up. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who agree with Sands: What is it about this generation that’s really rewarding?
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.