My original plan this week was to write about the evolution of graphics and gameplay over the last decade. While writing that article, I realized I needed to discuss gaming hardware so I had some sort of context for all the other stuff. But then that aside on hardware grew into my column for this week. I guess you could think of this entire column as a footnote or parenthetical statement for next week’s column.
While writing this I was thinking about what a disaster the last gaming generation was. The Wii was a waggle controller in search of a game mechanic. The Xbox 360 had a bad habit of dropping dead the moment it went out of warranty. The PlayStation 3 was painfully expensive and ran on mutant hardware that made it hard to develop for. The PC was afflicted with bad ports, DRM, and Games for Windows LIVE.
This was also the generation where the BioShock was hailed as this great moment in gaming, despite the fact that it was pretentious and incredibly shallow compared to its forebears Thief and System Shock. It’s not an awful game or anything (and I still think the scene with Andrew Ryan is one of the great moments in gaming) but it’s overshadowed by the things that came before itThief, Deus Ex, System Shock. and the things that followedPrey 2017, Deus Ex Human Revolution.. This was also the low point of both Grand Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls. What I’m getting at is that being one of the greatest games of the previous generation is kind of like being recognized as the world’s best-smelling hobo or the world’s tallest midget.
I’m not suggesting there weren’t good games. There were lots of great games in this time period. But there were also a lot of annoyances, expenses, and hassles. Regardless of what platform you favor, I think we’re in a much better position now than we were 5 years ago. I certainly like my PlayStation 4 more than I cared for either the PS3Huge. Heavy. Tons of heat. Rounded top so I can’t put things on it. Mushy triggers that feel awful. Dumb tilt gimmick. or the Xbox 360Dead in less than a year of very light use.. I don’t think we’re in a second PC Golden Age right now, but I think things are better now than they’ve been since I started this site. Keep in mind that I’m an incurable cynic who complains about everything, so positive appraisals like this one are a rarity for me.
 Thief, Deus Ex, System Shock.
 Prey 2017, Deus Ex Human Revolution.
 Huge. Heavy. Tons of heat. Rounded top so I can’t put things on it. Mushy triggers that feel awful. Dumb tilt gimmick.
 Dead in less than a year of very light use.
Marvel's Civil War
Team Cap or Team Iron Man? More importantly, what basis would you use for making that decision?
Programming Language for Games
Game developer Jon Blow is making a programming language just for games. Why is he doing this, and what will it mean for game development?
Shamus Plays WOW
Ever wondered what's in all those quest boxes you've never bothered to read? Get ready: They're more insane than you might expect.
Grand Theft Railroad
Grand Theft Auto is a lousy, cheating jerk of a game.
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.