The ration of quantity and quality is really messed up in the video game industry if you stop to think about it. The quality of games we have now is so disproportional as we’re getting less games each games and their quality is nothing to brag about at all. Pretty much all the games we’ve had this year were nothing but the same song sang three times around. None of them broke the status quo. Not even the Project Rainfall games had any impact, and while the audience got their RPGs, they impacted very little on the later days of the Wii. I admit that I was somewhat swayed by the hype, but I do enjoy Xenoblade a lot and I still recommend long-time players to give them a good look, unlike Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which is a completely awful game through and through.
Let’s look at the NES era. Companies had to agree to release a maximum of six games a year. Nowadays that might sound like madness as developing games takes anywhere between two years to six years. Personally I’ve always been aghast of these developing cycles. Back in the day companies like Konami had to open sub-companies like ULTRA GAMES in order to release more games. As a wee lad I never associated Konami with Turtles because of this.
ULTRA also released such small games like Metal Gear and Mission Impossible
During the NES era the developers had more limitations overall, so of course we assume that they can make greater, better and faster games. The crude truth is that the very same reason actually is actuallykilling the quality.
Nintendo’s tight hold on the released games in North America and Europe was a direct result of the Second Video Game Crash. Companies could’vepushed out a game in a week or two if needed, which would’ve oversaturrated of the market just like in the Atari era . Nintendo’s grip and the seal of quality meant something at that time, as it guaranteed that the industry wouldn’t face asimilar downfall again. It was necessary and it was for the better. These games needed to be good enough to get through. Exceptions always exist, but a lot of games changed the status quo in some way. Super Mario Bros., Metal Gear, Contra, Mega Man 2, Gradius, The Legend of Zelda, Battletoads, Ghost n’ Goblins, Golf, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania… a lot of these games broke the mould in some form and went against the overall winds of the industry. People loved them. As a console the NES was against how past machines had conducted their business and wanted to offer something different. The same can be said of GameBoy, which kept itself very simple and straightforward throughout its iterations up to the GameBoy Colour. As such, in comparison we had a lot of games that were high quality and yet there was a high possibility to develope more, if Nintendo had allowed it. Nowadays nobody truly controls what gets released, and none of the games are even trying or aiming to break to thestatus quo. New Super Mario Bros. managed to do that on the DS, but it won’t happen again with the Wii U as none of the Mario games are trying to change anything; they’re the same bleep bloop sounds with the same candy graphics and same floaty controls. There’s no new content, no evolution and no refinement. The same applies to practically every game within the last fifteen years.
In raw numbers and disregarding any comparisons, games are more developed and released nowadays than previously. There’s a higher number of sales and more people are buying games, and yet the industry is imploding. The quality of modern games across the board, while selling more in numbers, is far lower. If we do take everything in notion, the macro economics are completely different. SONY can’t afford to spend tens of thousands on console development, Microsoft is aiming for video and music services more than games with their next “console” and Nintendo is making loss with every console sold that is not a Wii.
You might be asking Why is the quality so low if we have more money, more development time and more games released every year? The answer is that nearly all games stick to the same mould and don’t even try to add something new and change the scene. This is because the developers create games they want to play, or what the hardcore gamers would like to play. That’s three mistakes there right off the bat. The audience they’re aiming for is extremely small at best. Imagine the current game industry as an inbred family, that has advanced some six generations or more now. By now there’s so many genetic faults, that the family desperately needs some new genetic material to the gene pool. At one point all genes clicked and managed to produce two healthy looking babies that grew up to be a fine pair of teens named DS and Wii, but after some time due to the parents’ lack of care and hatred later on caused these exceptions to become dysfunctional and give birth to two malformed children; the 3DS and Wii U.
The general audience loved the Wii, and they loved the DS as soon as Nintendo managed to realize that they need to make it into a portable SNES and not a portable N64. Both DS and Wii competed in a region where SONY and Microsoft had not touched and developed games that were different from the inbred hardcore games, namely Wii Sports. Because of this they managed to developgood games for the first time since Donkey Kong Country. Fun fact; Super Nintendo was in a pickle when Super Mario World didn’t give it the boost to overcome Mega Drive’s sales. It took Donkey Kong Country to really turn the tables around. Another fun fact; Miyamoto hated and still hates Donkey Kong Country.
The reason the most selling console gets themost shovelware is really a sign that it’s also getting the highest quality games nowadays, but only in a very limited fashion. The other consoles might get games that sell to the hardcore audience, but they won’t sell to anyone else. I’ve yet to meet a person who owns a NES and a Wii who would’ve played Metal Gear Solid. They might know the memes of it, but as a whole those games don’t interest the general populace, the place where the real money is. If the developers would stop jacking off each other and begin to develop to the Blue Ocean market, we’d see an explosion in the industry. A good kind of explosion no less, like in the NES and Atari era.
Let’s finish this with some Twilight Express
I always liked the MegaDrive sound chip more than SNES anyway. It’s much more clearer and less muffled