What did you expect?

One thing I miss in being a kid is that expectations I and most of my friends had were rather simple most of the time. For example, we expected food to be good and nothing we’d dislike. Nowadays it seems people are expecting food to be something absolutely special at times. Not necessarily something exotic, but something that would bring them a new world of taste, or bring in flavours one has never experienced before. Perhaps even to expect the food to be so hot that it would burn the sinuses simply with its smell. Or burn one’s ass later down the line. I use food way too much as a point of comparison. I need to stop writing when I’m hungry.

Anyway, this year’s E3 came and went. Usually I would do a commentary on it, but seeing I had work to do, I simply disregarded the event itself and concentrated on seeing reactions people were having. Outside few exceptions, this E3 2015 seems to have been a disappointment. It’s not too uncommon people to jokingly say that they expected nothing, but were still disappointed. There’s some truth in there, there’s no denying it.

This, of course, begs the question whether or not consumer expect too much from the providers in this day and age. After all, the common argument is that everything has been invented, everything has already been done, and so everything we have now will only be a variation of the previous bodies of works with nothing new to offer. How could we possibly expect something new and mind blowing? This is true only to some extent.

The base ideas have been recycled time and time over, there’s no arguing in that. The hero story is the most basic kind of story, which repeats itself in pretty much everywhere from antique legends to Tarzan… and to modern day cartoons too. It would be unjust to any of these products to say that this is all they amount to. After all, it’s the smaller nuanced that build up the cohesive whole and it is these small bits that make the difference.

To use a video game example, Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog are good examples of having the same kind of core; run right, clear the levels and beat the bosses. Alex the Kidd, Probotector, and so use the same core, but everything from character sizes to gameplay speed make the product stand out from each other. Of course, when one doesn’t try out the products themselves and only sees the superficial, one can only see the core similarities and not the finer points.

Perhaps the current modern equivalent for the sidescrolling action games is the First Person Shooter genre that has gained a whole lot bad rep with Call of Duty’s series of releases that removed the franchise more or less to the other extreme from the first titles that grounded them to realism to a large extent. First CoD has excellent sound design, I really do recommend people playing it if for nothing else. The core consumers seem to regard that the FPS genre has taken mascot platformers’ place as the most produced genre with Halo, Battlefield and all the others out there. One could even say Metroid Prime jumped the ship here.

I’m not the right person to comment on the finer nuances that make Call of Duty and Battlefield stand from each other. A friend of mine would be better equipped to comment those. As a general consumer, and as a one who doesn’t really give a crap about the FPS games in general, I confess that I see the differences in some of the games. I should give more of these games a proper try in order to inform myself better on what makes each franchise a unique product and worthy to own in your library. Of course, not all titles are worth of owning, but assuming a game will be shit automatically is stupid. You just never know. Sometimes you just need to take the dive and try it out.

E3 is more or less directed to the core crowd. It is an advertising show and nothing else, and I don’t believe anyone is actually expecting the companies to approach the consumer with any other intention but selling it like no other, and not in the good sense this time. This is more apparent with E3 becoming a press-only event with no common consumer having access to the event. With the game media having its collusion and other unethical practices, E3 hasn’t been a show for the consumers for a long time now; it’s been a showcase for the press to write about.

Should we expect something mind blowing seeing how everything’s been done? Yes.

What is better from the previous is always up to personal opinion. Very few actually utilise the academic approach when balancing with pros and cons of a game. Then again, we don’t have the access for a code or similar, all we can do is see the product as it is presented to us. I’m positive there are ways to measure how a game ranks in academic approach.

Still, the customer has always the right to demand for stronger, faster, better, harder products. What use is it to spend money on products that can’t do their stuff better than what you already have? I completely admit that I drive this point to the ground a bit too much and more or less ignore the nature of consumption has. We can consume one piece of entertainment only so many times outside few particular pieces that is always unique to each of us. For example, I watch Fight!! Iczer-One pretty much bi-monthly because I enjoy it, and I’m sure each one of you, dear readers, have a movie or a show you can always put on an enjoy. The same applies to games, where each of us have a game that we could always play and enjoy.

Nevertheless, we all also know that there will be time when we just simply grow bored of these products and need time to recover interest in them again. While there will be no game that is like Super Mario Bros., there has been games that have eclipsed it. Super Mario Bros. 3., for one. While we will always stick with the products we know and love, we also would love to see something taking those elements and just make something new and better; to make the previous one obsolete.

Perhaps that’s why some people stick with obscure as hell stuff, because there will never be remakes or similar of them, and such they can always stay as unique pieces.

Consumer expectations are something that should be aimed to be fulfilled. A disappointed customer, or a customer with low expectations, doesn’t really drive the providers’ quality and aims high.

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