Against New Games
1. Good Graphics Aren’t Valuable
- ‘Good graphics’ is a relative term. It’s a moving standard that becomes outdated each generation.
- Graphics are primarily a marketing gimmick. It’s used to sell the new generation of hardware, not improve gameplay.
- Good graphics has little influence on the actual experience of play.
- Emphasizing realism in art design always ages poorly.
- Graphics greatly increase the cost of development.
2. The Hardware Treadmill is Unnecessary
- The hardware benefits to increased technical complexity have plateaued. Developers hit other ceilings long before hardware limitations.
- Consumers are constantly forced to upgrade hardware each generation.
- Cost is now almost entirely to support a constantly rising graphical standard.
- Games can be optimized to match older hardware if developers chose to, but they don’t, forcing everyone to stay on the hardware treadmill. The exceptions prove the rule: Serious Sam 3, Overwatch, etc.
3. Harmful Practices are Industry Standard
- The industry as a whole continues to employ consumer harmful practices: e.g., artificially restricted exclusivity, DRM, centralized servers, subscription-restricted online access, paid DLC, subscription releases, exclusive vendor-locked content or pre-order bonuses, limited backwards compatibility, P2W models
- Even the independent industry employs harmful practices: early access, non-investment crowdfunding, DRM, paywalled content, closed source & non-free software
- It is uncomfortable to participate in and unethical to support this industry. Its harmful practices will only change when consumers as a group reject it.
4. Good Games Don’t Age
- In the long-term, games are evaluated on their overall game design, not their graphics. The actual reflection the visual element has on the game experience is in the art design, not the technical achievement of its graphics.
- The best games of the past are all just rewarding to play today as they were at their release.
- The near-complete historical library of video games is readily accessible due to emulation. Across the long and wide breadth of video gaming, a lifetime is not enough to exhaust the list of all highly regarded “classics”.
5. Lower Quality of New Games
- Every generation the classics rise to the top while the lower grade good-enough titles are forgotten. The modern generations have had fewer and fewer actual classics that anyone would consider playing at any time in the future. How often many games can you say you’ve played from this or last generation that you think anyone would ever bother going back and emulating 20 years from now?
- Employment of insidious casino-MMO design to keep people addicted instead of letting the game design stand on its own
- Elimination of local multiplayer artificially limits the lifespan of the product in favor of forcing more copie, systems and internet subscription fees to be sold
- Game as a Service ruins the single player experience
- Even the indie community is hyper commercialized, no longer freeware hobbyists
What Can We Do?
- Reject graphical quality as an influence on your interpretation of a game’s value.
- Reject any game that cannot be played an old hardware.
- Reject any game that is designed or released with harmful practices.
- Configure your system to make full use of the emulation options available
- Consider all new games released today alongside all games released in the past, not just in comparison to those of its own generation.
- Consider all new games released today from a long-term perspective. Ask yourself, 20 years from now, would I choose to play this game, or the 40 year old one?