Sunday, March 2, 2014

Crescent's Thoughts On: The "Next" Gen or How this "Next generation" of gaming looks surprisingly like the old one.

Which Black, barely distinguishable console do you want to own?
Hi there, ho there. Like always nothing much is going on with my life although you might have notice that there is something slightly different about my blog. That's right, I've changed the Banner as well as my Avatar. I'm also going to change what my "Verdict" banners look like as well as start on the long over due process of actually updating my Reviews list. See the was that some time ago my computer died on me which required me to get another one, which of course requires redownloading everything I had on it including my image editing software "GIMP." Unfortunately, the version of GIMP I got is slightly different as the one I was using, Namely the Sepia tone filter was a gray filter rather than a brownish filter. And I was too lazy to try to fix that problem, so for forever I wasn't creating any new banners for my reviews because it would have look significally different from my older ones and creating new template would have been a whole another ordeal. But now I've finally started updating my blog so expect changes in the upcoming weeks. But for now, there's something else that I feel I need to make mention and that is the "Next generation."

Remember the launch of the Wii U? Yeah, no one does. Well do you remember the launch of the Play Station 4 or the Xbox ONE? Well I sure as hell don't. True, I don't have my finger as tightly on the pulse of the gaming industry as some people do but seriously the Xbox ONE and the PS4 slipped me by so silently that you'd think that they where ashamed to have been noticed. And personally, I think that is well warranted. Now this isn't a PS4 vs Xbox vs Wii U-one of this is obviously superior to the others-buy my favorite console-type rants as this is an issue I see with all three major consoles. The first issue I have can be best illustrated with the evolution of one of my favorite video game characters of all time: Mario.

Run to the Right and Jump.
The original Super Mario Bros. is extraordinarily primitive compared to modern gaming, but at the time this was the best they could do. The Nintendo Entertainment System didn't have that much room to program games and process them to make it playable. Remember that any time too many sprites where on screen at once they would all flicker. These where all limitations that had to be worked around and to that end the original Super Mario Bros. was very basic in it's design. All Mario did throughout the ENTIRE game is run to the right and jump over obstacles and enemies. It wasn't until later games where you could do the impossible and go UP (excluding the vines to the bonus stages). That was the extent that the NES could handle.

Larger enemies, new moves, more complex stages, and alternate paths.
With the launch of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, we saw the expansion of games. True, there weren't that many true innovations during this era outside of graphical. But what games in the SNES era could do was make bigger and more complex versions of what was done on the NES. Case in point: Super Mario World. The gameplay remained largely the same; however, everything where taken to a new level. Mario had a new slew of abilities, stages where a good deal more complex, enemies where numerous and varied. Everything about the gameplay was cleaned up and refined thanks to the memory and graphical capabilities that the SNES had over the NES.

Jumps into another Dimension: The 3rd Dimension.
After the SNES came the Nintendo 64, increasing the processing power and graphics capability to the point where 3D polygons can be rendered seamlessly. This development did far more than just up the look of video games, it allowed for entirely new genres to be created and flourish. Here we have Super Mario 64, where the simple gameplay of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World got completely reinvented as a 3D platformer. True, the graphics are somewhat laughable now and the camera is something no gamer would tolerate today, but the N64 gave us a type of game that was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to create for the SNES. the 3D FX chip came close, but not to the responsiveness that would have made Mario 64 playable.

Refined looks and gameplay.
After the 64 came the Nintendo Gamecube, and while it wasn't a launch title Super Mario Sunshine marks the next step in this evolution. While the 64's graphics where blocky and the system could only handle so many objects at once, the Gamecube smoothed out all the rough spots and increased the size and scope that games could take on. Sound familiar? The Gamecube is to the N64 what the SNES was to the NES. It didn't really revolutionized the games that where played on it, it just refined the mechanics and the capabilities of the generation prior to it. While it is debatable whether or not Sunshine is even a comparable game to 64, one can't argue that the size and scope of the game would not have been possible with on the N64.

Same gameplay with a twist.
Reaching the last generation, the Wii was the outcast as it was not a graphical powerhouse, and this is where my illustration both hits it's major flaw but also the focus of my point. The flaw is that the Wii was just a barely more powerful version of the Gamecube while it's contemporaries where both HD machines. However, the focus of my point isn't that graphics improve with each generation, but rather that in each generation prior the jump between the two generations created a significant opportunity for new games that weren't possible in the previous generation. In this case, what did Super Mario Galaxy do that was not possible on the Gamecube? Outside of the motion controls, nothing really. True, the spheroid stages where innovative, but that was more due to the game's design rather than the graphical capabilities of the Wii. Same thing with the Xbox 360 and the Play Station 3. They where impressive graphical powerhouses, yes, but with very few exceptions the games that where on those consoles could have been done on the PS2 and Xbox, just with far weaker graphics.

Same gameplay different twist.
And now we come to this generation, or the "Next Gen" consoles. The Wii U's Super Mario 3D World shows us nothing that was impossible to do on the Wii, barring the minor gameplay additions that the Wii U tablet allows for. Now let me stress that at NO POINT did I say any of these Mario games where bad, but Mario Galaxy and Mario 3D World are not impossible to play on the hardware of the Gamecube. True, the graphical presentation might suffer, but the experience would be the same. And that is what I am seeing with the "Next Gen" consoles. the Xbox ONE, PS4, and even the Wii U don't offer any gameplay experiences that would be impossible on the 360, PS3, or Wii. I mean, just look at how many games in the ONE's and PS4's library that are also on the 360 and PS3. However, the MAJOR problem with the "Next Gen" can be best illustrated with the little handheld that could the 3DS.

It seems like it's selling like some sort of high temperature pastry.
The 3DS is selling like crazy. After it's rocky start it is now probably the most dominant "console" of this generation, even though specs wise it is the weakest. Even it's direct competition, The Play Station Vita, doesn't have the market share that the 3DS has. Why is the 3DS selling so incredibly well? Well there is probably one good reason for that: GAMES! The current library of games available exclusively for the 3DS is not only large and varied, but also AMAZING! The 3DS has like 5 DIFFERENT system selling games: Fire Emblem Awakening, Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Pokemon X and Y, and of course Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It has even more system sellers depending on your tastes like if you are an RPG fan, then it also has Shin Megami Tensei IV, Etrian Odyssey, and now Bravely Default. Now tell me what does the Vita have? Well Persona 4 Golden and..... umm.... Gravity Rush.... umm.....uuuun... What does the PS4 have? The Xbox ONE? What games do they have that will instantly sell consoles? Games that are must have experiences that you can only get on that system? The Wii U at least has Super Mario 3D World but that is about it, and that's the main reason why the "Next Gen" doesn't interest me. The graphical improvement doesn't improve the games at all, and I can barely tell the difference between a Xbox ONE and a Xbox 360 game or between a PS4 game and a PS3 game, and more importantly none of these consoles have yet to produce those killer games that absolutely must be played. The Wii U is almost there, the moment Smash Bros For comes out we will see hardware being sold. But until then none of the "Next Gen" looks all that "Next Gen" or even all that interesting. But that is just my thoughts on the matter, if you disagree say your opinions in the comments below.

Until Next time.

-Crescent, Yes Mr. Iwata, it sure does.


  1. Yeah I agree with you this generation isn't all that impressive so far and the 3ds is doing great....but imo it could do a lot better(same go for the consoles) if it weren't for mobile gaming(mainly in Japan).I mean these mobile games are really are what killing this industry really and all the money-hats corporations using the Free to Play model(yes I do know it can be use good but you know these suits won't use it the right way).

    1. I'm not so sure about the idea that the mobile gaming industry is killing the console industry since both industries are largely targeting separate demographics, the mobiles are targeting the general public while consoles are targeting (or at least SHOULD be targeting) more gamer types.

      What I can say IS hurting the console side is this inflation of cost in order to keep games up with the current "standard" of graphical presentation. Production costs are skyrocketing which creates two major problems, greater sales needs to break even, and fewer risks in the games that are being developed.

      This is probably adding more fuel to the mobile industry's fire since the standards and costs are so low that it provides a stable return on investment which is far more enticing to a company that is out to make money that just so happens to make games.

    2. Hmm I see didn't know that but at least developers/publishers should at least treat mobile gaming different from regular gaming like make some new ips on the mobile but leave other existing franchises off it or at least spin offs of said franchise....ugh that all.I just hate that every know publisher I know trying to grab that IOS money while putting no effort in their games.

    3. So, spin-off titles like Rockman X-over and not full titles like Breath of Fire VI... Actually both seem abysmal. Dammit Capcom stop driving your franchises into the ground!

    4. Well I did said put effort into it so X-Over still makes me kinda mad since that seems the equivalent of how much of a fuck Capcom gives about the franchise(especially on its 25th anniversary no less) while stuff like universe and legends 3 get the can....but that another story.Hell by the looks of it Breath of Fire 6 had more "work" on it than X-over....and that sad.

  2. Also nice avatar it kinda fits more better here than on the forums.

    1. But it still nice though.I just prefer the guy looking up at the clouds it just seem more fitting for you.But what I can say I just copy and paste for mines.

    2. How is Eddie Brown from Nostalgia for the DS fitting for me? I mean, yeah I love the game, but I don't think the adventurous son of a man who would beat Indiana Jones in a race to the Ark of the Covenant fits me. Besides, he is still in my current avatar.

    3. Oh it wasn't a original character of yours....sorry never played it..I think I heard of it before though.

    4. You've GREATLY over estimated my artistic abilities. Yeah, Nostalgia is pretty much what happens when you take Skies of Arcadia, hand it over to the people who made the Final Fantasy DS remakes, set it in an alternate 19th century Earth, and infuse it with everything you expect from an RPG made on the SNES. Yeah, it's that good. It's only major problem is a lack of difficulty balance towards the beginning of the game.