Lately I've been thinking about all the recent industry bullshit, and I just gotta ask - What the FUCK happened to gaming?
There's a NSFW pic below, read with caution.
When I was a wee little lad, we had a Nintendo (or so my dad tells me). But I spent most of my gaming childhood on a company called SEGA, and a little toy they made called the Genesis (specifically the Model 2). (Keep in mind that this was before we ever knew of SEGA's fuck-ups.) With that toy, came a cartoon character who is a blue hedgehog named Sonic. I played the everliving shit out of Sonic's games, my favorite being Sonic 3 (bought with my money) & Kunckles (my grandma had her own Genesis - the Model 1 - and she gave me the cartridge out of love) due to the sheer amount of content, and debug mode which I used to find all the different ways to crash the games. :) Though I could never beat that damn Egg Robo in Sonic 2 till much later... Granted, I had other games too, like Aladdin, The Lion King, and even Tom and Jerry. I even played some Bart's Nightmare at my grandmas every now and then.
I had wanted the Game Gear but I never got it, but I loved walking through my Toys R Us' game section to see all the SEGA goodness (and Nintendo, too).
Then came the Saturn, and...Sonic 3D and Nights. They were my most played games, alongside others such as Clockwork Knight, SEGA Rally Championship and Daytona USA. I love Nights for so many reasons that I can't even begin to list them here, but I will tell you that I had lots of fun trying to clip through the boundaries in Soft Museum, via a glitch that not only requires the digital pad, but also was taken out of the HD ports. So sad. Oh, and I was only able to finish Sonic 3D once because the game sometimes crashed after Diamond Dust Act 3, which caused me great frustration.
Now the Dreamcast was here. Played a lot of Rayman 2, THPS, and - you guessed it - Sonic. Loved Sonic Adventures, my favorite being 2 by far. Probably my fondest memory was clearing Emerald Coast and Egg Hornet with Sonic and Tails, and then not know where the fuck to go next. I didn't have a memory card at the time, either.
I'm gonna skip the 6th generation, though my console if choice was the GameCube. Everything was always better on it.
Then Microsoft announced the Xbox 360. I was super excited, and was completely mind-blown by playing games (even if the 1st one I played was the shitty Sonic 06 - though I didn't know how shitty it was till I beat Solaris - it was very pretty nonetheless) "in HD". I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing. Plus there was internal storage, downloadable content - which also blew my mind - and playing media on a console. All happened first on Xbox 360 (as well as Achievements). The first few years of its bar-setting life cycle was great.
So why did I spend the past few paragraphs talking about my early years in gaming? Because that was probably the greatest time I've ever had in all of gaming. But starting in 2009, that's when shit gradually hit the fan.
Call of Duty
Yep. Call of Duty 4 came out, and it sold well. It broke ground. So natrually, a sequel came out, Modern Warfare 2. Then next year, World at War. Next year, Black Ops. Next year, MW3. Then BlOps 2. Then Ghosts. You see where I'm getting at? Not just the yearly releases, but also the fact that it's the most popular game on Earth. So much so, that developers of other franchises are attempting to alter the gameplay to try to attract "the CoD crowd". And the fans got pissed at the developers for doing such a thing.
DLC and "Definitive" Editions
Remember how I said I was mind-blown by DLC? It's true. The fact that you could add content to your game post-release was, like, a godsend. Because back then, whenever Capcom wanted to update Street Fighter, the only way they could do it is to issue a whole new disc/cart. Which meant buying the game all over again. So now, with DLC, they no longer have to do that! They can now just add characters one at a time and fix balance issues and other bugs via patches. (which were also new to consoles) No more rebuying the same game.
....Until shit hit the fan. GTA4's The Lost and Damned and Oblivion's Shivering Isles were among the first major DLC expansions that wasn't horse armor. Not just a new car, weapon, or level - no, we're talking about entire new stories and quests altogether. I don't know who started this recent trend, or when it happened, but developers have started "removing" things from the game and putting them as day 1 DLC (so much for post-release, right?). Other publishers charge an arm and a leg for a DLC that isn't worth more than $2-$3. And Capcom still continues to put out new discs for updates to their games (Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3, Super Street Fighter IV).
Noire wearing her DLC bikini. It's merely a palette swap of the bikini you unlock by seeing her True Ending in Hyperdimension Neptunia PP. There's also plenty of other costumes to unlock for each character, just by playing the game (particularly if you aim for the Platinum Trophy).
In all those games and systems I talked about earlier, most of them had something unlockable. A prime example of this is Soul Calibur II, where whenever you played through a character's Arcade Mode or the Weapon Master, you were unlocking features and characters left and right for your accomplishments in-game. Well, along with DLC, a lot of games don't seem to have any unlockable content.
And this is where I have to commend the smaller Japanese studios (read: that aren't Capcom or Square Enix). Their games are free of most of the industry bullshit such as DLC. Those games still have unlockables and other rewards for your accomplishments. Like, say, an illustration of Noire from Hyperdimension Neptunia strapped to a chair and totally...uh....Probably shouldn't mention that.
That's your reward for reading this article.
Then we have the recent trend of "Definitive Editions", which is basically THE SAME GAME - THE EXACT SAME GAME - being re-mastered for the new consoles with all the DLC intact. With no upgrade option for those who already own those games. Which means, much like the Capcom examples I mentioned above, you have to pay $60 more to enjoy that game on your new console. BULL. SHIT. Even worse, those "Definitive Editions" are also being re-released on PCs. But the thing is, the PC versions of those games ARE ALREADY THE DEFINITIVE EDITIONS!!!! Which is why Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is really Tomb Raider: Fraud Edition. The same goes for Sleeping Dogs and other PS360 games being "remastered" for the new consoles (except for TLoU).
Okay, I don't really have much to say about preorders, because I personally don't have a problem with it. Just preorder the ones you want, and don't what you don't. For those games with different retailer-specific bonuses, well, just go preorder at the store that's offering the bonus that appeals to you the most. It's really that simple.
But what infuriates me the most, is when publishers make the DLC associated with preorders exclusive to preordering, or to collector's editions. Namco does this all the fucking time. Last year, the classic Tales of DLC costumes for Tales of Xillia was exclusive to that game's CE. This time, it's the same deal with ToX2. And hell, I don't care much for Ni no Kuni, but if I remember correctly, there's exclusive familiars in the CE. ....Yep, Tales of Graces F too (though I think that was just an exclusive theme or something). STOP IT BAMCO. FUCKING STOP IT.
That's basically all I have to say on the gaming industry as a whole. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go to Gamindustri to live out a peaceful gaming life where no industri bullshit goes down while the in-game Console War is happening.
But I will leave you with one question that I'd like your opinion on.
Why can't we go back to the times where none of this bullshit ever happened? And why can't we take notes from the smaller Japanese developers?