Take a quick look at all the so-called big players in our local gaming industry. The funded and the non-funded. The selling and the non-selling. We sense a common theme — mediocre games or a comfort zone called “casual games”.
I think the gaming industry, unlike any other industry is one solely driven by the desire to want to create art and it rewards this desire handsomely too. However, we have a total freak-show over here; either we are looking at web-based, flash-driven, 2D sprite games that have no soul and just require you to run from one point to another or games that you wonder whether the creator was forced at “catapult-point” into creating.
As a pretty hard-core gamer myself, and working on a game development team, some who surpass my cred, I do a regular analysis of games that break or make it for me. The very first issue I consider is a dwelling storyline, soul or a larger-than-life objective in the game. I mean the reason why I would ditch classes or stay up all night just to ball this game. Take for example, Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls, a massively successful, in-your-face, AAA RPG game. The game’s storyline is so beautiful that hard-core and casual players kept asking for more. What did Skyrim do? They released a whole paperback book series on the game’s storyline, which sells as much as burgers (or what we call around here, puff-puff) does, up till now.
A game that just tells me, “You are Malik, kill all the cockroaches you can find here” (whichever game company, this is, catch your sub), can’t pull this stunt.
Secondly, what we think is social in the gaming world isn’t just it. Social here is staying up all night with my boys, having a LAN party, maiming each other on Call of Duty. I am definitely not looking at going to Facebook to invite someone to be maimed; I need to do it now! What stops us from building Online/LAN multiplayer abilities into our games? Why can’t I whip up a boxing game on my iPhone and duel with my brother on his iPad, in freaking real time? Men, do you know what it feels like to sing your victory song in front of your losing opponent? Think of being Incredible Hulk and smashing government tanks that have come to take you into confinement, yup that feeling.
And thirdly, why the shying away from PCs and Consoles? Please don’t believe that entire PC doomsday’s message, I think it’s just the handiwork of folks at Techcrunch.com. The PCs and consoles are alive and well. And do you know how? Just look at GTA V’s sales figure in the very first week. Then what about Call Of Duty: Ghost? Or FIFA 14? even Mass Effect 3?
Deciding to overlook this set of players means you are losing out on being on a teenager’s summer or Christmas shopping list. And trust me, I was once a teenager who bought games. Take the “bought” in the last sentence, embolden it, put crystals and flying unicorns on it, and you won’t still come close to the real occurrence. Even in my grandpa days now, I still buy games. Remember all that thrill you felt from playing Super Mario on the Nintendo 64 and ISS Soccer on Sega? That’s exactly what drives them now.
Not forgetting the fact that local owners of consoles and PCs have problems buying games of their choice because for some reason only the illuminati knows, Africa doesn’t get distribution of these games on time. That’s right there, a free cow to milk with whatever device you please; straw, pipe or pump, knock yourself out. Instead of waiting countless months for the games to hit a nearby store, we can provide them with well-worthy alternatives.
We need to start to dream and play big in this industry, churn out games that leave the users in awe because even if you get all the audience and recognition in the tech scene as a company, if a user doesn’t find your game valuable enough to spend his money, no revenue for you. When everyone is on their toes, trying to create the next awesome game, we increase the overall quality of our games and let the phrase “may the best game win” become really true. We are the gatekeepers; let’s begin to sanction whatever we let past, lest a demon escapes.
*in my German accent* So brozers, zhe next time, I get off work and I am looking for a game to bury the next 4 hours into, or my 6year old cousin, mails me a game he wants, could it be one from us?
May the force be with you!