One of the defining moments in my life as a gamer happened at a locally owned video game store down the highway from my house. I remember I used to walk there every day, simply to see what used games I could pick up, or what new games they had on display. The owner even let you put in whatever you wanted so you could try it out right there.
One day, I walked up to the counter and saw a game I had never seen before: Super Mario 64. I was fascinated. Watching my favorite plumber fully realized in 3D was like nothing I had experienced. I waited in line and didn’t leave the store for another hour as I shot myself out of cannons and ran around in the lush green Mushroom Kingdom. I remember leaving the store that day fascinated, bewitched even by this game that had simply floored me. I was wowed.
Every few years, the gaming world is rocked by a title that defines a console, or even a generation of consoles. These games tend to stick with us, really latching onto us for years to come in a way that doesn’t seem to want to let go. For me, Super Mario 64 probably defines this idea, because I don’t know if I’ve ever been wowed by a game so singularly as I was for that one.
A similar thing happened when I played Metal Gear Solid the next year. It’s that moment where you’re interacting with the game, watching what’s taking place on screen, and thinking to yourself, “I’ve never played a game like this”. And it’s a good feeling. However, it seems to me that those feelings are fleeting fast in today’s gaming generation.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any good games. Or great games, even. Heck, this generation has brought us Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Gears of War 2, and I could go on. There are lots of great games to be played. But I’m not sure if there have been that many games that have wowed me in recent years, that have really stuck to me like glue or permanent marker does, where I can’t seem to shake it off.
What does that say about this generation? Are we becoming spoiled by the quality of current video game titles? Or are we simply playing too many clones of games that we’ve been playing for years and years? It’s no secret that the majority of AAA games these days are first person shooters, or related to zombies, or happen to be sequels.
It makes me wonder when that next title is going to come along and really sweep us off our feet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some wow moments this generation. But I haven’t been wowed throughout the course of a game, unable to get over how exciting and fresh it feels.
So what about you guys? Do you think this generation is losing the “wow” factor of gaming? What was the last game that you played that really made a huge impression on you, for the whole game through? I think for me, it may have to be the first Gears of War or maybe Call of Duty 4, but both of those pale in comparison to the earlier example I offered of Super Mario 64.
Tell us your thoughts! Go!