Next-next gen? Hold up....

Anyone (unlike us) with their finger on the pulse on video games these days might be excited with all the buzz around what the future holds for next--next gen. There's a new DS (no GBA slot!?), updates for the 360 and a host of expensive clip ons and add ons for the Wii. RUmours are also abound that Little Big Planet and Home might, you know, get released. You may be excited but were certainly aren't.

What happened to last and this gen? The PS2 and the GBA, two fine formats still found in many many houses have been all but ditched commercially. Try it. Go to your nearest game shop and try to find some of the classics for these two formats. You probably won't find anything at all. If you are lucky you might find a copy of Okami or a battered copy of Pokemon Emerald in amongst the shovelware shit that Ubisoft insists on churning out for the all but abandoned platforms.

And what for this gen? The choice for each platform is still hugely underwhelming, each consoles has a handful of must-owns and this is reflected in sales charts where Mario Kart DS (3 years old) and Wii Play (2 years old) still fly high. Where's the new IP? Where's the good games that don't come bundled with some kind of peripheral bumping the cost up to £50 and £60 (Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Wii Speak, Wii motion plus, Balance board etc. etc.).

Why don't game retailers get savvy and instead of stocking shit they've been told to stock for old platforms, offer a selection of classics for the platform? I'd like to be able to stroll into any shop and be able to pick up a copy of SSX Tricky or Freedom Fighters for the PS2. I don't think I've ever seen a copy of Ecks vs. Sever in a shop and it's one of the best handheld FPS, unrivalled today (in my opinion of course).

It all makes no sense. The high street should stop pandering the to people with more money than sense and stock games like bookshops stock books. You'd never imagine going into a bookshop and asking for a copy of A Tale of Two Cities expecting the shop assistant to look at you blankly before recommending some new book that was on Richard and Judy last week.

The loss of the GBA slot on the DSi is a shame. I can see why they did it, probably because GBA games aren't making the money that DS games are. Of course, this is completely understandable because you can't buy a fucking GBA game in the high street anymore. Also, the PS2 is regularly touted as still one of the biggest platforms but you won't find any good new games and you'll be hard pressed to find the great old games offline.

To be fair, Nintendo and Microsoft do allow for some support for the old games with the virtual console and backward compatability and the recent announcement that Nintendo will be re-releasing some of the better Gamecube games is a good one. Anecdotes from the internet and magazines tell how some people are only now discovering some of the old classics by chance or through the virtual console and that is a good thing. However, I still can't play Dino Crisis 3 without digging out an old Xbox and I resent having to buy the old N64 games again when I have a catridge that works fine anyway. Also, thanks for re-releasing the Gamecube games but it wouldn't be neccessary if the Gamecube hadn't been abandoned half way through it's life cycle. And is it worth the Wii points to buy SNES and N64 games just to save the hassle of unravelling miles of wires and searching for old plugs and spare plug sockets? Maybe.

Of course you can probably still find the old classics online but you may have to pay a bit more than you would have and for the new casual gamers just getting into gaming they aren't going to research for hours to find out that Timesplitters 2 was a great game and then order a copy from Amazon. And then a memory card. And then some extra controllers......

I shouldn't have to dig out my GBA to play gameboy games or dig out my old DS to play GBA games. I don't want to spend hours finding the right multitap and the right pads for the right PS2 in order to play multiplayer Red Faction 2. I don't want to spend money on games that I already have for my old console. I don't want any more peripherals that will be supported by three games before being forgotten and I don't want to waste money on slimline, updated or HD versions of consoles or consoles which can take fucking pictures and connect to my sandwich toaster when there still aren't that many good games out anyway.

If games are supposed to be more than just play things for loser adoloescents then how about game retailers and marketing people wise up a bit and start selling games in a more discerning way. How about a "classics" section for old platforms with a selection of the top games from years former. Also, how about selling games like you would sell most other forms of media, i.e. keep a selection of the good ones out at all times. I spent hours searching for Advance Wars: Dual Strike a mere four months after it's release and tracking down Endless Ocean on the high street has been an endless pain. But you'd have no problem finding a great film, good music or great books.
Some games are timeless and the experiences we gain through them stay with us for a long time and it would be a shame to just forget these old games or bar access to them for new generations just to make a dime. Penny Arcade have had some interesting stuff up about DRM, some of which tocuhes on the pains of keeping access to games that you bought and owned, I'd recommend reading it.
In the meantime let's pause a while to forgotten classics and perhaps dig some out over the weekend and let them take you back to simpler times. Times when you didn't need an online connection to play your games and times when plinky plonky music and raw graphics were enough to whisk you off to other worlds.
Review of this artcile: Jesus Christ so Tl;dr and also too much emotion. Must be on the blob or something.

Comments

the dr said…
yo i was playin crash 2 the other day its the bomb ya'll!!

92% through only 8 gems to go to see the proper ending this has been in the making for 10 years!
Cunzy11 said…
That is sick! Make sure you jump on the polar bear for some extra lives.

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