Next next gen: Already?

Readers of this here blog will notice that aside from posts about pokemon, vibrating attachments for various mp3 players and a love hate relationship with achievements is that we occasionally begrudge getting told what's next.

Already there's stifled hype for the next generation leaking out all over the place. Iwata has started the Wii 2 hype train with typical no news statements and as usual the shit eaters are eating it up. There's no discerning or questioning here. Something new? Give it to me. Give me something new they say.

SO this current generation has had longer than most but that's a pretty arbitrary measurement of how 'good we've had it'. Richie and I often theoretically talk about educating a complete non gamer in the way of games. We compile a big old list of all the games that really add something new or show off the best of video games. Our hypothetical non gamer has to play through them all chronologically and at the end is given a certificate saying "true gamer". So we can endlessly debate the gamers of former generations but by and large we'd come to some consensus. But what has the current gen left us? Here are the games that I argue should go into the all time gaming hall of fame, ignore titles which were multi format but only appear under one or the other okay?:

Zack and Wiki
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Metroid Prime Corruption
Boom Blox
Endless Ocean
World of Goo (cheating)
No More Heroes
Super Smash Brothers Brawl (only just over melee)
Little King's Story
Wii Sports Resort

And that's probably it. Remember this isn't an all time greatest list which is why Mario Kart, Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing and others don't appear here. They refine existing games but don't completely replace the originals. I'd argue that earlier games in these series do a better job at introducing cool ideas. MP3 and Zack and Wiki really make the best out of the wiimotes in a way that other games (still) don't. Super Smash Brothers is contentiously on here over older Super Smashes more as an example of how a company can mine it's own history for gold rather than just to bring retired franchises back for a quick buck.

Xbox 360
Dead Rising (possibly Dead Rising 2)
Resident Evil 5 (only in co-op)
Dead Space
Mass Effect 2
Fallout 3
Halo 3

Not many here at all. People might well bemoan the absence of Bioshock, Street Fighter IV, Gears of War and GTA IV but I'd argue that better examples of what these games do well can be found earlier in gaming's history. Earlier Street Fighters show of the brilliance of that series ideas better, Gears piles lots of great ideas together but ideas taken from older games. I'm not too sure about Fallout 3 but I suspect those who know it might argue that an earlier Oblivion does the job. Halo 3 is on this list purely for the 'innovations' with theatre mode and forge. Left 4 Dead is a PC game.

PlayStation 3

Demon's Souls
Heavy Rain

Not many here at all. Little Big Planet isn't here because I haven't seen a single created level that wasn't either heavily borrowing from an older game or an interesting idea in the same way that Second Life is an interesting idea. Flower isn't here either simply because it doesn't add anything to gaming's history. It's a one line game. An interesting experiment, a good talking point that's it.

Remember this is my list and I hope my colleagues here at TGAM will put theirs up. Obviously, I'm not a big PC gamer and I'm not even going to attempt to go there. I honestly don't thing racing games have particularly innovated this generation, micro machines, burnout and gran turismo set all the trends all those years ago. FPSs and RPGs have stagnated in terms of new innovations or even refinement of old ideas. So for me, this generation which we're probably on the verge of leaving. 21 games. Three consoles, five years and a mere 21 games that I'd recommend people play through. I'd strongly argue that this just isn't enough and has virtually nothing to do with technology limiting the potential creativity. As for the innovations we still haven't seen, there are hardly any good new multiplayer ideas and co-op gaming still largely involves both players doing the exact same thing. There's so much rich new design ground possible with this generations improvements in online connectivity, motion controls and pure processing power but at the moment it is squandered in favour of playing it safe or trying to replicate PC gaming on the home consoles. Over to you Richie, Duffin and readers.


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