Your Gaming Future, Gaming Past

Matt Barton's picture

In my upcoming Matt Chat with Scratches designer Agustín Cordes, we talk a lot about our perspectives on classic games such as Myst and King's Quest, and how those have changed over time. Agustín says that he doesn't consider Myst (1993) to be a vintage game, simply because it feels too modern to him compared to the earlier King's Quest (1984). It made me start thinking about how we perceive time when talking about individual games. There is 9 years difference between Myst and King's Quest, but 18 years have passed since Myst first graced the Mac (16 for PC). It seems to me that each year that goes by seems to compress that 9 year gap to make it seem shorter, so that it seems like Myst followed very closely on the heels of King's Quest (and thus I feel comfortable grouping both under the category "classic"). For Agustín, on the other hand, that gap seems much wider, perhaps because the Myst-style is still "modern" in the sense that most adventure games still follow its model.

These observations have me thinking about the future and how these various "game ages" we talk about now will seem then. Dan Carlin (of Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts) like to say that in the future, the history books will combine the two world wars and ignore the gap in between, which will seem more like a temporary ceasefire than an actual break between wars. I wonder what will happen to games. Will we even perceive a major break between the disk and CD-ROM eras, for instance? Or will it seem like a very minor development barely worth a footnote?

I'm also trying to think on a grand scale about what achievements and breakthroughs in the gaming and computer industry will still hold fifty years from now, and which ones--that seem critical now, mind you--will be delegated to the footnotes. Will there be talk of a "videogame crash" of 83/84, or will it seem that the NES just picked up immediately where the American consoles left off? It seems like a big gap for most of us, but I can imagine why a future historian might consider that period too brief to warrant such a grand description.

I even wonder if fifty years from now historians will even bother to separate console from computer gaming, since that division will probably make little sense (at least if current trends towards virtual machines and cloud computing continue). My prediction is that they will be much less concerned with devices and platforms and more focused on the important games.

On a final note, I'm wondering what the various "Top" lists will look like fifty years from now. Will any games from the 80s, 90s, or even 00s be on it? I suppose classics like PONG might remain simply because of their importance in establishing the industry, but will games like King's Quest or Myst be worth mentioning? I suppose the big question is whether those genres will have continued in some form.

How do you feel about time and history when it comes to games? Looking back over the history of gaming, and peering forward to its future, do you see clear shifts (or punctuations) that will become even more distinctive and definitive, or more of a gradually flattening curve? 50 years from now, will anyone still care about the move to CD-ROM or the early arcade-obsessed console industry? How many of the games currently considered "classic" and historically important will just be forgotten, replaced by later games that will seem so much more sophisticated and innovative?

Comments

Carmine
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Joined: 09/05/2010
Y the Last Man
clok1966 wrote:

Y the last man (if they can follow the comic even a little bit this should rock)

Y the Last man wouldn't work in the feature format. It's just too long, like any 10 volume series. I think it would translate very well to a 10 - 12 episode premium channel show. All the trimming work is almost done for the show runners already.

The Sandman... I think that would benefit the most from a feature budget. It just needs to look stunning throughout, far more so than the Watchmen (which I thought was a decent but ultimately traced copy of the comic).

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
watchmen
Carmine wrote:

Y the Last man wouldn't work in the feature format. It's just too long, like any 10 volume series. I think it would translate very well to a 10 - 12 episode premium channel show. All the trimming work is almost done for the show runners already.

The Sandman... I think that would benefit the most from a feature budget. It just needs to look stunning throughout, far more so than the Watchmen (which I thought was a decent but ultimately traced copy of the comic).

Didnt like Watchmen? I am suprised about that and the love/hate the comic book world has for it. Other then the ending its almost a perfect copy of the comic, which should have been gold. Up to lately the rally cry of comic geeks is they dont follow the comic, then they do and its still not right. I'm intersted in why you think that. it is a pretty much copy of the comics, sure lots of stuff was changed, but not like most movies. I thought the characters matched the comic almost perfect. I presonally thought the look was perfect too.. So many details fromt eh comic translated well. The fact waht was considers socially responsible in the past is considers utterly evil today (war agaisnt germany when it wanted to expand GREAT!, war in the modern day for same reasons, BAD!.. not nearly as cut and dried (and simple) as I made it there) that the hero's where probebly no better then the criminals, what costs are acceptable to save people, etc.. I think they did that well... And so many other things.. The ending (of rorshac) is still one of the strongest scenes in a comic or movie ever IMHO.. Compromise was not an option when he saw how it leads to such evil things for the right or wrong reasons. yet in that case it was required and he gave the most of any of the hero's willingly yet he was considered the worst of them, a horribly flawed person who did the right thing when it matter then most.

SPOILER!!!!!

personaly I liked the nuke/power/bomb ending much more than space jelly monster thing..So that part didnt bother me..

Carmine
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Joined: 09/05/2010
I thought the movie was

I thought the movie was decent, pretty good actually, but that's because of the strength of the source material. I agree with a lot of your points, especially the casting. Although I actually didn't like Rorschack's final words. I would have preferred a much colder "do it."

My main criticism is something you mentioned quite a bit--it's a very close copy of the book. I see this as a bad thing because Zack Snyder doesn't interpret things, he simply traces them, and when filmmakers do that a lot of feeling is inevitably lost in translation. Snyder (who I've met and.... I definitely wasn't inspired by him) directed the 300 film adaptation, which was also a trace of the book. I felt like it worked better in that instance because it's a much shorter, simpler story without a lot of substance to be lost in translation. By tracing The Watchmen comic (sometimes shot for shot) and not taking any artistic freedom with it, I thought the movie often came up feeling hollow. People use it as an example to prove that movies can never be as deep or intellectual as a written work. When you have two different mediums, even ones so similar as graphic novels and movies, you still have to interpret the original work, let it inspire you, and go be an artist. To me Snyder is a fan of things, not an innovator or master.

Anyway that's my rant. I'd give the movie an 8/10 all things considered. My favorite comic book movie still stands as History of Violence.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
When I think about it, a

When I think about it, a still image translated to film had quite a bit of leeway and he did pretty much do just what was in the comic. I can understand how your seeing it for sure. Probely my favrite comic book is V for Vendetta, and I did like the Movie, but so much was missing from it, they skimped on the people he went after and cut so much. And yes even changed alot of it. Its a movie I enjoy alot but feel could have been so much better. But I must admit the end with all the people in the MASKs was a "shiver" moment.. so cool, so awsome to see.

One thing, comic books movies are getting to the point where unless the source material is bad or the writing, the look should be good, the special effects should be good.. you cant say it sucked becuase of limitations in the medium anymore..it s squarely on the people making it now.

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