The 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey

#1. Better graphics do not equal innovation and/or creativity.

Violators:
Sony, Microsoft, countless developers.

Here are the three competing new-gen consoles, adjusted so that their size roughly reflects how powerful their hardware is in relation to each other.

Here are the same three consoles, adjusted so that their size reflects their worldwide sales in 2007:

Fascinating how that worked out. And yet, guys like Epic games president Mike Capps are out there making stupid-ass statements about how they would never lower themselves to develop for the Wii because that would be "going backward."

This is epidemic in an industry that defines "innovation" purely by graphical horsepower and nothing else. Guys like him are utterly baffled that anyone could ever want a Wii, just because it, you know, offers a completely new playing experience.

Somehow these guys have gotten it in their heads that nothing counts for innovation except bump mapping and pixel shaders. "However can any human enjoy these outdated graphics without literally vomiting with disgust?"

Well, if these people would bother having a conversation with someone outside their own offices, they'd realize that the entire concept of "outdated" graphics is meaningless to 80 percent of gamers.

Want proof? Nintendo DS games look like this:

So let's see how that machine's sales compare:

Go check for yourself. They've sold more than 60 million of them. Tell you what, Mike. The next time you see some casual gamer tapping away at their Nintendo DS, show them a screenshot of Gears of War:

Don't be shocked if they point out your game seems made up of three colors (brown, gray, and muzzle flash). Sure, hard-core gamers know the difference, they know the game is a marvel of technology. The rest of us just want to have fun, or be told a good story.

And guess what, there are ways to give us that, and it doesn't involve spending millions on a whole new game engine that pushes the hardware to its limits. Such as ...

Hiring real writers ...

Hey, you know why Portal was such a great time? They hired top-of-the-line writers to write the story and dialog.

... then hiring competent voice actors to say the lines.

Don't skip this step. Otherwise you get this ...

That retarded clip is from Final Fantasy X, a game that cost $32 million to make. Come on, guys. Fork over a tiny bit of that to your story team. They need the money. And after they're on board, remind them ...

Put some work into the ending.

You owe it to us. We worked hard to get here. Don't send us away with a 30-second cutscene of the hero riding into the distance on a jet ski before the credits roll. Whatever happened to the Final Fantasy VI endings? You know, the one that was 20 minutes long and wrapped up the stories of every single character even briefly glimpsed in the game?

It's cool-ass endings that make us want to keep playing. Instead, we get games that graduated from the Metroid school of single-frame congratulatory text.


Fuck you.

After all, the idea is to reward the gamer for playing.

Hell, maybe we should have just said that and skipped this whole thing.


David Wong's descent into madness is chronicled in his horror novel coming out this fall. You may also enjoy his Gamer's Manifesto or his rundown of 7 Viral Videos You Didn't Know Were Staged. And speaking of video games, remember when the premises used to be about dinosaurs riding giant birds and all other manners of clown shit insanity? Ever wonder why? Find out in Video Game Pitch Meeting (1979).

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