Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Things that suck: Technology upgrades for games

Okay, this one is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it sucks when you purchase an awesome, new iPhone, then five months later a new model comes out and makes your phone obsolete. On the other hand, its awesome being able to buy an old Pocket PC with wifi for only $20 on eBay.

Unfortunately, the problem goes from "understandable" to "freaking ridiculous" rather quickly when you look at the gaming market.

Case in point:

Today, the new PSP 3000 comes out. Not long before it, PSP Slim for $199. Stupid me bought the original $350 PSP "fat" way back in 2006, only two years ago. Two years, three upgrades.

The same thing happens to a much more noticeable scale with PC gaming. People have come to accept the fact that computers are getting faster and more powerful at an exponential rate, but do programmers have to program games that only run on top-of-the-line systems? Many of the games that are being programmed right now will never run on the computers of today. While it is much easier to upgrade PC gaming units than console units, wouldn't it make more since to program games with the average computer in mind? Instead, people have to download demos or pirate the games before hand just to check and see if the game can even run.

Ultimately, the real problem isn't that today's computers aren't powerful enough to make fun games, it's just that programmers have lost their focus. One of the reasons the Nintendo Wii outsold the competition so fast at the start of the console wars wasn't because of the graphics, but was because the whole concept was based around making games that are affordable and fun. When did the goal of computer programmers change from making good games to making good-looking games? More importantly, when will it go back to the way it was?


P.S. I do not not condone the pirating of PC games. Just throwing that out there...