Innovation Vs. Fun
So something has been bothering me lately. Is Morgan Freeman perhaps Gordon Freeman’s long lost black brother? There’s your joke for the day. Hope you enjoyed it. See, I’ve been noticing a trend (I seem to be good at it or something) where gamers always cry for innovation and new ideas, but when a game that’s fun gets plopped into their moist disk-drives, it gets tarnished for not being original enough or not have any new ideas. It’s still a fun game though even if it does not do anything different, but this does not seem to bother these hypothetical gamers. I find this rather puzzling as you would expect.
Recently I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf and I have to say that it’s immensely enjoyable. It’s a little time-waster and it gives you something to do when you have a few minutes to spare. The game itself isn’t mind blowingly original and it’s rather primitive in its presentation somewhat. You farm stuff, you sell that stuff in order to get more tools to get even more stuff. You can also decorate a bunch a stuff to look pretty and do nothing else. But by Athena’s scroll, it’s enjoyable. I’m having fun. It makes me happy. Does it innovate beyond my wildest dreams? Not even a little bit. Should that matter? Not at all.
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In this day and age we always want the hip new thing. Something original and not what we’re already used to. This is what you call a trend, ladies and gentlemen. In the slightly olden days, WW2 shooters were the thing everyone was doing, but as the years went on it started to stagnate. Then CoD4 came into the picture and introduced a more modern take on wars and it blew everyone away. What do we have today? A stagnation of modern military shooters. But the thing that stuck with me is that during both of these stagnation periods was that I still enjoyed the games. Sure, they were a dime a dozen, but I enjoyed them because they allowed me to shoot stuff and I enjoy shooting stuff.
Some games have their fair criticisms such as being overly repetitive or lacking any substance whatsoever and that’s just fine. But then you get games that are very enjoyable, but do not do anything new or innovative and get ignored and almost shunned for it. The perfect example of game such as this is Binary Domain. It brought absolutely nothing new to the table and everything in it has been seen a million times over already, but it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played in a long while. It had me addicted to the point where the phrase “I really should probably go to sleep” was uttered. It didn’t innovate, but it was fun. And that’s more than enough for me.
I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again. I’m not against innovation at all. On the contrary, in fact. But the focus on it as the “be all, end all” of gaming can not be considered healthy. We still get enjoyable experiences that manage to entertain us immensely, but use things we have seen before already. Stop assuming everything is going to be the “next big thing” and you will be so much more happier for it.
This is probably why I still love the Assassin’s Creed series so much. While everyone was whining about the annual releases being the last deadly sin and the games starting to stagnate, I was gleefully running around stabbing a bunch of people. Sure, some of the later games used a lot of the same ideas and gameplay mechanics, but that didn’t bother me none. It was still the enjoyable experience I’ve come to love and I was satisfied with that.
The same can be said for Call of Duty games. For all their annual releases and angry fanboys, I still rather enjoyed each installment. Sure, they didn’t blow my balls off like CoD4 did when it was still considered innovative, but I still liked playing them. It was fun to just settle down and enjoy a little masculine shooting action for a little while.
So yeah, I like having fun. Sue me.