Games Are Starting To Show A Lack Of Creativity
Creativity is something that is needed in all facets of life. Even lifeless, dull tasks require some degree of creative thinking. But creativity gets the most value when it is injected into art, for obvious reasons. You won’t see an art gallery filled with blank canvases unless you suffer from severe hipsteritis. Gaming is also an artform even if there has been some opposition by film critics and Fox News reporters and we all know they have the same value as a blowup dartboard. But I fear that the gaming medium is running out of steam somewhat with regards to creativity.
Funny that I should mention the word “steam” in the previous paragraph because this is where I got my inspiration. Yes, the Master Race watering hole, Steam, has been giving us some much needed titles throughout the early year dry period. The most famous of which, if you look at the top sellers, are Early Access games. And they are remarkably similar for some reason. Always permadeath games with assholes trying to kill you with zombies in them in one form or another. This is now being done to the point of exhaustion and I feel that the developers are pandering to the masses rather than making something truly unique.
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I haven’t played one of these survival games myself, but I can see the attraction. It’s something that gamers have wanted for a long time and it’s now being realised in some way. But resorting to using the same ideas over and over in multiple games? Surely this is something that needs to be avoided. When one thing is offering a great experience already, then it’s rather pointless to provide an inferior version right? Seems not because the abundance of Minecraft clones and match-3 games already prove that some game developers do not have this mindset.
Copying things are okay. It’s more being influenced than directly copying. If people can’t be influenced then no progression or improvement would happen. But directly copying something else’s methods and not altering or improving them is just stupid. It just makes for stagnation and I feel that’s what’s happening right now in the industry. We’ve already seen this happen with modern shooters and it’s now even creeping into the indie scene.
Indie games in particular are starting to show a lack of creativity. If they are not cloning games directly, then they’re going on something that I call the classic indie game checklist. Pixel graphics, retro sounds, some weird mechanic and some form of big setpiece. While most of what uses this checklist is fantastic and worthy of your time, it too is in danger of stagnation. When a new indie game advertises itself has having “stylised 2d graphics!” and it “goes back to a classic age of gaming!” then I groan rather than become excited.
We are still getting creative games, don’t get me wrong, but the number is steadily decreasing. It is only natural because there is such an abundance of titles that doing something unique is becoming harder and harder. It feels to me that games are using already established mechanics and methods and then just making a fun experience out of it rather than going for something truly creative. But that’s just me. Maybe you feel different and I urge you to let me know.