Experience Points: Gaming Has Been Reduced To Buzzwords
With the recent Watch Dogs fiasco concerning the reality that the game may not run at 60fps in 1080p, it still remains that gaming is very much concerned with buzzwords. Ultimately from my point of view gaming has effectively been reduced to buzzwords and whether you know the right buzzwords. Whether a game is rendered in “1080p” or “720p” is of the utmost importance, and god forbid that the game doesn’t run in 60fps, because we’ll need a medic to sort all the gamers burnt by such quibble. Last year, I wrote about the stupidity of debating resolution in relation to next-gen, now current-gen, consoles. Rather I appreciate a console for the experience it has to offer and the exclusives in its library.
But I just feel that we are now at a point in time when gaming has become just about buzzwords. I remember growing up with the Sega Megadrive (or Genesis for those outside PAL regions) and hearing the buzzword “blast processing”. What the hell was “blast processing”? It was just a marketing term that kids picked up and threw around as if they had some bearing on the actual quality of the consoles they played on. At that point in time, the Sega Megadrive was competing against the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), followed by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) which leveled the field. The terms “8-bit” and “16-bit” were used in the same way that “1080p” and “720p” are utilised in the current gaming space.
Gamers love buzzwords. They are something that can be latched on to and used to fuel a never ending discussion. Just take a look at some of the comment threads on aggregating sites like N4G, in gaming forums and on all sorts of gaming-related websites, and you can see that people are addicted to these terms in an unhealthy way. Problematically it is further exasperated by fanboyism on both sides of the fence, from both Microsoft and Sony camps.
What comes across is that marketing teams are effectively latching on to these buzzwords and making the most of them, as is the case for Watch Dogs. The game is being talked about. In the past, we used to talk about framerate and resolution in non-specific terms, in ways that are not as technical as is the status-quo at present. Of course, that is not to say that resolution and framerate were never spoken of. PC gamers were the ones concerned with these technicalities. If you were a console gamer, you didn’t worry about such things. These were not the issues at hand.
However, now that these technical terms have become buzzwords for the mainstream console crowd. Every new game out on the market, and even the PS4 and Xbox One by extension, are scrutinised in terms of their resolution and framerate capabilities. People are drawn to articles which talk about these buzzwords, an irony which can be had reading this very column.
I know that a game running in 1080p at 60fps is the supposed ideal. Yet should we not worry ourselves with the quality of games hitting the market? That, from my perspective, should be the focus of our attention as gamers.