Back Talk: Modernization of video games causes debate about quality

Video games improve since beginning

by:RILEY GOLDEN/Editorial Assistant

Video games have evolved from a simple computer game with a mostly black screen to works of art that are growing more and more realistic by the year.

I can appreciate what those simple computer games have done for the video games we have today. After all, you have to start somewhere. But just because something is the original doesn’t make it the best.

Video games started out as pixilated little spaceships shooting at alien invaders on a black background. And even before that, there was “Pong,” a game in which the player essentially bounces a ball from one side of a black screen to another, similar to ping pong without the table.

Today, I played “Far Cry: Primal” on my Xbox One. This is a prime example of how far the video game industry has come. “Far Cry: Primal” is a first-person game that immerses the player into the Stone Age with lifelike textures and incredible Artificial Intelligence.


Artificial Intelligence, or A.I., is basically how other characters or animals interact within the game when not being controlled by another person. In “Primal,” random goats and deer are constantly being hunted by different kinds of wild cats and dogs. When a player encounters a pack of wolves, they will attempt to surround and flank the player, just as real wolves would act. This type of technology is barely even found in classic games such as “Duck Hunt,” played on the Nintendo Entertainment System, more commonly known as the NES, which came out in 1983.

In November of 2014, the Xbox One came out and is constantly receiving updates via the Internet for the games and the console itself. On top of that, it functions like a mid-to-high-level computer in almost all other aspects. The Xbox One can surf the web like any other laptop and has a YouTube app that would resemble those of a smart phone. With some help, my Xbox can connect me to 32 different players, all in different places across the globe.

“Primal” is also huge. The map is massive. Ubisoft says that it is just as big as “Far Cry 4,” which is 46 square kilometers, or 17.8 square miles. Compared to older games, even the more recent, that’s a lot of land to explore. I played many free-roam games in the early 2000s on the Playstation 2, and now when I go back and play them, it does not compare to the size of games that come out today. Maps used to be a quarter of the size they are now.

I do not have a strong distaste for older video games, and I really appreciate the road they paved for the games I play today. But games have evolved and improved in major ways since the days of “Pong.”

Video game transformation lacks originality

by: SERGIO MADRID/Staff Writer

In the past 50 years, games have come a long way from pixelated mini adventures that cost a quarter at your local arcade, and those weren’t even the first to exist.

Now the arcade is “the archaic.” Though the arcade-type games such as Pac-Man still hold a place in the gaming world, the time lapse of a game can now exceed that of a day’s worth of work. They can take more than 100 man hours to officially complete.

I still prefer the games that last no more than an hour of true entertainment. I was raised on the Sega and Super Nintendo consoles. Sonic, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, the Megaman X series, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Metroid were among my favorite titles.

As games advanced, I soon lost interest as stories lengthened, which should be a plus. Even with the introduction of memory and the ability to save game progress, I eventually would become bored. Another contributing factor to my sudden loss of interest was the decline in originality, and the not-so-subtle disappearance of some of my favorite video game characters. (Samus from the Metroid series, and X of the Megaman series).

I’ve tried to play some of the new generation games on XBOX and Playstation consoles, and some were quite enjoyable. God of War and some of the Resident Evil titles were not all bad. FIFA was fun, but they all eventually wore thin, and I soon lost interest and could not bring myself to continue to play after completing each game.

BHSPitMonkey_Old_School_Game_Controller_2 copy copy

That brings me to purchasing new versions of the same game, specifically, sports games. I’m not sure how FIFA ’15 is less enjoyable than FIFA ’16. The same goes for Madden or NCAA games. Come on, EA Sports. Capcom did this in the ‘90’s with Street Fighter II, and I always felt it was a dumb move. I know it’s a big market, and there’s money to be made. I cannot deny people will plow down a store and camp out for days for the new Fallout game, and parents will kill over an XBOX One for little Timmy on Black Friday, which is the day I believe inspired “The Purge.”

I would argue that video games make people lazy, but I would have to include all videogames ever made. So my opinion on that is that videogames are victims of “guilty by association,” as they just so happen to appeal to lazy people.

There’s a segment on ESPN called, “C’mon Man,” for when people, namely athletes, do things that are less than spectacular. If I could nominate someone for this segment, it would be a gamer who is next-to-legendary at Guitar Hero, who could’ve spent all that time and effort toward becoming an actual proficient guitarist. C’Mon Man!

I’m not against games, by any means. Everyone has his or her own niche. I just believe they are not what they used to be.

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