I don’t like to brag[1], but I’ve been a fan of video games since the Atari 2600. In the time since I played Combat and ET [2], gaming has gone through several massive iterations.


The Lead Up



I remember when I had received the original Super Mario Brothers as a gift. I looked at the back of the box and was astounded by the graphics. There was no possible way it would work on my Atari, could it? I was quite bummed when I opened the box and saw that, indeed, the cartridge was in no way compatible with my Atari.

Fast forward several years[3]. I remember seeing Doom and, eventually, Mechwarrior. Now those were massive events. Games could do that? Bringing the camera to the first person in a fluid way was so neat!

Games became more and more interesting – yet were still relatively underground. Talking about video games was still more likely to receive disapproving looks than create conversation. Warcraft 2 was amazing, and I had to explain it to others to get them excited at all. Usually they wouldn’t get excited – ah well.

Then there was Half Life, System Shock 2, and Deus Ex. Now, gaming had taken on a whole new level of combining story telling with interface. It was amazing.

Since then, I’ve had the sense of things being more of a progressive iteration. I’ll visit the world of Second Life to perform music, but that’s not a game – it’s an interface of a virtual world. In a sense it is similar to any other social networking, but with active avatars and people who make some neat things.


Present & Future


But, in terms of games nowadays, I find my time occupied by other things and rarely do I get a chance to play. Occasionally, (ok more than occasionally), I check out game sales sites and see what’s going on. It’s like asking an old friend for postcards of wherever they’ve gone off to.

I recently saw this one on Youtube:

It’s quite amazing to see how the physics of games are growing.

Alternatively, you can also see how the realism of games is also developing (caution – graphic nature):

But beyond these, if you’re really interested in the aspects of human experience – which is so much of what art is, consider giving this Atlantic article a read[4]. It’s written around the person who developed Braid – which is also a very excellent game. But you get the sense that Jonathan Blow is interested in an expression of art in the medium more so than where gaming seems to have been heading.

“Now, one of those core competencies for games is a certain kind of nonverbal complex communication, right? You play a game for hours, and at the end of it, you hopefully have this somewhat sublime complex understanding of something that’s hard to verbalize, because you got it nonverbally”

I’m totally fascinated.

  1. Yes, I do.  ↩

  2. Yes, I actually attempted to play ET. I had no idea that it was so terrible – I just kept thinking I didn’t know what I was doing.  ↩

  3. We’ll skip the Amiga, but we shouldn’t because it was amazing.  ↩

  4. A bit lengthy, but worth it.  ↩