The Future of Video Games: Where Should We Go From Here?
When humans decided to strive for the stars, they went out and reached the stars.
Okay, so they didn't actually "reach a star," but you know what I mean: We broke earth's previously inescapable barrier and put out a tentative, probing finger. We sampled what was beyond. We came away with more questions than answers but those questions exist now, and they'll be answered by future generations.
How does this apply to video games? Well, if you really think about it, this is a form of entertainment that's in its infancy stages. It has such a long way to go, and we're only starting to glimpse our proud new advancements.
However, for the purposes of this piece, the question is not "where will we go," but where should we go?"
Is it really just about bigger and more realistic worlds?
The current trend seems clear: make our virtual worlds bigger and more realistic the whole way 'round. Our games are more immersive and dynamic than ever before, despite what some of the old-school purists might think. As a quick side note, the industry has changed so drastically that it's just plain illogical to compare the video games of today to those of two and three decades ago. I mean, we're just talking about completely different experiences.
Anyway, the point is that the future can't only be about bigger and more realistic, right? There's virtual reality, of course, but I have severe reservations about that. And besides, that also involves enhanced realism. What else might we consider, though? What, besides greater immersion via increased realism? It has to go past a higher resolution and frame rate; the gameplay has to go beyond running around and killing things.
Video games are about interaction. So, perhaps the future of gaming involves the definition of the word "interaction."
For the purposes of legitimacy in the eyes of the art community...
I'll always say video games are an art form. I don't see any other way to categorize them. However, gaming isn't exactly garnering headlines in the leading art-oriented publications and the industry itself appears to have a poor reputation in the eyes of the literati. As a student of the classics and a strong believer in a classical education, maybe the best thing we can do is emphasize the true artistic aspects of this great industry.
Maybe our advancements need to reside in the writing and design categories. Maybe we'll enjoy enhanced interaction when masters of writing and design lend their talents to the industry. There's nothing quite so involving as a perfectly presented story and atmosphere within a unique, fantastical environment. We have the free reign to produce a huge variety of entertainment; there are no limitations in regards to genre or category.
I believe that the technology will inevitably increase, so we shouldn't specifically seek that out. We need to seek out that which is most lacking, and that which could elevate this entertainment medium to another - previously inaccessible - level.
What if the best artists came together with the best science-and-tech?
This is what we should be striving for, in my estimation. What if we combined the excellence of multiple forms of entertainment in gaming? What if we took our best novelists from the world of books, our best composers from the world of music, and the best designers from the art world, and combined them with next-level tech? Like I said, I think the latter will happen, anyway, but what if we incorporate the talents of all types of artists?
In short, I really believe we should be heading in a multi-talented direction. Because gaming feasibly could embrace just about all forms of artistic achievement, I think it should. I'm not interested in purely technological improvements because - and I know this will sound old and stodgy, but whatever - such advancements have no soul. They don't mean much to me on a personal level.
That's what we need to do: Combine what affects us in a deeply personal way (granted by the artistic masters) and the technology we're all convinced will come with time.
What do you think?