Golden age of Gaming

Does anyone else feel we’re in a golden age of gaming? The Halo team can get a standing ovation at a concert hall, homebrew and demos are just a click away, it’s so mainstream it’s on MTV, and the amount of content we are getting is ginormous. WoW is a cultural/legal phenomenon, being online is becoming a standard for humanity (100 dollar PC project), and wires are becoming obsolete.

Granted, SoaP was something of a letdown for this zeitgeist, but it’s got a phenomenal growth rate. If I can get my parents online…

I have two comments on this:

If you think we are in the golden age, then you are getting old.
If you think we have already gone past the golden age, then you are old.

The games have only just begun, and we are still in the primordial period. Games in the next 50 years will be way beyond what we see today. Games in the next few hundred years are beyond anything we can imagine today.

I dunno, wouldn’t a golden age of gaming require a long list of great games? While I think there are plenty of good games, I don’t know that I’d say there are a lot of great games out here now (and can we even judge the goldenness of an era while we’re in it?).

I’d say maybe we’re in an age of rapid technological change with respect to entertainment - stuff like the PSP, DS, new game consoles, Conroe, HDTV gaining acceptance, stuff like FIOS coming around… cell phones, crackberries, getting online… lots of tech change, lots of it affecting gamers and moving it more mainstream (as you mentioned), but not necessarily a golden age of gaming.

P.S., The test for whether or not you’re getting old is when you start complaining about how much hamburgers cost. When you go to a McDonalds (or whatever) and start ranting “I remember when X cost 79 cents!” well then you’re old (BTW, I vaguely remember when McDonalds hamburgers cost a quarter…).

Totally agreed that we are. I don’t know if it will rival the amazing burst around 2001-2003, but it’s crazy good right now.

I dunno – I think there’s less variety, certainly on the PC side. The games have a high degree of polish now that they didn’t have years ago, but I miss the turn-based games, the tactical party-based RPGs, etc. The majority of games seem to be real-time and action-based. I grow a bit weary of those.

OTOH, action-based strategy games have probably never been better, and we have a wealth of choices in MMOs now that we didn’t have before.

There are so many good game out right now I could go bankrupt buying them all. And I’d need an extra 60 hours a day to play them all. My list of games I want to play but haven’t is longer than . . . my arm.

I mean, I haven’t even played: Shadow of the Collosus, Psychonauts, Katamari, any DS game, most recent PC games, the list goes on and on. There are just so MANY! And now you can play emulators on your PC, older games with DOSBox . . . I mean it’s just crazy.

Incidentally, the guys who invented DOSBox should get some kind of gaming award. We really do need a serious gaming award show/event in this industry. I mean, idiotic TV gets Golden Globes, Emmys, Soap Opera Awards, and on and on. Gaming gets crappy SpikeTV specials and TO THE XTRME! MTV shows?

I’d offer that we’ve been in the Golden Age of gaming for years and years now. It started with the 2600 and hasn’t stopped yet.

Haven’t you heard?

Gaming is d0med!

/me takes his gaming pc, his xbox, ps2, gamecube and soon to be 360 and Wii and runs off to play some more doomed games.

The Halo team can get a standing ovation at a concert hall

Actually, shit like this isn’t a sign of some “gaming golden age,” it’s a sign of just how bad things have become for those of us who appreciate good music.

If you want to do a tune off I’m ready. Get your best speakers and lets trade mixes.

[cranky mode]The Golden Age of videogame music was in the mid '80s on the C64 as any fool can plainly see.[/cranky mode]

There have always been more games that I wanted to play, than I had the time to play, so I suppose in a way it has indeed been a neverending golden age for me since the 2600. Still, there are ebbs and flows within that. I think the mid-80s 8 bit era was an astounding period. 1998 may still be the best single year for PC games. Right now, for me, it’s still pretty much “the age of WoW” so I don’t have a good bead on how the rest of it is going.

Pfft. Actraiser 2 schooled you ALL!

…but I miss the turn-based games, the tactical party-based RPGs…

God, you and me both. My two favorite genres.

I rate this age an 8.7.

People just don’t give the Bronze Age enough credit.

For me, the Golden Age of gaming was in the mid-80s, when I and everyone I knew had a Nintendo.

I’m not sure or anything, but I think the Golden Age has passed. I mean games may look beautiful these days and there is stuff to look forward to, but I think the kind of creative and technological bursts at the transition of 16-bit consoles to 32-bit was what we could call a defining period. I don’t think it’s just nostalgia that keeps us playing the games of those years.

Maybe we’re in the Golden Age of Gaming Hype.

My short answer is this: yes we’re in the golden age. And we were in the golden age 4 years ago. And we’ll be in the golden age in 5 more years.

Long answer: Gaming is improving by leaps and bounds. Creativity in gaming isn’t dead at all. Old-school gamers think back fondly on all those old games they played and think it was more creative and the games more fun and, in some way or another, more ubiquitous. Or at least that the club was more tight-knit. You don’t have to go back and play too many retro games to realize that our memories of them are better than the games actually were. When we wish games would be like they were 15 years ago, what we really want is to have the games we remember, not the ones that actually were. A few of them still hold up beyond the grips of nostalgia, but even those could use some serious updating in many ways.

By almost any objective measurement, games are far better today. They look better and sound better. The interfaces are simpler or at least more refined, yet the in-game actions are just as complex (if not more so). They’re more culturally relevant, but there are still plenty of oddball games that are abstract or completely fantastical. Games are cheaper to get into (adjusted for inflation), easier to find, and easier to enjoy with friends.

In 2021, the 30-somethings will look back at the mid-2000s and remember fondly those amazing old games and think that was the best time, while others argue whether the early 2020s is “the golden age of gaming.”

The first couple decades of the movie business were marked by very rapid technological progress, and the hit movies are the ones that showcased those innovations at the expense of story (sound familiar?). They invent stunt falls and explosions, and figure out how to film a car chase, and suddenly every movie is a thinly veiled ridiculous plot to go from one stunt fall and car chase to the next. In many ways, that’s where we are with games. There’s a big difference, though: interactivity.

Because games are interactive, the rapid technological progress does more than just let us put niftier stuff on the screen. It makes the interaction better. Physics. Character animation and facial expression. Randomized worlds and full world simulations. Online play. Downloadable demos. If the goal of the game is that the interaction is fun (whether it’s because it’s visceral or immersive or outlandish or you’re thrust into the middle of a good story), the march of technological progress results in, on the whole, better games.

So yeah, this is the golden age. And every few years will be the new golden age until the rapid technological progress planes off (if it ever does). To some people, they will view the years just after that inflection point as the new golden age. To each their own.