As the Wii U gathers steam and the PlayStation 4 and next generation Xbox start to announce themselves, the previous generation of games has begun to reach its end. Even though games like “Call of Duty: Ghosts” and “Assassin’s Creed IV” will continued to be release on the current generation of consoles, now is the time to reflect on a few games that have defined this generation.
One game that single-handedly changed the industry is Rockstar’s “Red Dead Redemption”. At the time this game was announced, games that featured the untamed American West were few and not as famous as others.
When “Red Dead Redemption” was announced, the game brought new life into the Western genre and the open-world genre, where it bridged the gap between present day of games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Saints Row” and the historical times like “Assassin’s Creed” and many RPG’s. It also brought forth one of the most famous downloadable packages that game a zombie turn with “Undead Nightmare”.
Another game genre that gained popularity among the gaming world involved more than pressing buttons. Even though peripherals like the PlayStation EyeToy existed, the concept of moving more than the thumbs was odd until the Nintendo Wii. No other game encapsulated this idea more than “Wii Sports”, where players could play five mini-games like Tennis by moving a racket instead of pressing a button.
This game also brought video games to unheard places, like nursing homes, where the game would be considered therapy. The game bridged a gap from hardcore games to those who were fresh to video games without the violence that turned many away.
Violence, however, would not be hard to find in the gaming generation, especially in the first-person shooting genre. One series, however, brought a new element into the mix by putting serious issues into an otherwise repetitive genre. In the “Bioshock” series, the players are shown elements of story and presentation that was not seeing in widespread gaming.
In the original, cut scenes were replaced mostly with audio diaries and radio communication, where the game presented a dystopia that was heavily influenced by Ayn Rand and the Bible. In the recent game “Bioshock Infinite,” issues of racism, Manifest Destiny and religion were also very centric to the story as well as bringing in more elements, like a computer-controlled companion that added strategy to battle.
Although these game franchises were huge, one game beat them and became that game-changer in the industry. “Minecraft,” a game originally developed for the PC that later arrived to consoles, became an odd game to become popular. In the graphics department, it was extremely simple and pixelated; they could have been achieved on consoles like the Super Nintendo. The game also had no story and little soundtrack.
However, this game became huge because of the fact that it was simple. The open, creatable map, simple graphics and the capability to modify the game easily made this game popular for people wanting to share their ideas across the Internet without the hassle of actually making a game. The creative levels had people making also anything in the “Minecraft” world. This game defines what this generation was about: the Internet, with the creating, sharing and modifying content for others to enjoy easily.
These are not the only games to have been generation-defining. Other games include “Portal”: a modification of “Half-Life 2” that eventually changed puzzle games and brought an amusing narrative that centers around the possibility of cake.
Another great game is “Angry Birds,” a game that brought the mobile game industry running with simple mechanics and ideas. “LittleBigPlanet”, a PlayStation 3 exclusive, brought the “Minecraft” idea of creating and sharing to an easier level. Finally, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” showed that games can have tons of content, detail and innovation and that arrows can have terrible effects when going through the knee area.
Overall, the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have been around since 2005, and these consoles will forever be remembered by these games. Whether it is the casual games like “Angry Birds” and “Wii Sports” or action games like “Bioshock” and “Red Dead Redemption,” the next generation of games has big shoes to fill.