Skip to main content

Platform Evolution

In Jane McGonigal's talk on TED, she compared the time gamers dedicate to playing to the time it took for humans to stand up right. She said that the time gamers spend on gameplay is, in it of itself, a form of cognitive evolution. I agree with this aspect of gaming because I see it in every gamer's experience. People are exposed to different genres of games and therefore develop or "evolve" to master that game. This change is caused by the very evolution of games themselves.

 Jesper Juul commented in his book, Half-Real, that games have drastically changed since the very first recorded form of gameplay, Senate. Many games are computer based now and have gone through several genres like arcade to home console. In fact, I believe that there is already a huge gap in the evolution between arcade games and console games. There are many people, like myself, who play console games that were originally formatted for older arcade style gameplay. Then there are people who grew up playing nothing but arcade games in malls or restaurants. There is a case to be made that if a gamer who plays a certain game on consoles, (and is really good at it), tried his/her hand at the same game on the arcade format, the results would be very different. In fact, there is a strong possibility that the gamer would not perform well.

I am not just making a theory, I have personally tested this on one of my favorite games series, Soul Calibur. I am proud to say that I am a fairly seasoned veteran at this fighting game, but the game was originally on the arcade format. Learning this, I was tempted to think I was just as good at the arcade variant, (or more accurately put "original format"), as I was at the Playstation 2 version of Soul Calibur 2. I quickly learned, however, that the muscle memory and skills of my console gameplay were nowhere near the same as the arcade version. The difference was literally in the formatting. No, I am not trying to blame the game for my bad performance, but the controls themselves were of two different time periods. I was not trained to use the older joystick and button layout that the arcade version offered. Plus, there was the x-factor of how the player was positioned during gameplay. I was used to playing while sitting in a chair or couch, but the arcade version doesn't provide seats so the tension of standing while playing also affected me.

The simple truth was that I was not exposed to this form of gameplay, so I was not evolved enough to play it well. I was trained to play the evolutionary step up from arcades. If I spent just as many hours playing the arcade as I did the console, my performance would improve drastically. However, because of today's market, consoles like PS3 and X-box 360 are more convenient for people who don't want to go to a specific location outside of their home to play a game.

I have seen people struggle to play platform games that are usually good at arcade games. I have also seen gamers struggle with switching between X-box 360 and PS3 games. I am one of these people as well. I tried to play the newest release of the Soul Calibur series, Soul Calibur V, on the Playstation 3 and I dominated, but when I played it on the X-box 360 I was not as good. It was the same problem I faced when dealing with the arcade version. The controls were alien to me. The buttons were the same but the joystick and the d-pad on the left side of the control were different than the PS3 setup. Plus, the unknown sense or feel of the controls just didm't sit well with me. What is really strange was when I played a different game for X-box 360, like Halo 4, and I was not bewildered by the same problems when I played Soul Calibur V. I had evolved to deal with the format of Halo 4 because it is specific to only the X-box, so there was no problem of switching mindsets.

Now it is more than possible to be good at more than one console or platform. The real challenge is having the time to evolve with each one. I can only imagine how complicated future games will be for my generation when we try to play.      


Popular posts from this blog

League of Legends and Gaming Theory... Unite!

Every time I start to make a post on this blog I think  "What game should I discuss? What is something I want to write about?" and I give myself the same answer every time, League of Legends. Yet I always decide that I should avoid it because Half-Real doesn't apply to League (<---Very wrong), but after essentially looking for any excuse to geek over League and flipping through the book again I realized it could have actually been the ideal example to so many parts of the book, and a near perfect example in many cases. It was as if Teemo had Q'd me with his Blinding Shot and I could not see how this book had anything to do with a no narrative unconventional game like League of Legends

    League of Legends is a part of a insanely fast growing sub-genre of Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games called Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA's and is currently the most played video game in the world. The basics of League can be summarized by using Juul's three r…

Posthumanist Ethics in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Delivered to the Far West Popular Culture Association Conference on 25 February 2018

As is so often the case with conference presentations, these 15 minutes comprise a snapshot of what should be a broader project; there are several papers to be written about the posthumanist ethic that infuses this game. I’m going to focus on The New Colossus’s use of non-human animals as ethical conduits, but first I want to make a brief case for taking this game’s political engagement seriously. Many of you probably remember that when the trailer for The New Colossus was released in early October of 2017, there was some backlash on social media from people who felt personally implicated by the tagline “Make America Nazi Free Again.” 
Tension in the aftermath of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally in August remained high, and to avoid further antagonizing the grumblers, Bethesda could have distanced itself with the old standby “it’s just a game” or even “it’s just a game that has always been about killing Nazis.” 
Instead, though, Pete Hines, the studio's vice president of …

Xenoblade Chronicles: Gamer’s Inside Analysis

The Xenosaga series gave the imagination of a story, with epic action and adventure with a feel of Japanese anime, into a different game that is equally large, if not larger, to the Xenosaga series on the PS2. Gamers that play Xenoblade Chronicles will think back to them playing Xenosaga, if they played any of them, and compare to Xenoblade Chronicles by amount of gameplay, the story, and the entire layout of the game itself.
The story starts on the creation of the world the characters live in, which are two giants, locked in battle, over a vast ocean and under an endless sky. The common denominator is the sea and the sky, because they exist in reality, but it’s clear 2 giants are fictional. One is called the Bionis, and the other is called the Mechonis. Then, all of a sudden, they are mysteriously frozen in time. So, “Eons” later, life and machines rise from these giant titans. It’s clear that the name Bionis has the prefix bio- which means life, and the prefix of Mechonis is Mech- me…