Hyping Halo 3: A Sign of What's Wrong?

Matt Barton's picture

I just came across this rant in the New York Times on a familiar topic--why are modern games so inspid? The author goes into the usual criticisms about how shallow the vast majority of games are, and how they pale compared to the best in film. We've often talked here about how the film industry is so different than the games industry--there is, after all, a place in the film industry for independent films, and not even every Hollywood blockbuster is a mindless action extravaganza. Yet when we turn to the games industry, it's just one highly polished clone after another, right? What is Halo 3 but just the latest remake of Wolfenstein 3D (or 3D Monster Mash, for that matter?)

In a way it IS silly calling Halo 3 (of Halo 1, for that matter) a "cultural phenomenon." Let's call it what it is: a derivative game with a so-so plot and cardboard characters. Sure, it's pretty and compelling, but it wouldn't hold up as a film or novel (at least one that a non-gamer would care about). I'm not saying it's not fun--I'd be an idiot to say that--but it's a bit disappointing to think that it's 2007, and it's still all about the audiovisuals. Sigh.

Imagine this: Every six months or so you go the bookstore and buy the same novel. Same story, same text. The only thing that changes is the art on the cover, which gets a little bit more realistic every time you see it. Pretty soon, that damn cover art will look so real it'll be indistinguishable from a photograph. Who knows, maybe it will look MORE REAL than a photograph.

Get my point?

That said, there are developers out there busting paradigms, but they're not the ones we hear about in the mainstream press. Dreamfall? Totally unmentioned except in the gaming press. Half-Life 2? Well, it ain't Halo, so why bother? Psychonauts? Who cares, it isn't a MMORPG. How many people have ever hear of Syberia, Bad Mojo, or The Dig? Ah, they can't be bothered; the only adventure games worth playing are Myst and Monkey Island.

In short, I don't think the problem is that there aren't any original or artistic games out there. I think that the problem is that the only ones that attract the mainstream press are either over-hyped games like Halo 3, or publicity stunts like Grand Theft Auto.

Link via Grand Text Auto.


Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Mwoehahahahaha :)

Now THAT was funny.

Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.

Joined: 10/25/2006
Master Chief = Messiah?
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
No need for accuracy in the mainstream press...
Calibrator wrote:

Here's another weird thing:


take care

What's even funnier is that they're playing Xbox 1, not Xbox 360 in the photos! (check out the black Xbox 1 controllers!)

Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

Joined: 05/19/2006

Well, at least they evened things out a bit as they're playing Guitar Hero in the background!! When are people going to realize that playing video games doesn't translate into turning someone into a serial killer? There's probably been at least one person that could make the claim, but the vast majority simply want to have a good time. I liked the part in the article where they talk about "what's next...having porn video night at church...". Cheers


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