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Where are the gameplay advances?

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Am I the only one who’s becoming increasingly disillusioned with games, or am I just playing the wrong games? Graphics have shown consistent improvements. Physics use has been improving too. Audio has seen variable improvements. Interactivity with game world? Hmmm. In Duke Nukem 3D I could shatter windows & blow up objects, at least the ones that I’m intended to be able to – everything else might be decaled to indicate being hit. Fast forward several years, in Doom 3 I can shatter windows & blow up objects that I’m allowed to – everything else is decaled to indicate being hit. Hmmm, does that strike anyone as odd? Almost a decade of technology improvements yet interaction with the game world is still the same? Half-Life 2, perhaps the pinnacle of physics & game interaction (Or so the reviews all indicate); lift/throw/drop objects, buoyancy – Deus Ex had these same features several years ago!
We’ve still only partial interactivity – most of the Half-Life 2 game world (for example) is locked out – you’re in a ruined city at 1 point, a ruined city with only 1 way to navigate it. Similar story with the mini-driving games; you’re stuck in a narrow channel – you get to ride a dune buggy -great ! But on a road blocked on 1 side by a sheer rockface, while on the other side a drop into the ocean & immediate death. Or what about a hoverboat – fantastic! But in a series of channels whose sides you can’t get over. There is no “world” in games like this; it’s just a series of somewhat wider & longer corridors with no ceiling.
More to come.

Written by Julio Franco

August 20th, 2005 at 5:10 am

Posted in blog