Video Games: A Paradigm Shift

By Al Zamora

June 14, 2010

Paradigm shifts occur all the time (not only in Final Fantasy XIII), just like the shift in technology to cellular phones and computers. Video games are no different. Let’s take a trip thru time and space to discuss some shifts that have occurred in our industry, shall we?

When would you have thought that video games would mature and erupt into a main stream medium where now consumers expect certain things that never would have been considered back in the day. Take basic graphics into consideration alone. Who would have thought we would have graphical comparisons between consoles and discussions on screen tear and environmental destruction ? I can still recall playing Contra and marveling at the graphics of the aliens in the game. Even Mario only had a mustache so you could tell he had a face! Now we need 1080p and 60 FPS because anything else would be uncivilized.

Aside from pretty graphics, we as gamers have become dependent upon the social aspect of gaming and will mock consoles like the Wii when they do not deliver these services correctly. Who can envision any console moving forward without an online component? We even have Facebook, Twitter and Netflix integrated into our consoles. I was happy as a kid just running into school and bragging about my ability to skip levels and hit warp tubes in Mario.

Now we even discuss how certain games should be multi-platform or timed exclusives. This never happened back in the old days. You had franchises that existed on NES or Sega or Turbo Graphx and you lived with it. No one would complain about special DLC for a particular system or how they were missing out because they decided to go with a particular console. As a kid you typically had one system and a friend or relative with another, and this is how you experienced cross-platform gaming. Who knew that generations later we would see Final Fantasy on an Xbox or Sonic everywhere?

The shifts continue to occur even in this generation of games. Look at the prospect of motion controls – it looks like now not one single console can lack some sort of motion sensing capability. In the not so distant past motion sensing was having a light gun and pressing it up against a screen to blast ducks or putting on a power glove that required nuclear launch codes for you to use it with a game. Now we will have pre-packaged games with this capability and a race, if you will, by major companies to adopt it into their development.

Video games will continue to evolve and change before our very eyes. Who knows what the future holds for us two generations from now? 3D, controller-less Minority Report style gaming, perhaps even games where you are actually in the game like Gamer? Who knows, but we do know that one day we will look back and wonder how we could have lived and gamed without them.

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Al Zamora

Al has been gaming as long as he can remember and will continue to game until his fingers break off or video games cease to exist. A New York native born and raised he crashed into the gaming journalism scene in 2006. Since then he has become the on air personality for DSTV and loves every second of cursing while interviewing developers about serious topics. Aside from being a gamer he also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering that does not help in the gaming world but does provide for fun stories when people say "what?".Favorite games: Contra (NES), Mega Man II (NES) and Final Fantasy III (SNES)

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