Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Top 10 Video Game Related Things People In The Past Wouldn't Believe

So, there's a theory. If someone could in fact time travel to the past, would their actions truly change the future? There's a few possible answers to this, but let's take this route -- they'll only change the future if what they do in the past leaves a big enough impact. So, what does this mean? Well exactly what it sounds like. If someone were to travel into the past and do something major, it'll have some sort of noticeable change on the future; however, if they were to travel into the past and no one cared about what they did, it would be so small of a change that it wouldn't even matter. So, how does this apply to video games? Simply look at all that's happened in the industry, and you'll see what I'm getting at.

This list is the top 10 things a time traveler could tell someone in the past, without changing our current future because no one would believe them (at that time). Before I begin this list however, I'd like to remind all of you one thing... This list was originally written in December of 2016, and because of that it will not include whatever major video game events that will happen after this point. Of course even if someone from the future told me some of these things that are going to happen, I doubt I'd believe them... Thus leaving room for a possible second list... And on that note, let's get started.



1. The Graphics of the Future:

Okay, to kick this one off let's get the most basic one out of the way...

Imagine you have just traveled back in time to the days of the Atari 2600, and you decide to tell everyone what the games of the future look like. How are you going to do it? Do you really think you'd be able to convince the world that video games will one day look BETTER than even their top Hollywood movies? Yeah, good luck with that. Pretty good chance you'll be ignored, and your crazy rantings of the future will be forgotten.

Sure, the Atari wasn't the first game console to hit the market, nor did it have the most advanced games of their time (as arcades existed), but this was what most house holds had back then, and it's what they were used to seeing. Even those who worked in the field of game design would most likely have a hard time believing your claims, as the technology to create something like that was just unheard of. Maybe someone out there might believe you, but unless you bring back physical proof that you're a time traveler, even they might see what you're saying as just a dream.

Either way, whatever you try to tell these people about future graphics, you're not going to change the way time progresses, and you'll most likely be forgotten. So, the only thing you can do now is move on to your next stop.

2. How Big the Game Industry Will Become:

After trying to convince the early gamers of the Atari era that graphics will advance into something they could never imagine, you decide to head to the early 1990s. In this time period a lot has already happened with games, and the general public's feelings are pretty mixed. In their life time they got to see the video game industry rise, they got to see it completely crash and burn, and they saw this new Japanese company "Nintendo" rise up and bring it all back with the release of the NES. So, you'd think it would be easy to convince people that games are here to stay, and that the industry will continue to advance and grow, right? Wrong.

It may sound funny to be hearing this now, but in the early 90s a lot of people, mainly parents, didn't like the idea of having new game consoles. They bought the NES, they saw this "SEGA thing," and now Nintendo was trying to make them buy yet another console called the SNES. Needless to say, these things weren't cheap back then, and it's understandable that parents wouldn't want to have to keep buying new consoles... But to call the entire industry a scam? That's pushing it a bit far.

Using your own "time machine" in the form of online videos, you can see this for yourself in the form of interviews. In the 90s a lot of parents actually thought video games was just a scam, and that companies were only releasing new consoles to make more money. In their eyes, hardware didn't need to advance, and that games could continue being made for what they already had (the NES). Meanwhile others just saw the whole thing as another passing craze, and they felt it wasn't worth spending money on. To all of these people, video games were just a dumb kid's thing, and they would never go anywhere... So, how are you going to convince them that they are wrong?

The industry back then is completely different from what we see now. What was once just a small form of entertainment, is now one of the largest in the world and it continues to grow. It has become a major part of this world that we live in, and even non gamers are invested in it. From mobile and social games, to indie developers following their dreams, to large AAA $1,000,000 budget titles, games have evolved into something much bigger, and they are in fact here to stay. So, again, how are you going to convince these people of this? Pretty good chance you'll be laughed at, and be accused of being involved with the "scam" personally. Them video games... Just a waste of time and money. Never gonna go anywhere.

3. The Digital Future:

Up until the 2000s, digital gaming wasn't really much of a thing. Yes there were PC games you could download, and there were some failed console ideas in the past, but in general digital just wasn't an option. Video games were released as hard copies on disc, and you would either go out to the store and buy them, or rent them from your local rental place. That's the way things were, and how things continued for a very long time. Then consoles like the Xbox, PSP, PS3, and Wii hit store shelves, and the whole PC digital download thing hit all gamers everywhere. While it did take some time for each of these consoles to get to the point where you could download full games of almost any kind (as Xbox had Live Arcade, and Wii used the virtual console for older games), they did eventually get there, and some gamers today actually prefer going full digital. This is the age we live in, but it's something that our past selves would have had a hard time understanding. How would you convince others that one day nearly all of the games in the world would be up for download on a server somewhere, and that all you had to do was use a credit card (or point card) to buy and download them to your gaming console -- which now also had a built in HDD just like a PC. This sort of think was unthinkable in the early generations, and even those who did pull off something similar (Sega Channel for example) it was clearly very limited and nothing like what we have today. For the people of that time, this new digital age is a whole new world, and even if some were to believe your stories, they would never truly fully understand how things have progressed.

4. Mario & Sonic Together:

Staying around the same time period, you'll find yourself caught up in the whole "SEGA does what NintenDONT" console war. Nintendo fans calling their NES (and later SNES) the better console, SEGA fans going on and on about blast processing, and both companies taking constant jabs at each other. This is what it was like back then, and it's how things would continue for a very long time. Now, how about we tell the fans about Mario & Sonic? Think anyone will buy it? Yeaaaaah, no.

Sonic games being released on a Nintendo console isn't much of a shock in today's world, but up until the Dream Cast was dying out, it was just flat out unheard of. Nintendo and SEGA were huge rivals, they had their own exclusive games, and there was no way that Mario or Sonic would switch console sides -- it's just how things were. When the DC did die however, it wasn't as big of a shock to start seeing games like Sonic Adventure 2 being ported to the Nintendo GameCube (still something fans would have never expected in the 90s), but a crossover itself still seemed unlikely. Then, it happened, and it wasn't anything like we expected. Not only did we get a game where Mario & Sonic were together, it was an official Olympics video game, and it was something that would turn into a series all its own. Can you honestly say you ever saw this one coming? I think not. Even if you came across a leak a day before it was announced it would have been hard to believe, but it was true! And here we are today.

Now, going back to the 90s... How are you going to handle this one? Are you going to go up to every Nintendo fan and tell them that Sonic would one day be on their console? Or are you going over to the SEGA fans and let them know their beloved Genesis would one day span multiple follow ups that were fated to fail? Even if you just flat out told everyone about Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games without saying what console it was on, you'd most likely just be made fun of... Again... You would be seen as one of those rare kids who owned both consoles, and had dreams of a future that would never be. Or you'd just be called crazy. Yeah, crazy works.

5. Nintendo Creates Their Biggest (new) Rival: 

Might not seem like much of anything now, but again, you're in the 90s.

Back when Nintendo and SEGA were still going at it, other companies tried to enter the fray, and constantly failed. Nothing out there could really beat the "big two," and things didn't seem like they were going to change. This was when Nintendo decided that it was time to advance their own technology by switching from cart based games to CD ROMs. For this new hardware, Nintendo originally teamed up with the Japanese company Sony for what was going to be known as the "Nintendo PlayStation" -- a SNES with a built in CD Drive. Well, long story short, things happened... Sony wanted the rights to Nintendo's IPs, Nintendo didn't like it, Sony thought their deal was still on, Nintendo went behind their back and teamed up with Philips instead. This event is what lead Sony to take matters into their own hands, and create a game console all their own.

So, why wouldn't you be able to convince people of this in the past? Well, just look at that story. How likely is it that Nintendo would bring another company into the market, and how likely was it for them to actually succeed when so many others failed? Looking back on it, it's actually pretty shocking things became the way they are now. Seriously, who is even going to buy into the idea that this "PlayStation" console would ever be created, yet alone out sell the Nintendo one day? (Wii U vs PS4.) Even if you ran around telling Nintendo or Sony about the deal, it's very unlikely that they would listen to you and history would continue as normal.

6. The Power of Handhelds and Mobile Phones:

Jumping ahead to the end of the 90s, gaming has advanced quite a bit. Games are now fully 3D, CD ROMs are now common, arcade games are getting more and more advanced, handheld gaming devices are now true gaming devices (and not just Tiger Games), and even mobile phones are getting simple games like "Snake." Things are looking pretty good, but yet still so far from what we have now.

When walking into an arcade in 1999 you could possibly spot two things. One, the arcade "racer" titled "Crazy Taxi," and two, someone playing Crazy Taxi who owns a basic cell phone. How do you think they would react if you told them they could just play Crazy Taxi on their own instead? Yep, impossible. It would take a lot to convince someone that a full 3D game with "realistic graphics" like Crazy Taxi could be playable on a mobile phone, but guess what? It's true. In today's world we have Crazy Taxi, we have Pac-Man, we have the PS2 classics like Grand Theft Auto, and we even have games that come close to today's console quality. Sure we aren't quite there yet, but with handhelds like the PlayStation Vita, and the upcoming Nintendo Switch console, we just keep getting closer and closer. This isn't something someone in the late 90s would believe though. To them a cell phone was just a phone, and anything extra was an unlikely bonus. Snake wasn't on every phone out there, and unless you lived in Japan where things started to evolve into the smart phones we know today, they didn't have much use outside of simple calling... And maybe a note pad. Yeah, you're not convincing anyone with your stories of gaming on your phone.

7. Square and Disney Teaming Up:

So, Disney has always been pretty big, and it still is. We love the classic movies, they've released multiple successful shows, and then there's the whole Disney Land and World thing. Needless to say, this is a company that isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and they will continue to grow (heck, they even own Marvel and Star Wars now). But in the early 2000s they did something no one would have expected -- they teamed up with Square-Enix to release a brand new JRPG.

Now days Kingdom Hearts isn't a shock. It's a massive franchise that also continues to grow, and it looks like it'll be around for many more years to come. Even with the completion of the current story arc (which is said to come to an end in Kingdom Hearts III), more is planned for the future. But what if you traveled back in time to a period Pre-KH? Do you really think you can convince others that this crossover will one day happen? I mean, come on. What does a series a company like Square, and a series like Final Fantasy have in common with Disney? They didn't own Star Wars yet so you couldn't use that as an excuse... Oh wait, in Japan they share an office. Even so, what's the chances of a... chance... meeting on an elevator that will spark such a strange, yet epic, series? Well, that is what happened, but it's very unlikely that as a time traveler you could convince those in the past that it'll one day exist. Even if you brought back proof, most will assume you faked it. This is just one of those rare games that no one would have ever thought would happen, but it somehow did.

8. MEGAMAN IS DEAD (Sort of):

Oh Mega Man Legends 3. Remember when this project was announced and how excited everyone was? Well, it was a big deal. After Mega Man Legends 2 ended in a cliff hanger roughly 10 years before it, Legends 3 was something MANY fans had been waiting for. There really seemed to be little to no hope of this project ever happening, but when it was officially announced fans went nuts. Finally the game of their dreams was on it's way, and to top it all off it was coming to the brand new Nintendo 3DS. The project showed a lot of promise from the get go, but Capcom actually took all of that a step further.

The Dev Room was a special community within Capcom-Unity, and it was seen as a new way to develop games. Rather than making the game on their own, Capcom decided to let fans get in on the action. Each of us got assigned Servbot numbers, forums were set up where you could submit ideas for the game, and special events were held where our own user created content would have a chance appearing in the game (in fact, my boss idea was one of the final few that made it to Capcom's desk -- only to lose in the end... Poor mecha duck...). The Dev Room alone brought life back to Capcom-Unity, and it brought together so many Mega Man fans that it was actually pretty amazing to see. The late night chats on the IRC channel, the thousands upon thousands of discussion topics popping up all across the site -- it was all so crazy, and unless you personally a part of it, there's no way you could possibly understand just how great this truly was. So, during all of this excitement and chaos, how would a time traveler break the news of Mega Man Legends 3 being canceled, and the Mega Man series "dying" along with it? Yep, no way.

The thing is, the cancellation of Legends 3 was leaked a few days before the official announcement. Originally the plan was to release a paid for demo on the new Nintendo 3DS eShop, and then based upon the sales they would see if the game was worth putting into full development. We all knew there was a small chance that this game wouldn't be made, but after all of the events, and everything Capcom had done over the last year, it was almost guaranteed that the game would be made! So, imagine our surprise when the eShop launched, and Capcom didn't release that demo... Instead the Japanese site seemingly closed down, and rumors of the game's cancellation spread. Of course no one believed it. Even with pretty solid proof, no one would admit that the game was history. Not until that fate full blog post that is...

So yeah, this is really one piece of news a time traveler couldn't ruin. Especially during during the all time high of the Dev Room's activity.

(Note: At this moment in time Mega Man is "dead," but it isn't fully gone. Mega Man has since appeared in Super Smash Bros, new comics have been released, a Mega Man X novel is in the works, X is appearing in the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom game, and Capcom promises to bring the series back at some point in game form. Even so, it's been a long time since the release of the last Mega Man game, and for a series that used to release games basically every year... It is quite sad to see.)

9. Konami and Metal Gear Solid:

 Man... Remember when Metal Gear Solid V was officially announced? This was THE game people. Up until then, the Metal Gear series was one of the king's of the game industry. It revolutionized what gaming used to be back when the first Metal Gear came out, and it continued to grow and expand changing how stories were told in games as well. Just about every release became an instant classic, and although not all fans agreed with every decision (looking at you MGS2), there was no denying that it was one of the greats that every gamer should at least try once. As for the man behind it? Not only did he prove that an underdog could rise up to become an industry great, but Kojima surpassed everyone's expectations and became an icon within the industry. He really was (and still is) someone special, and we still look forward to his games even today... But that's besides the point.

Look, I'm not saying that I agree with everything he does, nor do I like everything he's been a part of. He's not actually some king or anything, but there's no denying that he has accomplished some great things, and many fans expect a lot out of him when he releases said games. So when Metal Gear Solid V was announced, it's understandable why everyone got so excited. It was Metal Gear Solid, with Big Boss, in an open world, with what looked to be an amazing story. It was a series with no real end in sight, and everyone was excited to see what was coming next... So, time traveler, what are you going to tell these people?

Putting aside all feelings on how MGSV actually turned out, let's talk about what happened. To put it simply, Konami, the company Kojima works for, hates Kojima. They stripped his name from the front of the game's cover, they locked him in a room on a different floor of the building, they didn't allow him to speak to his team, and to direct the game he was forced to send messages through someone else. How do you make a game like that? Well, I guess you technically don't. While Kojima was able to guide his team to "complete" the game, it really appears to be a shell of what it was meant to be. The game engine is solid, the gameplay mechanics are great, and the things you can do in this world are actually pretty amazing (for example, you can use a sniper to take out power lines to cut power to a base). There's a lot to MGSV, and it still has an interesting story overall, but it's clear that this game isn't what it was actually meant to be. Most of the story is told through radio conversations, there's not many actual cutscenes to be seen, there's only a handful of main story missions, and a large chunk of the game is made up of repetitive side missions that cause you to revisit the same areas over and over again. It's a shame to see the game get so cut back, but it's also pretty crazy to think that it even got finished in the first place with the sort of working conditions this team was put under.

If you were to travel back, you're not going to be able to convince people that this will one day happen. You could try going back to any point before the announcement of MGSV, and no one would ever believe that Konami would do something like that to him -- one of their star staff members. On the other hand, you could travel to any point after the announcement of MGSV, and those same people will still not believe it, nor will they believe that the game will end up being rushed and "unfinished." Both things were just so very unlikely, that even when the rumors began popping up we didn't believe them. It's still hard to believe actually, but what's done is done, and Kojima has moved on to bigger (and hopefully better) things.

10. Mighty No 9:

Mega Man is "dead." As mentioned above, we're currently in a period of time where Mega Man games just don't happen. We here promises of more to come, but we have yet to actually see this. That's when Inafune, the "father" of Mega Man decided to step back into the picture and do something of his own. I still remember it just like yesterday. Getting home after working at my family's bakery, getting on Skype to see my friends freaking out over some new Kickstarter project, and that image of a strange little robot popping up along side Inafune's name. A brand new action platformer, made in the style of the classic Mega Man games. It. Looked. AMAZING! Finally Mega Man was "back" but in a new form! Inafune was back at it again, and I personally couldn't wait to see where this project went! The hype was real, and that concept video they released was outstanding. Both Inafune and Inti made great games in the past, they were reviving a series I loved, and the future looked bright. Seriously, there was no way this game could fail as it was everything fans were asking for. Yep, it was going to be great. Oh, you're saying that this isn't true? Yeah right! Like you know the future or something? You really expect me to believe this game is going to fail? Ha ha, good luck making anyone buy that stupid story! Go cry like an anime fan on prom night.

The sad reality of this project is, it was nothing like we expected. Putting aside the bad (and offensive) advertising, there were many other problems with this game's development, and we were mislead in so many different ways. First of all, one of the Kickstarter goals mentioned how it would include two extra levels. The game was called Mighty No. 9, and we knew that the other 8 mighty robots were going to be the bad guys, but what we DIDN'T know was that those "two extra levels" were actually might no 7 and 8 (if you believe Inafune that is). No where did they mention only having 6 of the 8 bosses in the original plans (why even have them if they didn't plan on using them?), and when we reached the goal they passed it off as fact. Second of all, the milestone that would add Call as a playable character, also didn't really deliver on it's promise. Call was only playable for a single puzzle level, and in a mini co-op mode (which was also a let down compared to what they made it seem like). That's it. These are just two of the misleading things to come out of this game, with one of the major ones being that teaser that was developed in "two weeks" that ended up looking a lot better than the final product itself. Sadly, things get even worse from there...

Although the project received millions of dollars worth of funding, Inafune chose to use the outdated Unreal 3 engine rather than the newer Unreal 4 (which was actually pretty cheap at the time, and is now free for use in today's world), which caused the game to suffer multiple technical issues. Because of these issues the game was hit with delay after delay after delay, and even the finish product suffered from technical problems across multiple platforms. Despite not looking anywhere near as good as it did in the teaser, the game still suffered from framerate drops, freezing, glitches, etc, and things only got worse when playing on weaker consoles like the Nintendo Wii U. Sadly Mighty No. 9 couldn't deliver on what was promised all those years ago, and it's uninspiring stages and bosses really didn't help much.

Now let me make this clear, I'm not actually hating on the game. I actually gave the game an "okay" review. The game can still be fun, and it might still be worth checking out due to it's low price point, but there's no denying that it isn't the game we were promised back when it's Kickstarter launched. Because of this, MN9 is one of the biggest let downs of 2016, and most will have a hard time forgiving it for it's low, million dollar, production value. Unless you were one of those who were really looking forward to this game, there's no real way to describe just how big of a let down this game was, and even those who liked it can still see it doesn't live up to what it should have been. Sure, you can say it's "better than nothing" (which, was a translation error people) and enjoy it for what it is, but there will be those who can't and will always hate it for that... Go back to 2013 though, and you'll never convince the masses otherwise. To them, MN9 is the Mega Man game they've waited years for, and it's release date can't come soon enough.



The future is a funny thing. One minute you think you know what to expect, but then everything gets flipped upside down and nothing is as it "should be." As with life in general, this will also always be the case with video games, and even if we were to travel back in time we couldn't change that. There are things people will just never believe about the future, until it's right in front of their face. But maybe it's better that way. The things that happen to us in life, and the events we live through are what makes us who we are today, and going back in time to change that would be like undoing how far you've come. When it comes to games, maybe it's better for our past selves to not know as well. Back then, at each of these moments, we got to live in and enjoy our own fantasies. We got to look forward to games like Metal Gear Solid V, and Mighty No 9, unaware of their rocky releases, and back before games really took off we got to dream about what things would one day be like. Going back to tell ourselves, and others, about the future would just be spoiling the fun. It would be better to just let everyone see for themselves what's to come, and enjoy the ride along the way. (Not that anyone would believe you if you were a time traveler.)
 

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