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Games Entertainment

What is Next-Gen? 75

Posted by Zonk
from the toaster-oven-console-action dept.
Rosethorn writes "IGN's Sci-Fi Brain has a weekly column covering relevant topics in video games as they relate to science fiction. This week TK-422 defines what it takes to create a 'next-generation' gaming experience. He examines some innovative games from the past, and looks at where innovation will come from in the future." From the article: "Contrary to popular belief, the ability to create more realistic and lifelike graphical environments doesn't always count as innovation. Next-generation graphics should not just rely on a console's or PC's ability to render better visuals. Next-generation graphics should permit players to become completely immersed in the universe that the developers have created for them."
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What is Next-Gen?

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  • six years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scenestar (828656) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @07:54PM (#14738089) Homepage Journal
    The ps2 was considered next-gen.

    Next-gen is nothing but a fsckin buzzword.
  • It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jclast (888957) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @07:58PM (#14738116) Homepage

    Next-generation graphics should permit players to become completely immersed in the universe that the developers have created for them.

    So next-gen gaming is all about whether I have a good enough imagination to become immersed in a game?

    Attention /. reader! You are being led astray! The true next generation is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System! It has games in which you will become immersed! Final Fantasy IV! Final Fantasy VI! Chrono Trigger! Abandon your XBOX 360s! The next generation of games technology isn't about technology at all!

    Games have always been about story. Technological generations aren't about immersion, they're about the technology. The machine doesn't make me feel. It does math and pushes it to my TV. Video game designers and writers immerse me in the game, not the console itself.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:00PM (#14738129) Journal
    Next-generation graphics should permit players to become completely immersed in the universe that the developers have created for them

    Well, a well designed text MUD could qualify by this definition. Different things float different peoples' boats. In some ways, text adventures have an advantage... energy can be put into building a world, with the user supplying the graphics (imagination).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:01PM (#14738137)
    From TFA: "Gameplay innovation could range from the original Halo's ability to create a playable first shooter experience on a console controller."

    It's been a while for me (and I'm basically a PC gamer)...but what about Goldeneye? iirc, that was a pretty "playable" experience for a lot of people. Maybe they mean the total package (and I still think Goldeneye was at least as good--Halo's main bonus here was online play, sort of), but when they elaborate down below:

    "Innovation: Console friendly controls for FPS games."

    Goldeneye was pretty sweet in this department...

    Maybe I'm just a jaded PC gamer who thinks Halo is oversold.
  • Next Generation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dch24 (904899) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:09PM (#14738200) Journal
    From the article: Gameplay innovation could range from the original Halo's ability to create a playable first shooter experience on a console controller, to the creation of completely new genres such as the first RTS, FPS, or RPG.

    2001: Halo is released (XBOX)
    Innovation: Console friendly controls for FPS games.

    Okay, I'm not trying to start a flamewar here, but I wasn't that impressed by Halo's controls. Now, Splinter Cell on the other hand, had innovation in the way the controller was used. But "Console friendly controls"? 007 Goldeneye for N64 was a console friendly first person shooter. It doesn't matter whether you judge it by number of units sold, or that Goldeneye became the game packaged with the N64... Clearly, it was a Console Friendly FPS.

    Am I just missing something? Did somebody discover that Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-A-B-A-B-Sele ct-Start worked in Halo? Because otherwise, I'm really confused...

  • Re:It's a trap! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caffeination (947825) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:22PM (#14738284)
    Games have always been about story.
    I'm not flaming. I can tell you just weren't thinking about what you were saying. That you got modded up is slightly more disturbing.... anyway, onto my point, which I will give in list form:
    1. Pong
    2. Space Invaders
    3. Galaga
    4. Every racing game ever made with a few exceptions
    5. Every fighting game ever made
    6. Bishi Bashi
    7. Mario Party & Clones
    8. That's enough list items
    I'm fairly sure you're not generalising as much as your words themselves indicate, but then there is your use of the words "videogame writers", which makes me wonder if writers-as-in-authors have actually become that ubiquitous now.

    I'm sure we'd both agree, on developing the point further, that the immersion is found mostly in the gameplay, and fun gameplay is not tied to technological advances in the slightest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:28PM (#14738314)
    Exactly.

    Next-Gen is not something that we obtain or experience. You don't play a next-gen console. You play today's console. It's just a placeholder label for x+1 iteration of gaming systems and games where x is our current generation of said systems and games.

    Asking someone 'what does next-gen mean to you?' or 'what do you think of next-gen graphics?' is like asking them 'what does next year mean to you? What do you think of next year's weather?'

    The whole of the summary's paragraph is meaningless waffle that sounds like a corporate mission statement.
  • by Jacius (701825) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:18PM (#14739347)
    Slow framerates are not relevant to the discussion of innovative controls, nor are your own difficulties in finding objectives. Your third point has some modicum of merit, but you seem to forget that the N64 controller had only one control stick, while the Xbox had two; it would be impossible for Goldeneye to control both movement and aiming with control sticks... using only one controller. (I will also point out that, with some skill, a player could use the C buttons to aim while moving with pretty good results, certainly good enough for those situations where you must run and shoot at people above/below you.)

    But, seeing as how Rareware not only anticipated but delivered a two-stick control scheme (using two N64 controllers, one per hand) for a first-person shooter 4 years before Halo, I don't see how Halo can support any sort of claim to innovation in controls in that regard. Progress or refinement, possibly, but not innovation. Even Goldeneye is not so much innovative as it is a predictable successor to Turok.

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