I hope that we all agree that things in all industries, including the games industry, have to evolve: the future will bring us cars able to fly, trips to Moon and Mars, teleportation and… games so real and cool that we’ll all eventually end up living in virtual worlds, having the fun of our lives. Or holograms: maybe the games of the future will bring us holograms, as we can see in old sci-fi flicks, so we’ll “actually” carry guns, and run, and shoot, and jump, and everything… Or something else, something incredibly awesome and different, something our scientists haven’t discovered yet. One thing is clear, though: playing games in the future has to be mind blowing!
Unfortunately, some recent reports suggest that Nintendo plans to transform games of the future into utterly boring, simplified to the bone video sequences that will completely ruin the pleasure of playing a game, of doing it yourself, of living, feeling and breathing your favorite title. Because of that, gamers of the future might never experience the joy of beating Super Mario in eight minutes, of defeating frustratingly difficult bosses like Prince Thrakat from Wing Commander III or simply see if they can match the strengths of Ruby Weapon in Final Fantasy… Because of that, gaming will no longer be fun and Earth will be a sadder place.
If you don’t feel like reading about Nintendo’s recently filled patent, here is the short story: Miyamoto plans to make difficult games easier by offering players the chance to let the computer play through the tougher sections of the game. So you simply press a button and “Woof!” that final boss is gone and you’re the almighty winner! Just imagine – you’ll be able to finish all games without actually doing anything! Ain’t that the worst idea of all times (and, because of that, one that might actually become a reality)?
I know, they say that it will be better for those moments when you simply don’t have the skills to get through, or for the more casual audience, but we all know that as long as we have the chance of fast forwarding, we’ll do it: I remember that when I was younger I once wrote down a cheat code or two, to make sure I’d have some “extra help” in the shooter I was playing. And please trust me that the instant the first boss appeared and obviously proved to be tougher than the regular enemies, I inserted the cheat code and kicked the beast’s arse. Then, just like a drug addict, I kept activating the code more and more often until I eventually left it on until I finished the game. And that was the moment I had a revelation: I was frustrated, disgusted and had the strong feeling that I had thrown away some cash. I knew it was wrong!
And now Nintendo plans to take everything one step further: let the AI do the job for you, while you watch and eat a hamburger. At least when it comes to cheat codes, you still require some sort of skill to actually move through the levels and do some thinking, but in the future it appears that we’ll just have to watch the computer do it for us. And where’s the fun in that? Where’s the fun of saying “Dude, my computer finished the boss in 21 seconds, which makes it better than your stupid computer which needed 22 seconds to destroy it”?
Challenge is everything in video games (and, after all, in real life). This patent filled by Nintendo is just a step further to make us complete idiots. Games that play themselves are not games, are movies, and we already have enough of that. So I’m preying to God this patent remains nothing but a piece of paper. Otherwise, the future will be boring or, even worse, it will be something similar to the future “presented” in Idiocracy. Wouldn’t holograms and full 3D and such be a lot better?