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Old 01-30-12, 12:55 AM   #1
Decker
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What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

I was thinking about this today as we near the end of this generation of hardware : Two generations ago (the PS1/N64 era) it the most revolutionary change in consoles had to be polygons. It allowed you to play games in 3D space. You could have 3D platformers like Mario 3D and Spyro, you could have 3D shooters like Syphon Filter and moved fighting games out of the 2D plane with Tekken and Virtua Fighter. I'd put analog controls as the #2 advancement that generation. Last Generation (Xbox, PS2, Gamecube) you had two major ones. The debate will rage about whether it was online play or open-world, sandbox gaming. Personally I'd go with open world gaming because even though online gaming changed consoles forever, it had existed on the PC for years before the Xbox came out.

This generation there could be a few choices. Certainly HD graphics were important for keeping up with home theater technology. Another reasonable but controversial choice would be motion control gaming, though it may be debated for eons about whether that was a good or bad thing.
As for me, the conclusion I came up with was a bit of a surprise to me : I think the greatest advancement in gaming was actually Achievements. The reason I say that is because it actually changed the way we game. No longer were we playing just to see the ending or get a high score or to maybe unlock a new mode, we played to unlock those remaining achievements. Instead of just blasting through a level, we might try to spring a trap and cause a series of events in hopes of popping an Achievement. Even though I personally don't know or care about my 'gamerscore" there's something undeniably cool about unlocking a difficult or even a surprise Achievement. It took Sony a few years, but they caught on as well, even advancing things by stratifying their trophy system so that you couldn't just pad things with more, easy to get Achievements. If you got a Platinum Trophy, you had earned it. Playing Wii games feels a little off for me now without that system in place. On some strange level, sometimes while playing a Wii game, I find myself thinking "Why didn't I get an Achievement for that?" after a boss fight or at the end of a level. Even Steam took the Achievement idea and ran with it (which, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time in ages that a console gaming concept was copied and adopted by the PC gaming world rather than the other way around). Anyway, that was my opinion. Curious about other people's thoughts on the subject.
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Old 01-30-12, 01:40 AM   #2
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

I never thought about Achievements in terms of an advancement to this generation's gaming, but you bring up a good point. However, for me, Achievements are nice when I'm finished playing the game, but don't change how I play the game. On the other hand, motion controls really changed gaming for me. For example, the other day I played Resident Evil 4 (Wii Edition) and then played Resident Evil 5 on the 360 and I noticed how much I appreciated motion controls. With the Wii Remote, I could easily aim and hit every target, while on the 360 I occasionally had difficulty aiming all of my shots quickly after being spoiled by motion controls. Also, while the Achievements on RE5 were nice, they only popped up on my screen for a few seconds, which for me didn't add anything to the game itself, while the Wii Remote made playing RE4 much more enjoyable. So in my humble opinion, motion controls are the greatest advancement in video games this generation.
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Old 01-30-12, 02:16 AM   #3
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

I agree with achievements. They have almost completely changed both my approach to gaming in general and the way I play specific games, mostly for the better.
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Old 01-30-12, 02:50 AM   #4
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Polygons existed before the PS1/N64 era. The SNES had a few polygonal games, like Star Fox for example.

If you want to say online game wasn't revolutionary since it had already existed on PC for many years prior, then so did open-ended sandbox games. PC had open-ended games all the way back in the 90s with the likes of the original Fallout and Elder Scrolls and Baldur's Gate games and other classic CRPGs. Likewise HD graphics have existed for a long time on PCs since monitors are inherently much higher res than a TV.

I do agree about Achievements being a big advancement, and was actually something that didn't exist in PC gaming prior. Although Achievements are somewhat similar to arcade games of the 80s in which people played for the high score. Today people play for the high Achievements.
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Old 01-30-12, 06:40 AM   #5
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

achievements...like them or hate them they have changed the way many play games...

My own personal evolution when it comes to achievements is actually fun to think about. Going back at my gaming history you can see how little I cared about them at the start. Slowly over the last 3 years you can see how I started to go out of my way to get them. Then I started to play games on hard when there was an achievement tied to them. In a weird way they made me a better gamer...even if my reflexes have slowed. I still will not go out of my way to grind out achievements...or play a game more than once if I did not have fun with it (happens a lot where I play a game on normal thinking I will play again on hard, and just get bored)...

but achievements have made me try out every weapon in a game...play on the hardest difficulty...try to go whole levels without dying (and thus put a level of excitement on this that would not have been there before)...go for headshots....try to find hidden items....do every side mission....and overall made playing games even better...


Of course there are those games in which achievements have kept me from playing them. I have avoided games that would only net me 100 achievement points unless I put 300 hours and 10 complete games into...
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Old 01-30-12, 06:53 AM   #6
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Achievements... undeniably. I was always someone who explored to find every last collectible. If a game clearly wants me to turn right, I go left. When I start a level I go backward instead of forward. There's always something to find. Designers are so predictable.

Tying achievements to something I was already doing was great. Now I have a record of all the useless crap I find in games. The difference now is that instead of doing the crazy shit in games I love, I now do it in nearly every game.
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Old 01-30-12, 07:31 AM   #7
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Achievements and Patches.

Achievements for all of the reasons explained here but most importantly, they changed the way we play games. No longer is it just about beating the game...it's about beating the shit out of a game in so many different ways.

Patches, it used to be if a game was broken, it was well broken. Now with updates and bug fixes, a broken game at launch can at least be salvaged into something playable in several patches. And annoying errors that were present and never go away with older titles, actually go away in most games.
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Old 01-30-12, 07:54 AM   #8
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Patches are a double edged sword. I think more games are glitchy and problematic because companies know they can fix it later. Gotta rush that game out the door! If the game fails to sell? It remains glitchy as hell just like they always have.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:16 AM   #9
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

I just wish it was easier to track which games have been fixed properly with patches.

I'll go with the unpopular idea of motion controllers, I get it with achievements, but that hasn't really changed much for my style of gaming. The Kinect and Wii have made gaming a family affair for me, with 3-68 year olds participating.

I would indeed go for online play for the last gen, sure I'd been doing that in some means on the PC for years, but online console gaming is pretty great for a mostly (now) casual gamer. Being able to log on and play with old friends from around the country is one of the main reasons I play.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:45 AM   #10
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Since it seems like everyone is going with Achievements, I’m going to go in a new direction and say online connectivity. The original PS2 required an additional add on and the first X Box wasn’t nearly set up for anything other than simple online matchmaking. With the new systems we have online stores, bigger hard drives to purchase games online, lobby systems, extensive friend systems and so on. I’m also curious to see if Sony is going to continue offering their online service for free with the next system and what Microsoft has in store for theirs.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:45 AM   #11
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

I'm going with the advancements in online gaming for a console. Sure it isn't new in the grand scheme of things (I played Quake I/II a ridiculous amount back in the day, and multiplayer Doom before that) but the ease, layout and focus on it this generation easily outweighs anything else, especially on the X360.

General online integration like level sharing in LittleBigPlanet, co-op in Gears of War, free for alls in Call of Duty, etc; are incredibly well implemented this time around.

Motion Control outside of some fitness and dancing games has been a flop to me, it's like 3D - it was neat at first, but the novelty wore off and it just needs to go away.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:57 AM   #12
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Speaking of double-edged swords, how about DLC? Of course it's frustrating when you look at a list of available of DLC from a Madden game and see how they try to nickle-and-dime you on a $60 game you already own. It almost pains me to look at the store pages of iOS games since it seems all they want to do is collect microtransactions again and again. And the whole "Project $10" is another unfortunate by-product of the ability to sell DLC.
On the other hand, games that were completed and well received like Fallout 3 and Borderlands were able to significantly extend their experiences by offering DLC. For fans of those games, it was a very welcome addition and certainly something not possible on previous generations of consoles, barring the release of a sequel.
Think about it : When Guitar Hero came out for the PS2 in 2005 it had 47 songs, all the well known ones were covers. You then had a year of playing and learning those songs, but that was it.
Rock Band came out just two years later in November 2007 and since then, every week for over four years there has been new content to play, over 2000 additional songs. It has almost obviated the need for sequels. That's a pretty significant advancement, even if it's certainly got its downsides as well.
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Old 01-30-12, 09:12 AM   #13
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Yeah, achievements is the main one.

I would say advanced online play with Xbox Live. Yes, we had online play in the PC years before that, and we even had a version of Xbox Live in the original Xbox, but Xbox Live with the Xbox 360 was an evolution, a big step ahead. It forced Sony to make a lot of changes to the PSN even when they though they were done with it.
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Old 01-30-12, 09:24 AM   #14
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

The problem I have with picking Live or DLC is that the original Xbox had them both. Sure the original Live didn't have near the social impact of the 360, but for the basics it was solid. Same goes for DLC. It was rudimentary but it obviously laid the groundwork for what would come later.

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Xbox Live with the Xbox 360 was an evolution, a big step ahead. It forced Sony to make a lot of changes to the PSN even when they though they were done with it.
It makes you look back and wonder if Sony honestly thought they could put out their version of Live and brush their hands of it(it kinda felt like it). The continual advancement of Live must have been a fucking thorn in that plan.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:07 AM   #15
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Online gaming is out because its nothing new, and I don't like the idea of picking motion controls because the number of games that are actually enhanced by it aren't particularly high.

Achievements are a good one, as it spread to all platforms.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:10 AM   #16
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

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Achievements are a good one, as it spread to all platforms.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:14 AM   #17
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

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Old 01-30-12, 10:21 AM   #18
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Maybe it's because I'm not a huge achievement guy, but that's pretty sad if achievements are the consensus "greatest enhancement in video games this generation." Especially when there's not really a standard to give them any meaning from game to game (outside of perhaps Platinums on PS3).

I do think things like 3d gaming and motion controls, which are pretty much in their infancy this generation, may become bigger in the next. We'll see.

Are we counting the iphone/ipod touch in this conversation? Because the proliferation of cheap (or free) games on the go is certainly a big one, and a huge shift in the portable market, and perhaps related to that smaller, downloadable games for consoles like XBLA or PSN or minis. Or the Facebook games, which I believe pioneered in-app purchases for Farmville-like games, which I guess works as a viable alternative for companies to make money (instead of all on the initial purchase).
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Old 01-30-12, 10:24 AM   #19
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Fuck achievements. Seriously. Biggest advancement this gen, for me: wireless controllers!
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Old 01-30-12, 10:25 AM   #20
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

XBLA and PSN arcade games is a good one.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:25 AM   #21
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Quote:
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Maybe it's because I'm not a huge achievement guy, but that's pretty sad if achievements are the consensus "greatest enhancement in video games this generation." Especially when there's not really a standard to give them any meaning from game to game (outside of perhaps Platinums on PS3).
They essentially revived that arcade leaderboard mentality which had been missing for at least a decade.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:26 AM   #22
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

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Fuck achievements. Seriously. Biggest advancement this gen, for me: wireless controllers!
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Old 01-30-12, 10:59 AM   #23
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

Standard wireless controllers and the on-line ecosystem.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:59 AM   #24
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

^ too little too late. It also came out no long before the 360, so it kinda goes under this gen.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:04 AM   #25
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Re: What do you think was the greatest advancement in video games this generation?

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Polygons existed before the PS1/N64 era. The SNES had a few polygonal games, like Star Fox for example.
True, but the polygonal capability was in the Super FX chip in the cartridge itself and not a direct capability of the console. I'd hardly consider that an innovation of that generation's hardware.
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