Parallels to 1983

04-20-2013, 07:51 PM
#1
Parallels to 1983

Gaming aficionados might recognize 1983 as the year of "The Great Video Game Crash" ("of 1983" tends to complete the phrase). It was caused by a lack of standards and an environment where even hobbyists could put games on the market. Shovelware likely got coined at this time, if for no other reason than the burying of hundreds of ET cartridges in the desert.

People speculate that mobile gaming and indie-friendly marketplaces like XLBA might be the future of gaming. We at TA are well familiar with shovelware as it manifests on iDevices, and it's likely the existence of sites like TA that keep us from abandoning the platform. Personally, such sites have saved me likely hundreds of dollars. If we're the minority, what does that do for the majority? Do you think that the preponderance of terrible games could lead to another great crash? Nintendo reversed the last crash with a seal of approval and a AAA title only sort of policy, restoring faith in the industry. Comments?
04-20-2013, 08:06 PM
#2
I think we're trending towards something similar. This is largely related to the relentless proliferation of F2P games (not just on iTunes, but on Steam and other PC channels) with no "barrier to entry" and sometimes reliant on deceitful business practices to gain revenue.

Yes, I understand that many F2P games are very well-done, polished, and of high quality, but the lack of even basic standards necessary to publish a game on iTunes or the PC these days is very similar to the circumstances leading up the '83 video game crash. Gaming standards must be regulated, at least at a very rudimentary level.

04-20-2013, 08:59 PM
#3
It's funny, I was thinking of this the other day.
So many dev's that respond on this site are of the belief that F2P is the way to make money on the AppStore. Personally, I think almost as many F2P games, percentage-wise, fail to turn a profit as paid games. What i was thinking is that the amount of complete garbage / scam apps has probably put a lot of more casual gamers off actually paying for apps.
Some form of quality control would do heaps of good for the legitimate developers out there. It might slow or even stop the rise of the freemium. It would definitely instill some sense of confidence in people purchasing software from Apple. Without a step in this direction I don't think mobile gaming can take the leap of legitimizing itself as a true platform for gamers.
Just my thoughts. I could be way off base.
04-21-2013, 01:09 AM
#4
You are probably right, but back then the consoles were reasonably expensive (comparatively), and there just were not a ton of people interested. Kids are growing up with gaming systems, so there is little chance they would allow them to disappear, vs in 1983, few people would have cared. Most considered video games a fad, I certainly did. I loved the text games by Scott Adams, I don't remember if Infocom was around back then. The arcade games were the ones to play as the home games just couldn't compare either from a control perspective, or a graphics perspective. So while I see the market consolidating towards standards (this always happens with any enterprise that sticks around), I don't see that lack of quality will cause the market to crash - again with large enterprises, the small guys will get pushed out, and the large corporations will determine the market - one can look at pretty much any industry today and see that has happened - there are exceptions, but these tend to be high quality, or niche markets for particular products. My $.02. Interesting thoughts though.

GameCenter ID : oldestgamer
04-21-2013, 05:49 AM
#5
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Salem, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 10,879
Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto6 View Post
You are probably right, but back then the consoles were reasonably expensive (comparatively), and there just were not a ton of people interested. Kids are growing up with gaming systems, so there is little chance they would allow them to disappear, vs in 1983, few people would have cared. Most considered video games a fad, I certainly did. I loved the text games by Scott Adams, I don't remember if Infocom was around back then. The arcade games were the ones to play as the home games just couldn't compare either from a control perspective, or a graphics perspective. So while I see the market consolidating towards standards (this always happens with any enterprise that sticks around), I don't see that lack of quality will cause the market to crash - again with large enterprises, the small guys will get pushed out, and the large corporations will determine the market - one can look at pretty much any industry today and see that has happened - there are exceptions, but these tend to be high quality, or niche markets for particular products. My $.02. Interesting thoughts though.
Infocom was around in 1983. At the time you also had games like Wizardry, Ultima, the original Wolfenstein, Bard's Tale (and several other early EA titles). The PC/Apple 2 games market was largely unaffected by the console crash of 1983.

And that's why I think the parallels with the mobile market don't hold. The mobile gaming market behaves much more like PC gaming than console gaming. Ultimately, the market crashed because costs outstripped perceived value: what you got for your $40-$50 purchases just didn't seem worth the money. People stopped buying the games, and more important, stopped buying the consoles. Mobile gaming has the opposite problem -- what you pay is not enough to cover the costs of what you get, which is why so many folks have switched to the FP model. For all that we, more serious gamers, dislike the model, the majority of people love free to play. And as long as people keep buying the devices (for other reasons besides gaming), they'll keep buying/renting games for them.
04-21-2013, 11:10 PM
#6
2012-2013 has been one of the best year(s) in gaming. I see a lot of great games and a lot of publishers going belly up, not sure what the answer is to be honest. Games are too expensive to make/publish/advertise I think, coupled with unrealistic return on investments has really done a number on some big names lately. I know square is in trouble,THQ is gone, etc... I guess people are not buying games. It's not like it's been all crap like 1983 either.


Ios on the other hand, there is just too much crap its like an avalanche of crap, and to be honest TA handing out 4 and 5 star reviews for darn near every game they review doesn't help the situation. Half brick's latest is a perfect example..... Sure they don't review every trash game, and the ones they do review are better than most on the AppStore. But, every other review site isn't reviewing all the crap either, they all essentially review the same games and TA consistently passes out stars like they are candy, I honestly don't trust a single review they do. Another example would be pixel people its barely more than a interactive sideshow, 5 stars! Really, if it was on any other platform it would be derided to no end, but since its ios it gets a pass. Not exactly how you get a platform to be taken serious.

TA forums and neogaf forums give a much better feel for a game, as well as specialty sites like boardgamegeek and pocket tactics, not to mention the reviews seem an order of magnitude more informative and witty. The above I consider a much better seal of approval than some crap on the TA front page.
04-22-2013, 02:27 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 935
It's just that the gaming industry has spread further, so it includes impulse buys for suckers who don't really know how to sniff out a good game. They might even enjoy these bad games as far as they expect to enjoy a game in general. For example, my mom had a DS and bought quite a few bad games for herself that I can't begin to understand the appeal of. That doesn't have much impact on the quality of the games I go for or the number of them. Is she a statistic in the gaming community? Yes, but I wouldn't call her a driving force behind the industry proper.

In 1983, the industry was dealing solely with hardcore geeks who knew their stuff, so the attempt to infiltrate that market with crap was entirely different.
04-22-2013, 07:33 PM
#8
Some interesting perspectives. Although mostly I was thinking there are at least 7 really old gaming people here on TA. I hate getting funny looks by gray hairs when I'm talking with young adults, teens, and kids about video games. It's like I was supposed to grow up, but I never did. I'm always glad to know there are other hardcore gamers that have been around for many, many years.

Although I really, really like the ability to save pretty frequently, and not always have to start at the beginning of a game.

GameCenter ID : oldestgamer
04-22-2013, 08:14 PM
#9
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 935
Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto6 View Post
Some interesting perspectives. Although mostly I was thinking there are at least 7 really old gaming people here on TA. I hate getting funny looks by gray hairs when I'm talking with young adults, teens, and kids about video games. It's like I was supposed to grow up, but I never did. I'm always glad to know there are other hardcore gamers that have been around for many, many years.

Although I really, really like the ability to save pretty frequently, and not always have to start at the beginning of a game.
And how old are you?
04-22-2013, 08:55 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by smegly View Post
And how old are you?
Well - when I was born, we only had 48 states. So - pretty old. .

GameCenter ID : oldestgamer