Computer games: a naive perspective

The Imagination Engine

The May issue of Wired has an article titled “The Imagination Engine: Why Next-Gen Videogames Will Rock Your World.”

Go look at it, if for no other reason than the spectacular screen captures.

The subject is UE4—the fourth iteration of a game engine wonderfully named the Unreal Engine, created by the North Carolina company Epic Games. Its abilities are epic, too:

UE4 represents nothing less than the foundation for the next decade of gaming. It may make Microsoft and Sony rethink how much horsepower they’ll need for their new hardware. It will streamline game development, allowing studios to do in 12 months what can take two years or more today. And most important, it will make the videogames that have defined the past decade look like puppet shows.

It is obvious even to me that UE4 is a brilliant invention.  But—low-tech soul that I am—I wonder whether the power of UE4 will result in better video games or only better-looking ones.  Will “armored demons, dancing sparks, and rolling balls of light” continue to dazzle when they are no longer new?

The question occurs to me because the best computer game I ever played is one whose name I have forgotten. It was on the first computer I owned, a Mac Plus, and the game must have been very simple because I could play it and win every time. This Mac Plus was the computer that taught me how to use computers, and this little game was the confidence builder I went to at the start of every session.

No matter what else happened, I could win that dumb game. It mattered at the time..

 Gamers: what rocks your world?

My perspective on videogames is naive (my perspective on computer games is not much better). I could be wrong about the role played by the dazzle.

What makes a good game?

2 comments on “Computer games: a naive perspective

  1. Lindsay, I raised GenX kids and the older one was a D&D nut. Gamer to the highest order and he still is, his son more so. I am certain that he and my grandkids who are GenY understand and appreciate all of this.

    As for me, I appreciate my Word doc. saving pics or music and cyber space … I have no aptitude for games :)

    • I have pretty close to no aptitude for games myself. The WIRED article intrigued me because it gave a snapshot of where gaming is going. And I do wonder whether are all these innovations producing better games. There is more to a game that special effects, just as there is more to writing a story than the beauty of the prose.

      >________________________________

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