When Will The Wow Factor Be Gone? - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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When Will The Wow Factor Be Gone?

Every year, whether it's at Tokyo Game Show, E3, GDC, PAX, or even a random day where something is announced, we have our jaw drop at some point. We see something in the future of video games that elicits gasps and frequent internet searches for trailers, demos, and impressions of games. I myself have basically watched a Dual Destinies trailer most likely 150 times now, and counting (it's playing right now when I type this-it's just like music, and I can visualize if even though I could just switch tabs). In any case, these gasps of wonder and amazement have always been a part of major gaming announcements, but today, a thought came into my head: one day, will those moments be forever gone?

I say WOW now...but will I at the start of the next generation?

Today, I watching once again just checking out a trailer for the last Super Smash Bros. game, and then I decided to try something a little different, and watch live reactions of the game. I did so for a couple videos, but didn't really have much to go on. However, afterwards, the aforementioned thought of this "wow" factor came into my head. I proceeded to watch some previous Nintendo E3's, specifically for special moments, such as Iwata officially showing off the "Nintendo Revolution", the reveal of Nintendo DS features like Wi-Fi capabilities, and the first reveal of Super Smash Bros. Melee. While I watched the Melee one, I almost felt a longing inside, like I wanted to feel what the people yelling in the crowd were feeling at the time. This may be because of the fact that I grew up not really as a gamer, and only started a few years ago, and thus, didn't grow up with some of these characters like most of you reading most likely have. However, I think it may be a bit more than this.

Will we ever have such a leap again?

The Smash Brothers example is probably the best starting point. Watching this video again, I'm getting that same feeling inside-these people grew up seeing those characters in basic sprites of polygons, and now they were seeing much more detailed models. This got people very excited, and I have felt similar ways, such as seeing Monolith's new title for Wii U, as well as Dual Destinies. With the latest Smash Brothers, I feel very excited to play it, but I realize, it's not a huge step up from Brawl, honestly. I can tell there was a jump, but there is just something that doesn't scream "huge jump up". This is something we always associate with "next-gen"-the use of better hardware, and thus better graphics and capabilities.

This lack-luster feeling is something that I fear may become more common as we fully take the next step into Generation 8. Sure, many people are being blown away by games like Titanfall and Destiny(I personally don't care about either, and no, that is NOT to be a troll, I really don't), and we are seeing very realistic titles coming out across all systems, but are we really experiencing the same feelings those were 10 years ago seeing Mario with more polygons, or when people saw the graphic capabilities of this generation even? As we move more and more towards realism, I'm feeling as though we're losing something that the industry has always had-awe and inspiration for what's next.

Of course, granted, graphics aren't everything. Again, titles like Destiny are showing off online and connection capabilities for the next generation, and we're seeing the rise of interactive technology like the Occulus Rift, but I really can't help but feel that we've lost something. I don't think it's going to be an immediate thing, but as we approach that high bar of realism, and we start to see really insane uses of hardware, online, and additional accessories, we're going to reach some gaming nirvana where everything is at the peak of graphical presentation, and we won't be wowed anymore. I mean, look at the status quo. We're all geeking out over all the next generation titles that have recently been announced, but will we be as much anymore in 10 years? Let's say, hm, Mario Kart 11 releases at that time, and looks slightly better graphically than 10, or 9, or even 8, because to me, I don't know if Mario Kart itself is meant to look better than that-it's Mario Kart. Likewise, will we be wowed if there's some sequel to Titanfall down the line that is super stunning? Possibly, but possibly not.

We may gasp in amazement now, but in 10 years, this could be the norm...for mobile games.

Something I've pretty much ignored up to this point is another way we've been wowed: concepts, and simple continuations of franchises. This sort of "wow" factor will certainly last much longer. Maybe those Mario Kart and Titanfall games let me play in a virtual reality space, or with holograms. Perhaps we'll simply be awed by seeing a Kingdom Hearts IV that looks exactly the same as III, but has a different story, and maybe something new akin to Flowmotion in Dream Drop Distance, and that will satisfy us. I think that this form WILL last us a very long while, because it's not really something that can be stopped-we like seeing a story continued. Heck, I'd jaw drop at a Half-Life 3 announcement running still on Source, that still looked like Half-Life 2. It's just about the concepts and their execution.

I didn't really intend for this to be a long blog, so I think I'll just wrap up shortly with my thoughts: I think that, in the next generation, we are going to stop being wowed by graphics, art styles, and such, because in today's market, there are so many realistic games, and games exploring new art styles, that we're going to reach that nirvana I spoke of, where graphics will be a given, and while they look great, they won't give us anything new. I feel more confident in the terms of concepts and stories within franchises, that will continue to make us clamor for new titles. Although, it is always possible that there is a point in time where we will see a lapse in creativity, possibly due to less competition in the market from economic hardships, among other causes. Whatever happens, I just hope that we can be just as excited in 10 years for another generation as much as this one.

I hope we are this excited in the future...and I hope Bill Trinen never goes back to that look...

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