2.24.2007

Same Old Story

Have you ever noticed that settings in games tend to repeat themselves? Even though it is a great time to be a gamer in terms of software, I often find myself playing the role of the same character over and over. Tell me, does this sound familiar?
The year is 2063. You are a cyber-punk/revolutionary in Neo Tokyo, a glimmering city of neon, flying vehicles, and scantily clad people. The city's police force has become more and more ruthless in their pursuit of a Utopian society...blah blah
It should. You've probably played this setting several times, and if you happen to watch anime, well, it's business as usual. How about this one?
The Elvin land of Arathwey, a land of magic and enchantment. For hundreds of years, the Wood Elves have lived in peace with their neighboring Mountain Orcs, but some evil force has caused King Balvan to order a series of attacks...
Now, I do enjoy these settings, but when you start to play enough games, their stories start to blend together a bit. Here are some nice alternatives I'd like to see more of:

The Everyday
I know that games are often supposed to be an escapism, but that doesn't mean they still can't be set in the "real world". If you've ever played Earthbound on the SNES (fingers crossed that it shows up on the Wii Virtual Console soon), you know how entertaining it can be to be attacked by a New Age Retro Hippie.

Ancient Egypt
I think we can all agree that mummies are hardcore. We've had plenty of games recently that surround Greek mythology and gods. How cool would it be to fight against/as an Egyptian god? I'll tell you: it would be very cool. I think I could totally take Anubis in a fistfight.

The FAR Future
Why is it that every time we get a game set in the future, it's always either A) The near future, where everything is pretty much the same, except for better guns or B) Post-apocalypse, where it's not really all that futuristic, because, at some point, we exploded the crap out of all our technological accomplishments. Why are writers so afraid of the far future? Are they too afraid to dream up where we'll be in 2000 years? C'mon, we aren't definitely going to blow ourselves to smithereens in 30 years...

The Jungle
The only game I can think of that has explored this recently was Metal Gear Solid 3, and even in that, most of the important plot progression happened at outposts littered throughout. I want to see more pure, 100% scary jungle. No guns (or lights or motorcars), just you, shipwrecked on some island with nothing but your surroundings to use to your advantage. You know, think Castaway, but with multiplayer deathmatch...

There are tons of great ideas to be explored here. I do appreciate that games have tried to add twists to the normal formula (Resistance isn't WWII, because WWII never happened!), but lets see some much crazier stuff. I'm hoping a few upcoming games will try to tackle this (Mass Effect, Too Human, FFXIII?). That remains to be seen. C'mon, it's not like we have to use film in games. Every image is created from scratch on computers, so let's go crazy!

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