Metacognition: Looking at the Future

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

What is your hope for the future of gaming?

You would think that I’d have an answer ready for this, wouldn’t you? After all, I’ve talked quite a bit about representation in video games, and discussed the possibility of when enough may finally be enough. Logic would seem to indicate that I would wax poetic on the importance of inclusion and representation in games, perhaps citing literature and examples that indicate media not only imitates our views, but that our views also imitate and are affected by what we are exposed so in media.

we_can_do_it

It’s also possible I’d advocate for stories in games to continue evolving and exploring more serious topics, as long as they are done in a respectful way. Following the example of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, I would say that games shouldn’t shy away from characters like Senua, who experience the world differently due to neurodiverse reasons, and yet the story isn’t about their neurodiversity. So, showing how the Them is really more like the Us might also be a top contender for things I’d like to see in games.

If I wanted to be petulant I could just sit here and say that Gaming Needs to Improve and throw out wild demands like Make Games Great Again Like They Were In The 1990s, Back When It Was A Niche Hobby. But that would be silly. games have always been great; they’ve had their good and their bad, but are just different that what you remember from your childhood now.

Image result for mario remember where you came from

But honestly, there is one thing that I would like to see for the future of gaming. It is honestly not something that I foresee happening, as long as gaming companies have rich CEOs and shareholders, and as long as any Angry Gamer can pick up a megaphone and swirl up anger and hate at a game because of a personal opinion.

I want developers being able to go back to innovating and developing. Like we talked about last time, developers have an opportunity to change norms and moves games in new, exciting, and progressive directions.

Image result for progress

We’ve entered a perfect storm of gaming culture: anyone can have a (very loud and influential) opinion, and corporations – similar to the people who run them – love making money and will do anything to do so.

How is this different than any other time? Well, because I am still upset about Mass Effect: Andromeda, let’s take a look at that. There was such an immediate, angry outcry that BioWare canned the planned DLC. I’m not saying that the game was perfect, and I’m not saying I liked having an “unfinished” game given to me, but instead of sticking to their product/their vision, and making it right, they ran away from the angry gamers yelling at them and moved on to other projects.

Image result for gaming then and now

Why? I think it’s because they were afraid that providing the DLC (or improving the product) wouldn’t be profitable, so they abandoned their project for something that would make money.

What Does This Mean?

One thing that I have learned as a therapist is that, no matter what your client is doing, you cannot be afraid of them. Another thing I learned, during my undergraduate coursework, is that your focus should be on giving the client the best service you can. When they are successful, you are successful.

A third thing I learned is that, while the client’s needs and wants should be taken into account, it is my job to provide the therapeutic experiences that would help them achieve their goals, both in and out of therapy. It’s a softened version of “I know best.”

But the only way this works is if the client trusts the therapist has their best interests at heart. Of course it’s a job for me and I make money for my services, but I can watch my paycheck and put my client’s therapy needs first at the same time.

That’s what I want for games. Developers shouldn’t fear the public. The public shouldn’t fear that game companies are just squeezing them for money, and game companies should make it clear that they are making games for the love of games.

Of course people should be paid for their services, but to judge from some recent releases, making games to make money, rather than making games and making money isn’t workout out so well for anyone.

I’ll admit I don’t know how we could ever get there, but that’s my wish for the future of gaming.

What’s yours? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~Athena

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11 comments

  1. Honestly, for all the problems we have now, I think we’re somewhere approaching an optimal path for “the future” at the moment, at least in terms of the diversity of content available.

    We have our big triple-A blockbusters.
    We have our competitive online multiplayer games.
    We have our sprawling single-player games.
    We have niche-interest titles, catering to a variety of specific groups.
    We have artistic, independent games doing their own thing.
    We have gaming “auteurs” creating interactive art.
    And plenty of other things besides.

    What we need to work on is the execution.

    We need games to release complete and bug-free without the necessity for patching.
    We need any additional content for games to be released in a way that can be easily archived for future generations.
    We need games to be developed more efficiently and cost-effectively so publishers don’t feel the need to “monetise” them beyond their purchase price.
    We need the medium as a whole to acknowledge, take care of and take steps to archive its ongoing history before it’s too late.

    We do not, not, NOT need streaming services that devalue games as individual creative works! Yes, Google, I’m talking to you.

    I feel quite strongly about this. :3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Back from the land of the time off, and I agree very much with you. I like that you have a strong opinion on the matter! You’re right that we have a lot of diversity in theme and genre, and that is reaching a good level, but having a balance (or an idea) on how to most effectively get the games to the public without squeezing them for money/without publishers looking at consumers as a bottom like, and fix some of the problems on the manufacturing/publishing end of things.

      I despise the idea of “games as service” very strongly, nor moving to a streaming-only set up. I would really hate to see that happen…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A YouTube video I watched a few months ago made me realize how much I NEVER thought about this, but I’d love to see more games where the main focus wasn’t combat. Even games that aren’t explicitly violent e.g. Mario, Zelda, etc. have the main goal being to defeat bad guys, and there’s so much more video games can do. You’re starting to see more indie titles not have have that like Night in the Wood, which I recently finished, and more games do deal with exploration. It’s this whole other medium that could be used for way more than just kill bad guys until you get to the final boss. Not that you can’t have deep games that have that paradigm (Final Fantasy and Mass Effect among many others), but there’s even more that can be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a great point! There is so much violence in games (and other media) that it’s almost not noticeable if it’s not gory and really shoved in your face. You’re right that there are so many other ways to tell a good story, or to give a good experience. I wonder sometimes if we as a society/species are just so violent, and so we naturally want that in our games, or if it is the other way around…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember seeing something about how life/culture use media to see how to react/treat others in a video about LGBTQ+ representation, and it really struck me. I feel as though life and art feed off of each other, but media representation really fuels how we view the world and see others.

        One of my favorite memes is about how before video games we had gladiator rings. Humans have always had the ability to be violent, but the enormous blowback to any critique of this is disheartening i.e. Anita Sarkeesian’s (sp?) treatment. Whether she was right or wrong about various points isn’t the, er, point. It’s how just her *talking* about it was reacted to.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree with that. That might be why when art is so forward-thinking, it’s either considered groundbreaking and embraced if it reflects something within the realm of what people can currently feel/think, or shunned because it’s TOO “out there.” But yeah, media does have a big part in creating the echo-chamber of society.

          It’s true! We are a violent species, and very quick to label as “us” and “them,” and then attack at the slightest provocation.
          …Who thought it was a good idea to put bad-tempered chimps in charge? haha

          Liked by 1 person

          1. We love watching Star Trek, which was greatly influential in much modern tech. I also think it might be why while many older/classical authors tend to fall out of casual favor because their style becomes antiquated, sci-fi writers are less likely. I just finished reading Philip K. Dick and I read Asimov’s Childhood’s End, and they’re ahead of the *current* time in many ways. You can tell the style isn’t current, but it’s not as dated as other things I’ve read. Like Tokien, as much as I love him, would have trouble finding readership nowadays not because his work isn’t invaluable, but because it could be considered harder to access. Weirdly, I had more problems getting into The Hobbit than the Trilogy lol.

            *sigh* Tribalism is such an issue with our species. It’s arguably hardwired into our brains, so it takes work to rise above that kind of thinking.

            Liked by 1 person

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