From: Secret Underground Lair
Agree; gaming has started to lose its allure. It first started to happen with me between Civ3 and Civ4. Civ3 Conquest is probably the singlemost played game for me, and it was such a classic. Civ4 was an improvement in some ways, but the focus on eye-candy was excessive. I get the impression Civ 5 is even more in that direction.
I've tried going back to some of the old classics (the first Jagged Edge; Morrowind; Civ3 Conquests) and the shame is: having experienced the upgraded visuals, and physics, etc., those old 'classics' feel clunky.
I'm not so sure that this reflects any sort of conspiracy by designers or some sort of "stasis" in the evolution, so much as it represents a diagonal swing as a huge open niche created by changes in the technology gets filled in. I'm speculating because I don't know all the details but, I get the impression that the changes in processing (volume and speed) particularly of 3D visual renditions has undergone a quantum leap in the past couple years. It is evident in comparing a game like Morrowind to Oblivion or Civ3 to Civ4. Not that many years between those games, but HUGE difference in the feeling for the player.
I suspect the 'stasis' that we have all been feeling is in large part a reflection of the industry moving diagonally and laterally to fill in all the market niches that these changes in technology and feasibility have created. Combined with the rate at which computer technology changes, this in part means that, the 'evolution' of game design is likely to be lagging for some time to come. Sure, the big designers can try to take full advantage of the latest stuff, and hit the sweet spot where the don't alienate too many old-tech potential customers. But even there, the sheer magnitude and complexity of their art it seems makes it a very challenging business. At the end of the day, they've got to make a profit, and if they take too high a risk approach by trying to REALLY push the envelope and innovate both in terms of technology, and game design, then they are perhaps getting a bit ahead of themselves.
I'm still enjoying Fallout 3, and when that gets tiresome I'll probably reinstall Oblvion with all the mods. I've played the heck out of both, but they are both worth revisiting.
I'm looking forward to Crusader Kings II; that looks good!
Also Skyrim will be great I hope, provided I don't have to sign up on Steam to play it