Gaming in the Age of The New 90s

Gaming in the Age of The New 90s

Have we travelled back in time? Joe Martin thinks so, which he reckons gives us a unique opportunity to get back to the future…

by Joe Martin on 31st Oct, 2012

The New 90s

Games are like people; they tell stories. Sometimes they tell them themselves, other times they merely act as things stories occur around - and sometimes, they tell the same story twice.

That’s exactly what’s happening now. We’re being told a story we’ve heard before and I don’t mean that just the sense of annual franchises and evergreen brands. This is the story of the 1990s, just told with better illustrations along the way. It’s something which is characterising even the bravest and most original games we’ve seen.

Take Dishonored, for example. That’s a great game. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it was the product of enormous talent and passion…but it also wouldn’t be a huge leap to suggest that it’s also analogous to the original Thief: The Dark Project. I’ll grant you that there are some differences, yes, but a gruff and morally blank protagonist sneaking around a technological-but-medieval fantasy version of London? Saving the sprawling, curiously empty city he lives in with the help of trinkets from a previous civilization? Designed by folks graduated from Looking Glass Studios?

That sounds a lot like Thief to me.

And Dishonored is just one of the weaker examples. What other big game has everyone been talking about? XCOM: Enemy Unknown. What were we talking about before that? Diablo. Before that? Deus Ex - which went so far back to it’s roots that it told fundamentally the same story and set it in the same places. Detroit was the new Hell’s Kitchen, Hengsha the new Hong Kong.

This isn’t just a retroactive trend either. It ripples into the future; Impire is the new Dungeon Keeper, BioShock the new System Shock. SimCity is the new, um, Simcity. These are games and ideas being revived, not merely franchises; Syndicate doesn’t count.


If we’ve travelled back in time then, the question is: is that a bad thing?

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This entry was posted on Středa, Listopad 21st, 2012 at 3:39 and is filed under Ostatní. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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