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quarta-feira, 4 de março de 2009

Wii may have a problem?

Every creative tool, when receives new possibilities, have a time of transition where the creators appear to be lost and even unsure about what to do with this new thing. The first idea is to simply recreate all the things that were once made, groping carefully the soil of the new path before them. An outsider view could get of these projects the impression that this new revolutionary thing is not so revolutionary after all.

That’s how it was with the movies. During the decade of 1920, the possibility to include sound in movies, that were mute for 30 years already, was finally there. At first, the idea was very much controversial, many argued about the need of sound, after all so many things were made without it. “Why do we need this bizarre thing?”. From the heads of the first group of people that accepted the sound as a new tool, the idea was to simply reproduce what was made in the radio, just go and record some musician playing, and at that point with just a single static camera and without any scenario or something like that. This first attempt ended up with the musical movies some time later. Other heads, however, preferred to use the new idea to tell histories with much more deepness, what would be impossible to do using just the static frames with text that were used to represent what the characters were saying, like they used to do before. You probably saw it already in a Charles Chaplin movie.

A funny thing is that some other people tried to do exactly the same thing they used to do with mute films. You can see more about it that movie “Sing in The rain”.

But keeping up what I was trying to say before I interrupt myself, later after the movies that really used the sound as something new were made, the movie industry had to change, had to evolve to this new direction. They had to accept the need of a script writer and real actors that came from the theatre, actually until that time actors from theatre and from movies were very much different, but that’s another history.

Sometime later, when the colors came, the first movies weren’t so creative in what concerns create great environments and elements of photography that we see so often these days in things like Matrix, Star Wars, or some Tim Burton’s movie, for example. The truth is that they not even had that in mind at that time.

With games it also happened. Do you remember the magic year of 1997? That was the year that two great games came to public. Breath of Fire 3 and Final Fantasy VII, both Japanese RPGs, both turn based, both by great companies. Breath of Fire 3 was 2D, taking a way much closer to what was already made, using in a very shy mood the new possibilities of hardware. Final Fantasy VII on the other side was in 3D, had the today’s famous “Cut-CG-animated-Scenes” and embraced the new technology using it to create things that were never tried. As we know, after Final Fantasy VII, the RPGs never more were the same.

Breath of Fire 3 - RPG, launched in 1997 to the Playstation 1

Final Fantasy VII - RPG, launched also in 1997 and also to the Playstation 1

Another example, from the same period was Super Mario 64 and how it recreated the platform genre in 3D or how The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did the same with action RPGs, or even Metal Gear Solid and the cinematic of games, or even more Resident Evil and horror survivor games. I think you got the idea.

I remember the first time a played this game and saw this scene, was late, was
Christmas and I supposed to be sleeping, but I wasn't, oh no, I wasn't

And now we have this Wii waggle machine. It is here for a while already and, yes we saw some good ideas and implementations like Mario Galaxy, Metroid 3, No More Heroes and Wining Eleven, but it seems that game companies didn’t got the system or just didn’t have the courage to make new things. When Nintendo came up with Wii sports or Wii Play, I really don’t think they expected that all the other companies would end up believing that mini game were the only thing the system could do. Apart of this avalanche of mini games we have poorly made adaptations or the attempt to just make the same game as always just replacing a button press by a waggle plus with terrible lazy graphics.

The funny thing is that the Wii is selling a lot in everywhere since its launch, really bringing people back to games or presenting to a complete new audience what is a videogame and why it is so fun. There is a lot of potential consumers, people of every age and skills, there is really an opportunity to make the industry reborn and really became something that is into the society and not only to some small group of people.

It leads us back to that hardcore gamer discussion, but the thing is that games can be casual, can be hardcore, can be violent, can be weird, can be whatever some creative mind came up. If everyone is in, someone will like. We just need ideas, good ideas.

I believe that this year can be when we will finally see that revolution the Wii suppose do bring. We have the motion plus, we have all the installed base of Wiis in everybody’s homes, we have the need of reduce costs because of the word financial crisis (Wii is the most cheap console to produce a game) and finally we have the need for new things, because we want and because they make money. Even the hardcore audience is tired of a billion pointless remakes and sequels, reusing of engines into cloned games or even to swallow games that are good just because they are pretty.

The scenario is prepared for the so anticipated Wii revolution. Please game industry, you have a great tool in your hands, lots of consumers, a lot of talented people. Brings us this new things, unleash your ideas, open your mind, hire me! I’m sure Nintendo knows how to use their system and they will bring their things, but they can’t make it all alone. Make it happen!