I know I talked about it before, but Shovel Knight is probably one of the few games this year that I was hard-pressed to put down. Aside from being a fun Castlevania-Megaman style Platformer, attached is a great soundtrack, a style that references games of the past but is still able to carve out its own image and gameplay that is never “too easy” or “too hard” but consistently finds the middle ground to keep the player lingering in the “I know I can complete this” mentality.
I’ve come to help you with your problems, so we can be free.
Just how much room for improvement is there? When I look at a game, what gets me interested can vary greatly. Mechanics, story, perceptual shifts and so on are all aspects where the medium of gaming is leaps and bounds over the immersion of other media, but when going through the list of games month after month, there are very few examples that I can point to that “this is what gaming should exemplify and aspire to be, and the rest of you lot are the uninspired novelists hunting for words in a coffeeshop for hours a day.” I guess that’s a bit hypocritical because I’m in the middle of writing this at a coffeeshop-esqure environment, and have written at length in such an environment for quite some time because it is important to know where you work best and this environment is one of them for me. And I’d like to think that my level of output is greater than what some put out, especially after seeing how much time of others is spent on FB or random YouTube searches, but I digress.
The point is, most games that people tend to jump on the hype-train don’t have much to set themselves apart from predecessors and contemporaries, especially when there is so much more that can be done within the various genres that it makes it a chore to find a game that doesn’t “borrows heavily” from another which came out all of a few months prior.
A lot of this seems to come from incestual idea-sharing, where there are only so many new ideas that come out and once an idea is created, it gets passed around like an answer sheet throughout a class of overachievers. Only a few people create new ideas every development team tries to figure out how they can use that idea in order to make the game seem current and ingenious.