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February 2015 Retro Gaming Article


February 19, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Has gaming evolved to mediocre games using super models to diffuse their spam-factor & shroud profits?

I've had a lot of fun playing Clash of Clans and have figured their success is somewhat verified by the television ads I frequently see. Those ad spots must be expensive. SuperCell's game is good fun and offers typical in-game transactions if you want to accelerate your activities. As you progress, you begin to feel that urge to splurge some real-world cash to get your village up to par for the next wave of attacks.

If you use social media or watch TV, you've probably seen Kate Upton in ads for Game of War: Fire Age. I'll be honest - I've never played this game and likely won't. The reviews have offered me no compelling reason to try it and the $40 million ad campaign makes me wonder about Gaming in general. Many have complained that Game of War grinds to a halt for those who choose not to use their credit card to advance.

How does gaming progress and reach new levels when games are derivative, favor those who spend real money, and employ super models to tempt users to engage with the product?

Kate Upton in Game of War: Fire Age video game Upton is not only a spokesmodel for the game, she's also "Athena", your digital in-game muse of sorts. As a retro gamer, this whole scenario is so different from the simpler days of the 80s. This is no surprise, but the values we cater to in today's era of gaming are shamefully contrary to the purpose of games from the 80s.

Back then... we wanted FUN! And we got it - tenfold! Infinite levels in arcade games made us put more quarters in the box, but we did so to further enjoy the game. Do we enjoy games that seemingly force micro-transactions? Does "paying to win" leave a player satisfied? I was terrible at Defender, but I loved playing it. It was a hard game to master, but amazing to play regardless.

Today's games tend to take on more epic story lines and adventures than my favorite arcade games and 8-bit console games, but all the technology and evolution doesn't offer me better games to play. The frenzy of descending Space Invaders, Evil Otto's villainous smile, saving cities from ICBMs, and blasting Asteroids seem simple today, but the emotion and connection I have with playing those games has rarely been replicated since.

Buying "gems" with MasterCard in order to accelerate the fortification of a digital village seems boring, time consuming, and financially preposterous. If today's game developers could deliver an experience like Galaga, they'd be sitting on a gold mine. One recent gold mine was Flappy Bird - a game where garnering a double digit score was a challenge. And it was great fun.. for a few minutes at a time. Who remembers playing Super Mario all night long! Most of today's games put me to sleep - unless Kate Upton is on screen. So, I guess that's $40 million well spent... yet no Galaga-like experience came to fruition.

Think about the things on which you really want to spend your hard-earned cash. Make sure you really get your money's worth. So few of today's games deliver the excitement of gaming's golden age, I wonder if they are really worth all the money we pour into them so Kate Upton can be purported as a gamer girl.

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