> Storm the brains!

Storm the brains!

Posted on Monday, February 23, 2009 | No Comments

With an infinitely open-ended final project, it's hard to center on what you want to do exactly. While coming up with ideas, I was reminded of something that I thought was interesting. When people are limited with their hardware, tools, or technology, they have to be creative in order to get their desired result. However, when there are no limits, that creativity seems to flutter away. A good example of this is retro video games compared to modern video games. In the days of the original Nintendo, developers really had to use their imagination to its fullest. Sprite artists had to make each pixel count, programmers had to compress their code and make it as efficient as possible, and composers only had four sound channels to work with! As a result, some of the most memorable games were created.

Fast-forward to today. Now consoles and PCs can run pretty much any game you can imagine. Designers sit in an office and brainstorm. Once they come up with a fleshed-out idea of their game, they hand it off to the developers and they churn it out. Games today are so massive in scope (referring to the amount of effort required to make them) that developers can't possibly fall in love with their work like they could back in the day. Whereas one person working on an NES game might have done all the programming or artwork, now you have teams of many people all working on that. It's hard to fall in love with something when all you're doing is working on one ten-thousandth of the whole thing. As a result, many games don't mesh well and don't feel very inspired. In fact, I can't think of many games that have stuck out in my mind over the past few years. I would be fine if game developers started going back to smaller teams and worked on SNES-style games again. After all, I'm much more interested in gameplay than graphics.

Anyway, for my final project, I am going to code a few very simple games, or maybe just one game, and limit myself in some way to sort of mimic what developers for older games had to do. I want to experience what it would have been like to develop a game back then. More details later...

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