Video Games and Rapid Sequels

Any form of entertainment will have sequels. They have become a marketing tool for numerous companies. Video games are of course, no exception. Lately however, the game industry has specifically been bombarded with a ridiculous number of sequels. Could this be the end of an industry? Unless sales pick up on original titles, the days of interacting with your TV could be over. This obviously is not a new problem. Any fan of Capcom or EA can surely relate to the issue of sequels. Mega Man had 8 sequels, Street Fighter II had five follow-ups, and EA releases it's sports franchises annually. It's a lot to take in and more than any average consumer can fork out in a year. The problem with the current generation of consoles is not the number of sequels (it could be argued it's roughly the same as it has been for previous consoles), but the insane rate that these games come out. How many trilogies have we had (and soon to have) this generation? Here is my count: 1. Grand Theft Auto 2. Ratchet and Clank 3. Onimusha 4. Splinter Cell 5. Rainbow Six 6. Jak and Daxter 7. Tony Hawk 8. Metal Gear 9. Burnout 10. Medal of Honor 11. NBA Street 12. Advance Wars 13. Devil May Cry 14. Mega Man Zero/Battle Network 15. Zelda (GBA) 16. Guilty Gear 17. WWF Smackdown 18. Tekken 19. Crazy Taxi 20. Final Fantasy 21. Midnight Club 22. TimeSplitters Looking at the list, it's hard to argue about the quality of these games. Most of these franchises are simply superb, but how long before people get tired of playing the same games? The shooter died a slow death right along side the 2-D fighter. People simply stopped playing them and headed for new experiences. Now, these new experiences are not so new. Games that were so fresh in 2001 when the PS2 officially started the generation have become repetitive. Most of these sequels hit less than a year after the previous game, using the same engines that ran the first (or second, or third). Not much can be done to a game in less than a year with the work required on games today. Some companies play it smart. They take their time and make sure their sequel does justice to the original. Id has Doom 3, Sony is working on Gran Turismo 4, Bungie has Halo 2, Konami has Suikoden IV, and Valve is killing themselves trying to get Half-Life 2 out for the holiday season. The problem seems to be that everyone is working in the same genre. Three of the games I mentioned are first-person shooters. There is a simple answer to all of this: Try something new next time you head over to your local gaming store. You might be surprised at what you pick up. Give a new game a shot. Rent something different for a weekend. You might discover you fully enjoy a different genre you didn't even know existed. There are plenty of promising new titles coming this holiday and early next year. Check out the innovative Red Star, the wacky Destroy All Humans, David Jaffe's God of War, or Capcom's impossible to describe Under the Skin. Not only will it do you some good, but the industry as well.

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Comments (2)

Coop:

Matt, you left out LOTRs, although not a triology, it currently has 4 games in the series, albeit by three different manufacturers. And then there is the Star Wars suite of video games. How many times do we need to see excerpts from the various movies? We have Episode 1, we have Pod racing, we have it all. Or, what about Silent Hill? This is killing the video game market. To be honest, I have seen very few "creative" plots that have come out in recent months...it's all the same stuff, over and over again. Shoot-em up, action games. Give me something mentally challenging, too. I love those shoot-em up games, but how bout something we a true plot of challenge. Anyone can aim and fire, but how many people can face chanllenges of mental riddles or problem-solving games. Sure, I'm guilty of running out and buying all the games in a triology because I like the title, but at $50 a pop, it's getting to be a bit much. I agree. Try something different. How about the classic Bust-A-Move? Is that even in print anymore?

Bust-A-Move was on the PS2, pretty early on in the consoles life. It wasn't that great. Stick with the Saturn version which remains the best of the home consoles. The Geo version has a ton going for it as well.

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