Another thing that I was thinking recently is that it seems like the best games are all coming out for the DS. I’ve never been a handheld console fan before, partly because I couldn’t see what I was doing before the era of backlit consoles, but also partly because the games just never grabbed me. It feels like nowadays the DS is getting all the interesting, fun stuff that I want to buy. I have a list of DS games as long as my arm that I plan to get, and my serious wishlist for other consoles is about… three games long. I’ve always felt like TV consoles were “the main event”, so I’m surprised to be gravitating to a handheld so strongly all of a sudden.
Of course there’s the whole innovative interactions thing, and it’s Nintendo, but then Nintendo has had some lackluster eras IMO as well– I was completely uninterested in the N64, never felt a twinge of regret from having jumped ship to Sony, because the PS1 was the system with all the great games back then.
I think it may be in part because there’s no pressure to have the most amazing graphics on the block– if you want graphics, you don’t go for a handheld game. So the software corporations are okaying games that have simple art but great concepts, instead of okaying games that have boring/ripoff concepts but fancy art. And now that handhelds have gotten to the point where they can do decent 3-D graphics even if they’re not omgphotorealistic, enough that people find the graphics pretty reasonable, they’re starting to attract more attention, I guess. So they’re Serious Platforms enough to be getting games with really big ideas nowadays.
And I suppose when I look at that, the future of gaming looks a lot brighter than otherwise for someone like me who would much rather play something fun and creative than something pretty but insubstantial. However, it does make me worry about what’ll happen when handhelds start going for awesome fancy art… hopefully they will always realise that they just aren’t made to reach for that target, and reach for that of fun instead.