This looks familia– Oh, hey! Look! It’s shiny!

While reading chapter four, I was particularly struck by Koster’s assertion that, after a point, certain types of games just recycle old material instead of coming up with something original. I believed him, but I thought he wasn’t giving those games enough credit. Sure, they might be following the same old formula, but they’re still fun. After thinking this, I stored the chapter away in the back of my mind– until I played one of the assigned games for Thursday’s class: Asteroids. It seemed oddly familiar, even though I’d never played it before. After poking around on the Internet for awhile, I realized why. It was exactly like Geometry Wars! Except, you know, less pretty.

Geometry Wars is a game (or series of games, really) for mainly the Xbox 360, but also for Wii and Nintendo DS. It’s simple, but as you can see, completely over-the-top with its graphics. There are explosions of light, pulsing neon colors, and often catchy techno background music. But underneath all of that, it is almost the exact same game as Asteroids.

You can play the significantly less visually astounding flash version on Newgrounds here, and see for yourself the similarity between it and Asteroids. This is an example of how videogames are just reusing the same old formulas instead of being innovative– do they think that if we get distracted by all of the pretty colors and explosions, we won’t notice the recycled material?

(The braver of you folk can download a more-authentic-but-still-knockoff version of Geometry Wars, called Grid Wars, here. The links are down at the bottom.)

One thought on “This looks familia– Oh, hey! Look! It’s shiny!

  1. Professor Sample

    This is a real debate within the game industry itself: what counts as innovation? For the longest time, it seemed to be more realistic graphics, better shadowing effects, and more power-ups. These are, as you note, just shiny coats of paint on old games. True innovations in gameplay are much harder to find, though I hope we discover some this semester….

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