Although computers have come a long way since the beginning of the digital age, I can't help but feel that something has been lost of the artistry that once dominated the field. Nowhere is this lost more apparent than in computer game design. At the very beginning of the digital age, computer game designers were programmers. Computer game design was not a profession at that point, but a hobby. The technology was pretty primitive by today's standards, but it was a very fresh and new to the people who are working with it. The graphics were simple, so computer game designs had to be based around elegant programming and interesting and playable concepts for gaming. Things sure have changed since those days.
Don't get me wrong, there are some good things about modern computer game design. Computer game design has become a full-fledged professional field, with artists, programmers, interface designers, story borders, and all kinds of other specializations to make the most impressive games in history. Modern computer games even have actors in them for gods sake! But I can't help thinking that something is been lost. You see, modern computer game design is based not around having good games,but having impressive graphics and big explosions. The coders are so distant from the game but it feels like gameplay suffers. It is all based on using the most advanced design tools available, so those for programming the game never get to actually interact with it. I can't help but think that this isn't how it should be.
I have talked to a lot of players, as well as programmers. Many of them appreciate all of the computer game editors out there as well as the sophisticated graphic engines that allow them to play, edit, and create fantastic characters. But at the same time, almost all of them play some of the classic arcade games of yesterday. Why is this? In part, I am sure, it is nostalgia. Most of us grew up in the early age of computer game design. We miss the games of our childhood from time to time. But I do not think that this is all that there is to it. It seems to me that something is missing from the games of today, and that people notice it. The escapism is great. You can believe that you really are there in the action. But at the same time, wouldn't it be great if computer game design could capture some of the magic of yesterday?