Speaking of Comics & Video Games: Port Sherry – The Obsolete Add-on

This is a repost from smashy.net. Why? Two reasons – 1) I have a partial archive of the smashy.net site and it’s been down due to a problem with it’s ISP, and 2) I started a really good post yesterday regarding Facebook while I was at the dentist and I lost it on the WordPress iPhone app. This was originally posted on March 4th, 2009, but it seems pertinent to the holiday season…

The Obsolete Add-on

The tag line for Pedro Arzipe’s Port Sherry web comic is “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man…”. The March 4, 2009 comic titled “The Obsolete Add-on” so deftly illustrates how far we’ve come with video games as well as how much we’ve lost.

In this era of next generation consoles we are able to celebrate ‘the next big thing’. For those of us who were born and raised on Atari 2600 home arcades, ColecoVision, Intellivision, the Odyssey and the Commodore 64 we can only marvel at how much detail and raw computing resources are required to produce the modern video game. Whereas we were used to 16 color sprites sporadically moving across the screen today’s PC & console games regale us with things we only fantasized about: particle physics, bump maps and texturizing, variable light sources much less worlds which did not require linear play and environments that allowed you to interact with them.

The Obsolete Add-on” captures the innocence of those early years of video gaming and pretty much nails the generational differences between gamers of yesteryear and today. Whereas back in the day we relied on our imagination to pretend that we were driving the Formula 1 racers in Activision’s Grand Prix these days were drifting through corners in games like Gran Tourismo or the Need For Speed series. We played Atari’s ‘Combat!’ and hid behind blocks on the screens which were buildings and bunkers, ricocheting our shells on certain game settings while these days we’re reliving almost every military campaign imaginable in gritty, realistic detail. My Samus from Metroid looked like a gingerbread cookie; today she is rendered with muscle tone, flowing locks and ample boobies.

Are we spoiled these days? In a sense, yes. For a good portion of the video gaming experience we no longer have to think and players can concentrate instead on the game play. Do I regret the marvelous advancements that have been made to bring the games industry where it is? That’s a toss up. I can’t wait to see where we end up and how advanced the system and the games become.

I whole heartedly recommend reading through Arzipe’s comic for some interesting commentary on gaming.