DRM issues, poor performance, and crashing servers
If you’re like us, you like the Internet, but there are unfortunately downsides to the service. It seems that over the years, developers have been releasing unfinished buggy games, hoping to just patch the situation later.
Spore may not have been the next big leap in the gaming's evolution, but you can't fault Will Wright's ambition. The man never simply settles for what works. Some people dream big. Wright dreams larger-than-life. That said, his next game – titled HiveMind – isn't turning you into the omnipotent (if a teensy bit clumsy with natural-disaster-based apocalypses) ruler of a little community, big city, or entire galaxy. This time, the god of god games has his sights set on the real world.
Why settle for ranking within a calendar year when you’ve got a whole (depending on where you start counting) decade available? Wired has cobbled together it’s 15 “most influential games of the decade,” and, it may be safe to conclude from the list, it wasn’t much of a decade for gaming.
There are some iconic games on the list: World of Warcraft (4), Halo (6), Silent Hill 2 (11), and Half-Life 2 (12). But there’s also a few that are more time-filler than influential: Brain Age (5), Bejeweled (7), Wii Sports (8), Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (9), and Happy Farm (14). (Okay, you had fun with them, but in what profound way did they impact gaming? What legacy did each leave behind that shapes gaming now or in the future?)
Still, in all fairness, Wired seems to acknowledge that its list is a bit dodgy. While expecting great things at the start of the decade, Wired concludes “it went down like this: A whole bunch of companies dumped a whole lot of money down the next-gen sinkhole, and the number of publishers that could be counted on to deliver bleeding-edge entertainment without going broke in the process dwindled to just a few.” In other words, the industry took a big gamble on the high-end and lost, leaving behind a lot of unrealized potential.
As for The Sims, Wired notes that while 100 million copies were sold, “many people don’t even consider The Sims to be a game at all.” Perhaps that about sums it up for gaming over the past ten years.
After 12 years of printing money working in faithful service to EA, Sims and Spore’s resident genius has decided to call it quits. But just because Wright managed to create a virtual representation of all biological existence doesn’t mean he’s done making most other game designers look silly just yet – far from it.
Wright’s next endeavor, called Stupid Fun Club, is a think tank that has actually been bubbling around for a few years now. However, back when it was merely a side project, the most unfittingly named club ever seemed content to just manufacture cutting-edge robots – whereas now, it’ll develop new intellectual properties across multiple media formats like film, TV, the Internet, and of course, videogames.
Make no mistake, though: EA may have let Wright off the leash, but – much to the chagrin of some, we’re sure – Stupid Fun Club is still very much in the mega-publisher’s lap. As a result, EA owns just as much Stupid Fun Club stock as Wright himself and has the first right to develop anything the thinkin’-est tank in the business comes up with.
The rub of it all? Mr. Wright hasn’t exactly given EA his walking papers, but he’ll certainly have more wiggling room, at least in the conceptual phase, from now on. As for his first task as an un-tethered man, we’re hoping he’ll invent a few new words to replace “stupid” on the intelligence hierarchy, since he’s apparently laid claim to it. Really, it’s not even fair. If Will friggin’ Wright calls himself stupid, what’s everyone else?