In the last few days I’ve had off, I have been able to catch up on a lot of the games that I missed. I played Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Halo 3, God of War 2 and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Mass Effect, BioShock and Assassin’s Creed.
I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about it. Clearly, we’re killing TV because we are TV. Or movies. Or something. (Which is why everyone is upset over my saying this style of games may be doomed). Many of these games played exactly the same on a gameplay level. The differences were largely in the stunning graphics and the storytelling and cinematography.
But more critically, they were all so intense. It was strange to compare it to other games that I also tried, like the PS3 downloadable Pain, which is a very simple game but had all of us rolling on the floor laughing.
Then I read this Rolling Stone article on “The Death of High Fidelity,” about the “loudness war” and the way in which all our music these days is mastered with high compression. Something I knew about already, but hadn’t thought about in this light. The argument is that as music has gone from being a hobbyist audiophile thing to a ubiquitous utility listened to in noisier places all the time, the music itself is recorded to be louder and more penetrating, losing nuance.
Well, games are increasingly becoming a ubiquitous utility. I am sure you can see where I am going with this.
It brings me to the tougher question of how much nuance we had to lose.