Firewatch: The Uniqueness of Gaming and Preserving its History
The current generation of game consoles have already given us some incredible experiences. As my generation of gamer gets older (currently clocking in at 31 years old), the experiences are becoming more complex and compelling. In the last 6 months I have played some outstanding games, some of which have really left an impression on me. One of the games that really hooked me was ‘Firewatch’; I enjoyed it so much that I had to shred it in one sitting - something I hardly ever do.
The game evoked so many emotions through the way the story was crafted. Within the first 15 minutes I was fully invested in the character and I could relate to the struggles and reasoning. ‘Firewatch’ is one of those games that I use as a talking point when people don’t really understand video games. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy blasting my way through rebel scum on battlefront too and for me that’s the beauty of different games as they offer me varying experiences. This generation has provided so many unique experiences and I really can’t remember a console generation quite like this one. It has been the rise of the ‘Indie Game’, due to more accessible development tools, that have formed part of this new landscape. Another factor is that game developers themselves have come of age, many people making games are now close to my age and have a wealth of gaming history to draw from – paying homage and in turn creating some of the best indie games to grace our screens (e.g. Shovel knight, Hotline Miami, Unravel, to name a few).
That being said, the one thing I really hope that the gaming industry manages to sort out is the archiving. When you want to watch an old movie, the chances are it is on an accessible format. When I want to play an old game, you have to hunt down the old hardware and get it connected up with compatible leads and whatever else. Remakes and anniversary versions of classics are of course in full swing now, but I can’t remember the last time I played an old game and had a great experience (try playing vintage Tomb Raider now, time has not been kind). This is due to the marching of time, and unfortunately videogames age quickly and more often than not don’t hold up over the years. Streaming services like Steam and PlayStation Now are at least helping people access older content on current hardware, but it still does not stop old games feeling dated. To be honest in my opinion, it does not matter how dated games feel, the bigger issue is about preserving these pieces of art. I feel videogames are no different than films or books and need to be treated as such. I don’t want old games to be tied to old hardware and lost in the ether. I want to be able to show younger generations of gamers in the years to come the great experiences I have had in an excitable and affordable way.
There are a wealth of good games being made by hugely talented people and we need to preserve their legacy.
Jake Buchanan / @HDD_Heart