Do Videogames suck now is an entire genre of Youtube videos, And I’m here to put a bullet hopefully in most of them.
Are you in a rut right now unable to find a game to settle into. Are you flicking from game to game but are unable to fill the Jesus shaped hole in your heart with any game. Do you think back fondly to [insert nostalgic year here] and tell yourself games were so much better when you were a kid. Not like now with the endless sea of failed live service games, microtransactions and stream bait royales.
If So Well Click your bell bottoms together three times and repeat after me there’s no place like the 70s and let me tell you a story.
So The Year is 1973, Only two years into commercial gaming and the industry was already in a rut. Atari had rocked the world with the adrenaline pumping cutting edge gameplay of a pong machine and due to forgetting to get a copyright the landscape was now awash in pong clones.
Atari knew it had to do something the industry had so far never seen. They had to make a game more popular than Pong.
Let’s go to the whiteboard. What’s the one thing more popular than pong? Tits.
The only thing that could save Atari was bolting a pair of jugs to a box and getting people to fondle them. Does this sound like a joke to you? Does this look like a joke to you.
Inspired by a glitch in Pong that would scatter the score display all over the screen pong creator Al Acorn developed a two player maze game called Gotcha for Atari. This was the first time a game had been designed out of glitch, a method later championed by the Elder Scrolls and fallout games.
The gameplay is really just cat and mouse with one dot character being represented by a woman in a nightgown and the other by a rapist. I mean conga line enthusiast.
The cabinet designer George Faraco among others at Atari confirmed the boob controls “They didn’t have bumps on them or anything, but the way they were the size of grapefruits next to each other, you got the picture of what they were supposed to be.”
Regan Cheng, Rest in peace, backed up the design inspiration “The tops of the Gotcha controls? Yeah they did look like boobs. Those were done by George Faraco – he had some really far out ideas,”
Shortly after release Atari chickened out and gave the game normal pointy nipple controllers. Despite this the game got dubbed the boob game. It’d be another 30 years before Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball would claim this title.
Fascinatingly, documents show that there was going to be a twenty player version of the game developed for a trade show, illustrating their ideas for what Massively Local Multiplayer gaming might look like. I have no idea how you’d differentiate that many players when you’re all essentially fuzzy little cubes. That might have been part of the reason it never happened.
It’s also the first colour game, but this was only confirmed properly in 2016 after someone found and repaired a broken PCB from Ebay. That means it beat the Wimbledon Pong Clone by a couple weeks.
Anyway the game tanked despite the sex appeal of those two pixel characters.
Four years later the 1977 video game crash occurred, attributed mostly to the pong gravy train finally overextending and dying an overstocked death. (The ET crash happened in 1983 by the way.)
Oh also Atari and a bunch of the other clones got successfully sued for lifting the tennis concept from the Magnavox Odyssey.
So do games suck now? As far as Triple A is concerned, sure why not. They’re all still making the 21st century equivalent of high fidelity pong clones, now with daily login bonuses and cash shops to dress up your paddles. Triple A big boi game makers have never changed. Safe money will always be spent making a homogenous ubisoft-like broth of a video game. Mmm Assassins creed Broth-erhood.
But letting Triple A define gaming is such a boring conversation, Fuck Triple A it can’t tell us what to do. And judging by the games you guys tell me you’re playing I already know I don’t even need to be telling you that.
The games industry has sucked and ruled in equal measure since the very day it was conceived. And around the edges people will always be making incredible experiences, now more than ever. Steam averages 34 new games a day, and you bet your arse that most of them are boob games as well.
There’s gold in dem there hills, under mountains of shit and anime girls admittedly, but it’s there, and I’m going to use this channel to hopefully help find it.
Anyway this was actually a long roundabout way of saying that Gotcha! is the first recipient of my Retroactive 1973 Game of the year Golden Rattie Award.
Nice try guys. You gave it your breast shot.
So we end up falling into a rut thinking all games are the same, and not find anything worth our time playing.