What If: The World Had Another Console Crash

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First off I need to address the issue of mine and Raen’s zombification a couple of weeks back. Whilst the Left 4 Dead 2 launch event didn’t go quite according to plan for the pair of us; we are okay now. We reversed the effect by doing the only thing possible…we covered ourselves in lamb’s blood and prayed to George A. Romero…it’s the only known cure. I also received a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter from the BBC this week. I had no idea what they were talking about until I realised that a certain Tuffcub had redecorated our time travelling microwave, which now bore a striking resemblance to a certain time lord’s vehicle of choice. But everything is back to normal now.

So what question did we pose this week? Given the struggling economic times, we asked a very scary question: What If we experienced another console ‘crash’. Back in 1983 the gaming world neared extinction due to lack of variety and abundance of crap. So, we did all the technical stuff, such as plugging in the microwave, and found ourselves in July 2010; the eve of gaming’s demise.

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Of course this didn’t happen overnight and we had to do a bit of research using this reality’s God – Yahoo! (it’s already a reality I don’t like) – to discover the chain of events that were leading to the doom that lay ahead. Here’s a brief summary of the fictional event.

More and more non-game-related companies began to see the industry as a cash cow and began to get involved by funding developers to create nothing more than interactive marketing strategies. Despite Microsoft’s financial stronghold and Sony’s ever-increasing improvement, both systems had begun feeling the effects of such drivel. Titles such as ‘Cadbury’s Racing’, ‘MFI D.I.Y’ and ‘ASDA Wal Mart Shoot ‘Em Up’ began flooding the market and gamers were losing interest in the flagging industry…fast. When Call of Duty 625 was released it failed to make even 100,000 sales in its first week worldwide and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It started off with Microsoft declaring that it was to stop development of all its exclusive titles and Sony tried desperately to hang on; but they soon followed suit. Now, with no quality franchises left, the market became even more saturated in nonsensical rubbish. Strangely, the Wii was flourishing with sales of ‘Coca-Cola: Can Opener’ going through the roof.

This had all lead to July 2010 where Microsoft and Sony did the unimaginable; they declared the console arms of their respective businesses…defunct. Raen and I expected a riot as a result but actually, no one seemed that surprised; especially the serious gamers who had lost interest in the industry some time ago.

Online games with real and virtual friends were no more. Gamers becoming engrossed in immersive single player campaigns were no more. Gasps of “those graphics are amazing” were no more. Even arguments between fan boys and media cries of ‘controversy’ were no more. Console gaming was dead. Thousands upon thousands were made unemployed, which had a major impact on the global economics and the loss of this one industry pushed the world deeper into recession. The situation was grim…people had to play board games with their families!

We hit fast forward on the microwave and it wasn’t until 7 years later that a glimmer of hope appeared. With gaming being no more than a memory to most, the market was open to any and all that dared to risk it, but if successful, could pave the way for innovative consoles and games. It wasn’t Microsoft or Sony that took this risk; it was an entirely new company – which we’ve codenamed ‘Squirrel’ so not to upset the foundations of the future – that brought a staggeringly powerful piece of hardware to the market. ‘Squirrel’ had set-up an in house team of developers in order to provide titles of quality and originality. It had also secretly been buying the rights to some of gaming’s best loved franchises in order to bring them back to the public. Their console had strict rules over which games could be developed, eliminating the possibility of titles such ‘Bird’s Eye: Cook Off’, which were instrumental in the demise of consoles.

We pressed fast forward once again and 4 years later saw the re-emergence of Sony and a year after that, Microsoft; both with freshly-named hardware. It took a while but the type of gaming that we know and love did return and it was stronger than ever.

Without wanting to sound like a ‘Jerry’s Final Thought’ it’s obvious that gaming can no longer be looked at as a sub-standard industry or a ‘joke’, but at the same time it needs to be guarded from a barrage of stale tie-ins and lacklustre franchises. Original IP or innovative additions to well-established IP are necessary for the gaming community to a) not lose interest and b) want to spend their hard-earned and strictly-budgeted cash.

Back to our reality and still the biscuit tin is empty. Honestly, what have we got to do to get a Custard Cream around here?

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