Debate Club: Revisiting Old Discussions

While we really enjoy doing Debate Club and it’s arguably our most popular regular feature, the structure of it does tend to leave a lot of topics “hanging.” The counterpoint person gets to have the last word, and the topic just kind of ends there. Well, we decided that we wanted to give each other the chance to revisit past debate clubs (or “Point/Counterpoint” as the feature was first called) where we really would’ve liked to add something but didn’t get the chance to, or simply just look at the topic again with fresh eyes to see if our thoughts on any of the discussions had changed significantly.

“Why 3D Gaming Shouldn’t Die”

I definitely stand by my overall position on this, which is that I think gamers were way too cynical about and hard on 3D games, and as a result most game makers have scaled back on making it a priority before it had the chance to really come into its own and have all the kinks worked out. However, there is one thing I will eat some serious crow on: bashing the Oculus Rift. I’ve had the chance to play with one a little bit, and I have to admit, it’s pretty badass. Ironically, though, since I’ve written that piece there was the major development that Facebook was buying Oculus VR, the company that makes the Rift, and now many of its staunchest supporters have turned on it because it “sold out.” I guess I’m just never going to share the gaming community at large’s opinion of anything related to games in 3D. Oh well, I still play MY 3DS with the 3D all the way cranked up, and nobody can take that away from me, “2DS” be damned.

“Is Nintendo Dying?”

There are few things I defend with more passion and get more angry at dissent of than Nintendo. They’ve provided us with consistently excellent games and wonderful memories for over 3 decades now, and their games and characters have been ingrained in the childhoods of several generations. So I just don’t understand why people are so hard on them when they are going through one of their rougher patches, when I feel they’ve earned better than that. They are an old friend that should be supported in times of trouble, not scolded for their mistakes and given advice that amounts to “Just give up and sell out and compromise everything you’ve stood for as a company.” Unfortunately, the news and the numbers have looked continually worse in the four months since me piece, which means the naysaying has also grown proportionately stronger.

I guess I really only brought this one up again because it continues to disappoint me the way the gaming community seems to treat Nintendo, and actually thinks having Mario games for the iPhone and Zelda games for the PS4 are the right decision for Nintendo. The thought of a “core” Nintendo game on a mobile phone makes me cringe; why that’s what so many people are pulling for, I just don’t understand. Yes, spending a little extra cash to a Wii U and a 3DS and having to have two extra pieces of hardware around isn’t as economical or convenient as just being able to play their games on consoles and mobile devices we already have. But Nintendo has ALWAYS given us top quality gaming experiences for each and every platform they’ve put out (save for the Virtual Boy), and every single Nintendo platform has had more than enough excellent, must-have games to make the cost of said platform worth the investment. If you don’t agree, then I guess you just miss out on the latest Mario and Zelda and Mario Kart and Smash Bros and so on. Your loss. And when the result of your turning on Nintendo is that the next Mario game is an endless runner for iOS, you’ll know who was to blame, and it’s not Nintendo. Or me.

“Is Video Game Music Losing Its Identity?”

I fully concede this debate to Steve. I realize that my pining for the old days of video game music being unique and chiptuned and all that is really more just my own nostalgia than it is an actual indictment of what has been mostly evolution. I still don’t like how many game soundtracks have that generic “epic” orchestral sound, but that’s more a criticism of lazy composers who don’t strive to be more than John Williams tribute bands than try to be truly unique and interesting. Grand, sweeping music is what just fits most games nowadays. The bleep-bloop-bleep sound of one of the SNES Final Fantasy games wouldn’t exactly mesh well with a game like Skyrim, or even a modern Final Fantasy. Besides, there are enough smaller games that aren’t shackled to huge music that are doing creative things with their soundtracks – a recent example is the pixel art horror game Lone Survivor – that are keeping the idea of “video game music” as a separate entity alive and well.