The New Golden Age of Gaming

It used to be that when I bought a game, I would play it for weeks. It would have no microtransactions of any kind, no online connection, no telemetry, no updates required to work, no bugs, crashes, or stuttering encountered.
I won't write walls of text on that, if you are here, you surely know how much the quality of videogames has plummeted. What I want to write about, is something fresh, something unexpected.
Let me play the devil's advocate, and support the following statement:

We already live in a Golden Age of Gaming

Around 2012, indie gaming exploded (see rogue legacy 1, FTL etc etc), and indies started competing against AAA. 10 years later, in 2022, one thing is certain: Indies won.
Every year, there are less AAA releases, and more great indie games releasing.
Even now, the indie market is still growing and taking over the influence of AAA.

There was a lot of good-will by the players (the reverse of boycott aka support good games by buying them), and indies were made by players who grew in the Golden Age of Gaming and seeked to imitate it. AAA kept undelivering, indies kept over-delivering:

accurate image of gamedev mindsets

After all, if you want to stop something, you shouldnt whine and complain, but replace it with something better. Want a personal example? If you want to stop someone from eating shit food, you cant expect him to stop exclusively by shaming him, but making some healthy tasty ez food e.g. put meat into a pan, fill it with fresh orange juice and dump it into the oven. No other ingredients are even needed.
Meme analogies aside, open-source software won by providing a better alternative to every proprietary software, indies won by providing a better alternative to every genre covered by AAA.

"B-But there aren't good videogayms releasing!"


Why do you look into new releases, but not past ones? 99% of games nowadays are horrible, and every big release ends up a dissapointment. It is true that in the past it wasn't like this, but you also had no past games to play back then, so you depended on new releases.

Today, there are enough great games to play for at least 10 years more.

When I started development of Double Damnation back in 2018, I genuinely believed gaming was "dead", there were no good videogames to play anymore, and I couldn't find any joy in any videogame I played. I literally had no videogames to play, and I was hungry. But this was because I hadn't spent any time searching for good old games. All I was exposed was new games with a big marketing budget, and steam's shitty list of games, and google search results. I didn't try out normie friend recommendations but kept nostalgiafagging. I saw people so often getting hyped for new videogames, sometimes even enjoying them, and I didn't even care at some point, I just wanted to enjoy a videogame too...

I frequently shit on any videogame I saw friends playing or enjoying, unconsciously!
"This game has no hitstun on enemies smh" "Wtf are these floaty controls lmao"

I started trying games I wouldn't try, because I often got burned out from development and had nothing to do, and I realized how close-minded I was, to have thought I have played "most good videogames".

Nowadays, I admittedly rarely play videogames, but I have finished too many videogames already, and I can safely say that if you look forward to enjoying new videogames, look into the past, not the future.

Old games you never heard about are New

Sure, there is a lot of trash, but there are so many gems. The hardest part is that old gems have 0 marketing and 0 exposure, so there is seemingly no way to learn about them...
However, there are a few autists covering old games.
I remember SsethTzeentach covering Star Sector (a game which isn't released on any platform and also 0 marketing) and God Hand (a PS2 game I didn't even know existed)
I downloaded both, just in case, and later, when I happened to have no internet, I tried them out of curiosity and was hooked for a full month, playing even when I regained internet. It made me recognize that...
The problem isn't that quality videogames aren't released, but that they aren't recognized and spread. This is the main reason I made my game library (hover a game for mini-review), so as to help others find good videogames (aside of shrugging the burden of having wasted years on videogames)

Today's Quality of AAA


I haven't been hyped for a AAA game in years, and I think this applies to most. Maybe 1 hype game per year instead of 0, is more accurate. Regardless, there are 2 AAA studios which deserve my attention:
FromSoftware and CreativeAssembly (Total War: Warhammer)
Obviously, all AAA releases are buggy, which leads to...

Don't play at release. Play when the updates stop.

You can play a game only once for the first time. Make it the best experience possible.

Play at release, and you literally pay to beta-test a videogame.
A game which gets updates = A game in development, and you are literally playing an unfinished game.
Play when development ends, and you play the ultimate, most polished version of the game. Just like the original Golden Age of videogames where the game you bought was final and complete, it needed no updates. Not to mention its a lot cheaper to buy a game after updates stop ("Game of the year edition", or just a discount)

The Olympic Standards of Players

A huge amount of those who play videogames are incredibly based and aware of predatory practices.
If you view it from a corporate viewpoint, gamers are the most informed consumer group in existence. Their standards are stuck in the Golden Age of Gaming, and everytime they get nostalgic, they want a game as good as sweet memories. If a game is worse, they won't enjoy it. This means they can't play shitty games for months, and this forces developers to git gud, gradually. This is most obvious in game design, where even "mediocre" game designers nowadays provide excellent quality of game designs. Sadly, this doesn't apply for all gamedev fields. UI is getting worse, as mobiledevs are often hired to design UI, with no prior desktop UI experience.
My point here is that development tools get better, alongside other parts of game development, and if a gamedev has tasted the Golden Age of Gaming, he will produce such a game, given enough time and money.
Yes, the problem isn't that there aren't enough great game developers - in fact, there are too many! There isn't a lack of passion or skill. The real problem is the lack of enough development funds. A bunch of autists cannot group together for a few years, without compromising their vision or selling out.

Personal Epilogue

I obviously don't believe we live in a Golden Age of Videogames. But we are not far away. 2023 will have 2 games which should shadow over this entire decade!
Dwarf Fortress' Steam Release looks too hype to be true!

Total Warhammer III by 2023 should hopefully have:

I still can't believe Total Warhammer has simultaneous multiplayer! I didn't even bother suggesting it at any forum because I thought it was impossible...

Anyway, the above 2 games should provide me with a decade of replayability, without any exaggeration. Because atop of deep systems, and tons of content, they cannot grow boring or familiar. How?
They have multiplayer, so they cannot grow old, or become unchallenging. Yes, I include dwarf fortress (DFPlex) And with modding, and officially continuous updates, that's infinite gameplay. Feelsamazingman. 2 games to carry the entire gaming industry. And perhaps I will visit "old" games like Cyberpunk and Elden Ring if their dev cycle is finished. But before that, there are so many old games I would like to play first...

The only unknown variable is how much time will I spend on them?
Because I hopefully will be doing better stuff than consooming videogames, like creating my own videogames or books, or even be enjoying blessed countryside by then.