Timeless is the quality something obtains when it is eternal, ageless, immortal or not affected by time. My view of this is that it’s possible for truly great entertainment to be able to be enjoyed in no matter what time it is viewed. This is particularly prevalent in theatre or film. Many a time there are countless articles and lists of people ranking films or plays as timeless classics to be enjoyed by anyone through reading the story, watching the film or enjoying a play. My question simply is what games will stand the test of time and what will people play in the future even as consoles or generations progress?
Many people still enjoy classic films in no particular order such as :
- King Kong (1933)
- Snow White and the Seven dwarfs (1937)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- Meet John Doe (1941)
- Casablanca (1942)
- Psycho (1960)
- Star wars (1977)
Many would argue such films are enjoyable and engaging even today, although I’m sure others would disagree and may prefer others or other classics over those listed. They just happen to be ones that I have seen.
In another medium of entertainment which is theatre most would know that many of it’s plays have already received timeless status and are often studied and viewed today long after they were written originally. Plays written by Shakespeare were written hundreds of years ago and people still enjoy them. Although not everyone would agree about their interest in Shakespeare the fact stands that the plays appear of timeless status which has been given to most of them over the years.
Some classic plays include:
- King Lear
- Oedipus the king
- Antony and Cleopatra
- A street car named desire
- Romeo and Juliet
What I’m trying to point out is that like plays or films video games are also a form of entertainment and also like plays and films video games are also a form of storytelling. However the medium is different. Unlike plays or films where you watch and observe what is happening, video games differ. Video games offer an interactive experience that allows a user to interact and in some games change the outcomes of a story or choose their own path to an eventual goal.
It’s hard to know really what will define a timeless game based on the video game industry currently as it is younger in age when compared to other mediums so the test of time cannot be properly examined. In my view what games will be timeless will be those that turn out to be the greatest games of each generation and would probably extend to a large handful of titles. But would also have to be enjoyable with people still using the game and relating to; or enjoying the game well into the future.
There are probably a few of these already, but what can be seen from older generation consoles is there are still games people play from other era’s. I will provide only one example but I know there are many more. Sonic, the original Sonic released in 1991 is still played today. People can purchase and play the game for their enjoyment on the iPhone, PlayStation network and Xbox live along with many other devices. Sonic is still known throughout the video game community as a classic character and the game is still playable and played today. Possibly this game may overtime become a timeless classic along with others of it’s generation. Although it is not large in story, it is representative of games of the time and would likely be observed by people studying that era in gaming.
As for the modern generation it’s hard to know what games people will go back and play say 10 or 15 years from now. But as the gaming medium has advanced the aspect of storytelling has also advanced. Games like the Uncharted series, the Grand Theft Auto series, Final Fantasy series or even stand alone games like Red Dead Redemption or Heavy rain all have demonstrated that video games are able to provide a rich story telling experience. where I’m sure people have been drawn to and stayed playing the game purely to see how the story turns out. The ending of such games can either move or inspire people and could even change their view of the world or evoke emotion from the player once witnessing a games climax.
Many people were moved by the ending of Red Dead redemption and the games character development. Strong entertainment experiences leave their can leave their mark on a person etching the experience in memory for a long time after viewing. Games it seems can do this just as well as movies or theatre, given the right mix of course.
Other games like the GTA series could be looked back on in the future as reflections of our time; as GTA is often a parody or reflection of the era’s it chooses to portray in the same way that many films reflect the times they were made. It’s most likely many games will do the same. Or some may redefine or define a genre such as the Mass Effect trilogy and its impact on science fiction stories in gaming along with its unique story telling experience. Mass Effect had one of the most vibrant and interactive stories of all time, things like this draw people in, things like it are remembered. Games like Mass Effect will likely be replayed, enjoyed and remember for some time to come. Or will they?
There is of course the people who don’t like anything at all about classic games. Those that say they played an older game but stopped as they couldn’t stand the graphics or their memory of it was different and so they do not play them at all. They prefer to play simply what is new, there is nothing wrong with this it’s possible they just don’t relate or are not interested enough. I had a friend that would watch nothing that is old, would not watch a classic film no matter what it was, does not listen to classic music, does not play old games or even watch TV shows that are old. I recently asked them if they had played Red Dead Redemption (only a few years old), their response “no that game is to old for me, I can’t stand it, I prefer something new” or when I was playing Starcraft 1 a while ago their quote exactly “is that the games graphics? I thought it would be better, I don’t want to play that game haha why do you play that one for?”. I don’t really understand these types of people, maybe because I can enjoy things new and old and appreciate them for what they are rather than comparing to what they could be or what modern things are like in comparison. I just prefer to enjoy it. I think those type of people are they ones who really miss out the most.
Personally I prefer some of both, not everything old is good some of it is terrible but at the same time not every new game or new film is great because it’s “new” some new things are equally as bad. Those that are great will be able to entertain and provide a great experience or vibrant story that is enjoyable whenever viewed, of course to people interested. It’s possible timeless entertainment is closer to art in a way, being timeless would mean its viewing experience as time progresses remains unchanged as is the case with art.
So what do you all think? Do you think games can be timeless? Or do you prefer to play only what is new ignoring all in the past? What games do you see as being timeless? Are there some that should be forgotten? What should be remembered?