Convergence of Genres/Platforms

“Technological convergence is the process by which existing technologies merge into new forms that bring together different types of media and applications”

Quote from wiseGEEK

Technological convergence speaks of this nature of technology to be continually streamlined. It isn’t a dissimilar concept to what is occurring within video games. In terms of gaming genres such as; Action, RPG, Strategy, etc. They all seem to be continually being meshed and categorized within the same sphere for a more extensive experience that effectively covers more than 1 genre. It wasn’t too long ago however, when games were far simpler than this. They’d have the player do one specific thing, then be categorized into one singular genre. Take Mass Effect for instance, it’s concurrently three different genres; Action, RPG and a Shooter. But are these created for the purpose of strengthening other genres?

I mean, the shooting genre is particularly bland if taken by itself. It’s the player shooting at a target until they get bored, but if you add in the the advancing technology and strengthening story elements seen in games today like BioShock Infinite and Mass Effect, they come together into a highly action-packed experience that is both entertaining, has a interesting story and most of all fun.

So is it all bad? No. I’d much prefer to see a bland shooter such as Call of Duty with a far greater and richer narrative experience if they genre merged with say, an RPG element to it.

Mechanics themselves are even beginning to merge into one. Bethesda creators of Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and the Elder Scrolls series have implemented in their past 4 games, the ability to switch between First Person perspective and Third Person perspective. I thought this an interesting topic to bring up in a post about convergence because of how these two distant elements that are practically the encompassing element of a game rarely, if not at all, ever co-exist within a game.

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Imagine every First Person game having a Third Person element? It’d be very strange. I can see it being an up and coming thing though, First Person perspectives for narrative purposes put the player inside the characters mind thus which why they are a predominant perspective within gaming, but the ability to also have that distant viewpoint of Third Person to allow the player not only to immerse within the world, but also to see the character is an oddity. I’d like to see more of it.

In terms of convergence between platforms, i think Sonic The Hedgehog is the best example to pull into scope here. Sonic was a hit on the 2D platform, revered by fans and created by SEGA in their competition with Nintendo’s Mario. Yet when they tried to pull the character into the 3D environment it was met with much criticism because of how it altered the gaming dynamic being on a three-dimensional plane. So, is it fair to say that 2D-3D convergence doesn’t work and should be left alone? That’s subjective. To those that initially experienced the 2D experience, it may be unusually atrocious in comparison, but to those raised in a different generation that were raised on the later 3D experience, their opinion would vary tremendously. In essence, the two experiences are infact two different games. They may have the same speedster ethos that Sonic has, but if you alter the perspective of a game, you alter the experience, thus making a differing game.

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