It's the same routine roughly every five to six years. This time, with the Xbox360, it is even close to 8 years. A new generation of video game consoles is about to hit the streets. And as ususal, expectations are running high while publishers dole out big promises like candy on Halloween. What is the craze this time? Even glossier, more lifelike and higher defined picture quality? New and totally unheard of controlling methods that even use your tongue if you stick it into your game pad? More utilities than a swiss knife, turning your console into a multimedia hub controlling everything from tv channels to water pressure in your toilet tank? Totally awesome applications that merge your gaming life with your social life in even more pervasive ways?
To be honest, I couldn't care less about these things. While one or the other might be fine, the novelty will wear thin soon enough. No, it's not what I am looking for in the next generation of consoles.
I am just fine with a normal controller that fits your hand, some decent graphics quality (really, how much higher defined can it get?) and an ample supply of processor power and storage space. But what I crave is more depth in gaming. More ways to influence the game world in which you play. More consequences arising from the decisions you make in-game and more artificial intelligence to make you actually care for your virtual companions or adversaries. In short, I want immersion by appealing to both my suspension of disbelief and my intelligence, not by paralyzing my thinking faculties by taking me on hand-strapped roller-coaster rides and assaulting me with absurd amounts of eye candy that turns out to be just a more pleasant layer of plaster on the same walls.
What good is it to play the same games over and over again, only with a souped-up definition of sight and sound? I am sick of all this regurgitating. I want the additional horse power of a new generation not for added acceleration to take in more sights in the same time, but to pull a bigger trailer that gives me more freedom of movement and more time to savor the sights I have.
So, dear publishers, take this to heart. Next time you work on Super Mario, Call of Duty, Halo or whatever popular series, don't try to appeal to our shallow senses or lose us to technical specifications. Engage our intellect as well as our creativity and sense of wonder.