The year was 1982 and the Atari 2600 was king of the consoles. Video games were all the rage and everything seemed to be rise. That was until E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game was released to the world. Its peers included the timeless classics, Pacman and Donkey Kong. Nearly bullet proof games that to this day are played. So it naturally was expected that one of the first action video games to ever be based upon a movie was going to be stellar. What the world got was a broken game (considered to be one of the worst ever in the history of the industry) that was so bad that it nearly killed the video game market, decimated Atari's earning for the next few years and caused public backlash like never before witnessed at that time.
The end result was several new policies and industry standards including returns as well as trcukloads of the game being put in a landfill in Texas... topped with cement. You see, back then - half finished and/or broken games caused outrage that shook the pillars of business. John Q. Public would not tolerate $49.95 fleecing and didn't take too lightly to being disregarded by companies. Strangely enough, this huge setback set in motion what would eventually become the Golden Age of Video Games.
Fast forward to today. The Golden Age has come and gone and now we stand before the precipice of the darkest age of video gaming. We no longer get "complete" games of any sort. Either they are pushed out months before they are ready (to which, the norm now is to play until the patch comes down) or we are given portions of the game with the rest of it being held back for downloadable content that must be purchased seperately. There are no longer landfills for the games that we once buried. Rather, there are bookshelves where they sit until the can be played.
Worse still, is the fact that the industry put in place to cover and review said games now abides by the rules set by the marketing departments of those whoe develop the games. If ET were released today, we would not be told that it "sucks" and is broken. Rather, we would be given "Previews" instead of reviews. The best points would be highlighted while the tragic flaws would be noted along with a disclaimer that a patch is coming soon. And that we, the public, needs to be patient and understanding. Despite our purchasing the game at full price.
Honest opinions do exist on the web but you will not find them on the mainstream sites who by their own right survive off of advertising dollars. A bad review gets future game advertising pulled away as well as copies of future games for testing and reviews. It is a terrible cycle that has been constructed by businessmen who want the maximum return for their investment (as they should) but are willing to offer shoddy products and cut corners to do so.
I have always felt that independent or upstart ideas (gaming or otherwise) offer us hope and cause change. However, once this is done, businessmen take notice, Get involved and then alter the product or the sprit of the company or innovater. Then the once original and inspiring movement is homogenized and then milked to the point where it becomes just like the rest. Kinda like movie sequels. Marketing and tie ins always seem to be at the heart of those.
So here we stand, in a world full of pay for beta and pay for what should have been includeds. It is a dark age. And god, do I wish that someone would save us from the landfill that now is our industry.