Why aren't games getting better?

So, I finished Assassin's Creed over the weekend. Yeah, I know it's been out for ages, and the anticlimactic ending is old news.
Moreover, I understand that most people who played it are familiar the major floors in the games design. The repetition of the missions, as well as the typical detachedness of narrative from the essence of the game-play, which we've come to expect from games.
I did enjoy the game, though. Don’t get me wrong! Even with the repetitive nature of the game I still found myself strapping into the Animus and battling the hordes of guards whilst searching for the illusive flags… Well, until I finally completed the game. (I may go back to it to complete the flag collection… but that’s beside the point).
The burning question I’ve had building up within my mind since I’ve played Assassin’s Creed and other current games is this:

Why haven’t games progressed much beyond the mid to late 90’s?

I know, I know; the graphics have improved by an era, the AI is often great, and the sound and music have really progressed!
But what about the game?!? You know: the part that separates games from the other mediums?

Well, let’s peer into the foreseeable future.

Mass Effect will be out next week, (here in Australia). Spore will be out in September.
“Sweet,” I think.
But then I realize I may be already be disillusioned. When comparing recent games I’ve played to the games of the last decade (and more), I find it hard to distinguish anything to differentiate the games across the era…
Spore will eat a week or so of my time, then I'll realize how sorely disappointing and repetitive it is and I'll never play it again (or at least not until I’ve had time to get over myself). Mass Effect probably won't be installed until it's fairly old and dusty, I'll play it and it'll be ‘meh’. But I won't mind much because "It's not as disappointing as Spore freaken' was!!!"
Sometimes I think Will Wright should really change his name to Will Wrong. Or at least, Will Misleading.

Well, that’s the way I see it playing out anyway…

Kids these days don't know how bad they have it with games though... Their benchmarks are games like CounterStrike (which I enjoyed for a while when it was first released) and Halo (which I felt sucked ass).
Well, I must say, the Half Life 2: Episodes tend to be reasonable. But my point is they are still not to the standard games should have reached by now.
I blame UT and Q3A (and the GTAs) for the stunted growth of the games industry. (It was a fun time. Believe me, I had a lot of fun with all the above games)!
And WoW. I blame WoW
But WoW is kind of in a league of its own. It can keep its hoards of cash-cows as far as I care... They can't be that intelligent. All sitting there grinding so they can get a serotonin boost by reaching the next level or completing their newest epic whatever.
So, hey, WoW may help Darwinism out a little. You know, if those people don't get off WoW long enough to breed then... Heheh.

I will say this though: just because the development of games as a media has been stunted, they are a strong medium in their own right, now. (With many thanks to the games I have moaned about above. Well, except WoW).
Yet, strangely enough, I find myself loading up a lot of my older games and downloading or buying (depending if it's freeware or not) a fair chunk of the latest Indie games. In fact, I think in some way the games being produced in the Independent Games scene are breathing new life into my inner gamer. Even though they are exploring “old” territory, they still seem to be finding what may be the missing pieces to video games genome…

Maybe there I will post on this topic again in the future? But for now, I have enjoyed this little rant and gotten it off my chest. :)

Oh, and hey: my first blog post! :)

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