During the new millennium, the world was becoming more connected, and how the media was both distributed and consumed was changing drastically. This decade saw the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – where fans could get the chance to actually engage with the creators of works that they liked. As a result, gaming made bold new changes in order to meet the demands of this brave new world.
With this change in the landscape, the gaming industry has been making some much-needed efforts to be more inclusive while also accommodating the demands of the hardcore audience. Some of these efforts caught on while others are better left back in the aughts.
10 Turret Sections Were A Boring Method Of Padding Out The Runtime
In the 2000s, turret sections were commonly used to pad out a game’s runtime – even in genres that had no business featuring the gauntlets. While not ideal, their presence in first-person shooters is somewhat justified. Why Sucker Punch thought that a vibrant stealth platformer series like Sly Cooper needed parts where the titular gentlemen thief mounts up, and blasts hostiles is anyone’s guess, but did they have to make the sequences so relentlessly dull?
They really were just the gameplay equivalent of jingling keys in front of a baby’s face. Thankfully, turret sections have become less common as players have rightfully grown tired of them.
9 Many Franchises Tried To Go Darker, And Edgier
The success of M-rated franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Hello led many publishers to force recognizable franchises to undergo darker and grittier reboots to disastrous results. Hudson’s cutesy Bomberman series had a more realistic post-apocalypticptic entry in the dreadful Act Zero. Prince of Persia Warrior Within removed the title character of all his character development from the previous installment, and made him a snarling, self-aggrandizing fool.
Even the cartoony platforming Sonic the Hedgehog series gave the blue speedster’s morally ambiguous frienemy some firearms and mild cussing in a massively ill-advised attempt to some “maturity” to a franchise that most certainly did not need it.
8 Many Developers Thought That Real Was Brown
With the advent of HD technology, games started looking sharper and boasted more visual fidelity than previously possible. However, possibly due to a pursuit of “realism,” several developers arbitrarily decided that everything had to be brown and gray.
Sure, it makes sense that the post-apocalyptic settings of Gears of War and Fallout 3 would be lacking in vibrancy, but this approach was ill-suited for other titles like Need for Speed Most Wanted. Instead, Games like Viva Piñata and Uncharted stood out by actively avoiding a dull color palette and have aged far more gracefully.
7 Motion Controls Were Rarely Implemented Properly
While the novelty of the Eyetoy and the Nintendo Wii managed to court several consumers who would otherwise never have touched a game, motion controls often spend more detrimental to titles than the standard button. Buttons have responsiveness and accuracy that early motion controls just could not match.
There are plenty of quality party titles that utilized them, like WarioWare and Raving Rabbidsbut they were far less fitting in other genres. Castlevania Judgment was an utterly abhorrent title that tried to incorporate motion-based gaming in a franchise that worked well without it.
6 Many Titles Eschewed Local Multiplayer In Favor Of Online Play
After years of flirtation and experimentation, console gaming finally embraced online multiplayer during the sixth generation. Unfortunately, publishers saw this as an opportunity to kill local multiplayer. The prospect of more than one player enjoying a single purchase did not appeal to the bean counters calling the shots.
In the 90s, it would have been unthinkable for a Bomberman game to feature no local multiplayer whatsoever, but players who chose to blast their friends via Act Zero were forced to do so solely online. Thankfully, developers like Nintendo have remained aware that couch co-op or competitive play is not something players will give up on.
5 Gaming Peripherals Were Becoming More Common And Expensive
The Guitar Hero series innovated with its ingenious music-based gameplay and clever controller. However, it set a bad precedent for games that opted in favor of expensive and bizarre peripherals in the hopes of immersing players in the worlds of their respective titles.
A particularly absurd example is Babysitting Mom, in which players would place their Wii-mote inside a baby doll for the game’s ludicrous mini-games based on child care. And Tony Hawk’s borderline broken Ride and Shred skateboard tried in vain to revitalize the brand, but only served in dragging the Birdman’s franchise down even further.
4 Bloom Was Largely Oversaturated
This decade saw a wave of titles that utilized a lighting technique known as “bloom.” When used properly and sparingly, the judicious use of bloom can certainly add a lot of atmosphere to environments. However, Stuart Brown of RetroAhoy said it best: “When presented with a novel tool, developers are not always known for their restraint.“
While titles like Ico managed to use bloom effectively, several games went too far with this technology and made their titles hard to look at in the process. The fourth Elder Scrolls entry, Oblivionmade all of its characters shiny with its over-reliance on the bloom effect.
3 LGBT Characters And Themes Still Had A Way To Go
While LGBT characters during this era were generally depicted in a more earnest and respectful manner than in the 90s, there were still way too many games that utilized harmful stereotypes. There’s nothing wrong with antagonists who just so happen to be gay or trans, but it becomes a problem when their sexuality or identity is depicted as inherently corrupt.
Cliver Barker’s Jericho was already an abysmal horror first-person shooter, but Cassus Vicus’ depraved sexual nature is really insulting and dehumanizing towards bisexual gamers. For all its narrative strengths, Bioshock still couldn’t resist indulging in the tired homosexual degenerate trope with Sander Cohen.
2 Many Gaming Webcomics Were Embarrassing At Best; Downright Offensive At Worst
Video game subculture and webcomics went hand in hand with the release of several ongoing publications, such as Penny Arcade, PvPand VGCatz. While a great many works and artists were discovered through this medium, many of them do not stand up to scrutiny. Many webcomics prioritize shock value over providing funny and witty observations on the industry.
One of the most criticized examples is Tim Buckley’s CTL ALT DEL which was panned for its one-dimensional characters, superfluous dialogue, and jarring tonal shifts between crass humor and serious subject matter.
1 Publishers Still Had The Power To Kill Great Works Of Art In The Crib
In the 2000s, games were getting more expensive to develop, and the financial stakes were getting raised. Many genres, such as platformers, graphic adventures, and survival horror games, eventually disappeared from the market because publishers deemed them too unprofitable.
Many potentially great titles were met with early cancellation at the hands of higher-ups who were too scared to take a risk. Fortunately, this decade marked the last time publishers had the power to choose what games players got to enjoy and which ones they couldn’t. Digital distribution and crowdfunding gave independent developers the means to distribute and fund their titles without compromising them on the whims of some clueless exec.
NEXT: 10 Worst Trends In The Gaming Industry, Ranked