The Daily Grind: Are we plagued by a ‘video game culture reset’?


Author and academic Ian Bogost recently tweeted something that struck me, particularly since it’s a topic I harp on all the time. “Video-game culture resets every ~5 years and forgets everything that happened before that,” he said. “Part of it is because of the planned obsolescence of hardware, which affects more than consoles. Part of it is churn of players/critics/developers/etc. Part of it is the borrowing of ahistoricism from computing (which has a similar problem). There are other reasons I’m sure.”

Usually I blame this phenomenon, when it happens in MMOs as it so often does, on brain drain – losing older developers to retirement or old age, losing middle-aged developers to stress or other genres, and losing newbie developers to other genres before they’re even trained. That leads to shabbier MMOs and people reinventing the wheel every few years (sure, yeah, this time your free-for-all PvP gankbox will work!). But Bogost is arguing that the whole industry, alongside many other industries, is plagued by this reset that seemingly forgets everything that came before it.

Do you agree we’re plagued by a “video game culture reset” whereby the industry – even its players – willfully forget the past? What is really going on here?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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