Valve just recently dished out Portal 2, the successor to its critically acclaimed and hit game, Portal, which was initially launched as a part of The Orange Box, bundled with Half Life: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2.
Portal was a massive success, both critically and commercially. It introduced a form of gaming never seen before. It showed how a game can be immensely successful without need of it being violent or adventurous etc. Portal is the only game, where the protagonist, a female named Chell, is the only human character in a game. And the gun that you carry around in your arm is actually anything but a gun thats shoots bullets. That gun, is a gun that opens portals, and that is all what the game is based on. Such a simple concept, executed beautifully, and using just plain physics to dictate the puzzles. Games such as Portal proves how the video gaming industry is moving ahead and maturing, and now coming to a point where it is exploring abstract themes of gratification.
Portal is a huge part of this change. And with its release, it has triggered the beginning of an entirely new mentality for creating games. Expect games, exploring subtle themes, not relying on fast paced action and not being that overwhelming, to start propping up now. And this genre will only grow as exponentially as ever.
This up-coming shift in how video games will be made and will be played is totally justified, observing the current population shift dynamics. Over development and economic stability in the rich Western world has given birth to a generation of hedonists, born in a cusp of over-industrialized societies, with them not really worrying about the basic necessities of life, since they’re easily accessible and provided for. This gives them more mental freedom to explore their minds within. This upcoming generations is evolving with a new school of thought, and focusing on abstract themes to satisfy themselves mentally.
Cheap thrills, as so we call those 80s and 90s era games now, wasn’t cheap before. It was considered good, and made players experience enjoyment. Lets take for example, those games that we saw in the 80s, and we can easily classify them as being shooters where all you have to do is shoot. And that was fun, then, in the 80s and the 90s, and maybe in the 2000s even, but now, the scenario has changed. Its Evolution. People have evolved out of that genre and look at games more deeply now. And the success of Portal defines this change. Even more, the general media hype surrounding Portal 2, which was creating a hell lot of buzz even an year before its release, shows that people are getting to like this genre, and want more of it.