Almost all the biggest games this year include guns to some capacity. Although not every big game calls itself a shooter, guns are ubiquitous among high profile games. This makes it easy to get fatigued. Why do guns get so much attention as a means of combat while swords, fists and magic fall by the wayside? And why don’t we see more diversity in high profile games? The answer is, who cares?
While this infatuation with shooting people in the face is somewhat unique to the current generation of consoles, so is its solution. The answer lies in Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft’s downloadable game front. Originally a source for classic arcade games, XBLA has drastically transformed over the six and a half years since its launch. Its library may not be full of high profile games, but it certainly delivers on diversity. It provides an excellent outlet for developers to release small budget games and for consumers to avoid the often uninspired fray of shooting galleries.
Indeed, the solution to the gun addiction is simply to avoid it. The most high profile of high profile games this year is yet another installment in the Call of Duty franchise, arguably one of the most stale and tired series in the video game market. And yet, that doesn’t bother me.
The industry is growing, and if twenty million people want to buy Call of Duty this year, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for me to enjoy the plethora of downloadable games on XBLA that are not only more interesting, but a quarter of the price. I’ll take Super Meat Boy over Call of Duty any day, and I can only thank Microsoft for opening up that space in the market for Super Meat Boy to exist.