We all do it – men and women. We flick through a magazine checking out what pleases and displeases our eyes. Only then do we add in textual information, hoping for it to validate or contextualise those judgments. “Wow. That’s impressive for a mobile game.” Screenshots in videogame magazines have always had a big influence on the games and platforms we consider buying. And leafing through Edge, it’s always been easy to recognise – from a single screenshot – what platform a game is running on. But recently, it’s become hard even to recognise the generation of a game’s hardware from screenshots alone. And that’s not because screen displays have overtaken the resolution and the bleed properties of printed ink; it’s mostly about diminishing perceptible returns from increased computing power. So, having reached that moment in the evolution of the screenshot, I’d like to make a request to Edge: could you please give us a retrospective on this medium? Static images were never fully representative of game graphics, never mind game quality. But – even in this (second) era of VR – they continue to occupy an important role in our gaming life. Matthew Stedman Yet, oddly, the difference between publisher bullshot and realtime screengrab has never seemed more stark – and the fuss when the final product fails to live up to the pre-release hype has never been greater. As for some kind of retrospective, we’ll start poking around in the Edge archives.
I met up with my brother the other day to have a gaming evening as we caught up. I took round the new COD, since it would be a good game for some quick action and macho banter – or at least that was the plan.
First, we had to dig around to find the correct cables to charge his controller and sync mine that I had taken round. Then he had to install the most recent update for his PS3 (he plays more Xbox One), and finally he had to download and install the latest patch. It was at this moment, over an hour after we set out to play a game, that I had a vision for the future of gaming. A future where controllers were wired to the console so they wouldn’t need charging and would be permanently synced, where games were released in their final form so that patches didn’t have to be downloaded, and console menus were streamlined. I know I sound old. I just don’t feel that we’ve moved on much since when I was six. My ZX Spectrum was quicker than this.
Of course there have been huge advances, mainly in the area of graphics, and often to the detriment of other, maybe more interesting paths. What would games and consoles be like if companies had spent all this money and time on developing world physics, or enemy AI, or on an experience where it takes less than 30 minutes to get from switching a console on to actually playing a game? I hope, with each new console generation, that a company will make it their mission to reduce waiting times, but instead they just seem to be getting longer.
So I’m left dreaming of an age where I can turn a console on and be playing a game in under ten seconds. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction now, but the sad thing is, we had that age once already. We lost it, and we called it progress. Stuart Harper
“I just don’t feel we’ve moved on much since I was six. My ZX Spectrum was quicker than this”
One Edge associate was so put off by the ordeal of setting up and updating his new PS4 and copy of Bloodborne that he’s yet to so much as play the thing. Consoles’