As I look at games today, I see that the industry has changed. A lot. Fifteen years ago, it was primarily a thing of thinking up a story line or hook while sitting in class, finding a friend who was good at coding, and someone who could arrange pixels into a semi-recognizable form. Wham! The game is done, it's free, you give it to friends, post it where-ever, everyone wins.

Whereas today some affluent designer/project lead type has an idea, has one brought to him, or steals one and goes through the gamut of Development, Testing, Publishing, Advertising, etc. This seems more akin to the movie business than what computer and platform gaming is capable of, and will hopefully be used to convey.

I don't mind this terribly, it, for the most time, works, and gets me and you the UT/EQ pleasure we so need. But just think, for every great game that gets made, ten or twenty bad ones do too. Why? Because five or ten thousand people will buy Panty Raider. This, judging by the quality (or lack thereof), is enough to cover the development. And then what? Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire? Yes, this game was actually made.

Granted, when games are great, they are great. Whether they look and flow in an amazing way, tell an enthralling story that spans time and space itself, or are just plain fun. This is because it's hard to get together a mass of skilled people who could be making more-than-decent money in the 3D Design/Graphics Design/Software Coding businesses to work on your dinky little Tetris 3000. No matter how brilliant it may be, chances are you can't dole out any more than your shoe-string budget allows.

So in a way, games are better and worse now than before. This brings me to my point (finally). The thing that comes closest to that pioneering, freeware, try-this-out, give-it-to-friends spirit games started out as possessing and being a product of: Calculator Games. Sure, Ztetris v2.11 looks nothing like Q3A, but it doesn't crash, either. That and it's just plain fun! This is what was happening as late as ten years ago. No registration keys, no piracy, no $50 for 20 hours, no dumb cd protection, none of that. Just games everyone could afford and play.

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