Over on his blog a few days ago, Gareth Fouche posted that he was feeling old. At 26. Already, he’s saying: “You know, gaming was better back in my day.”

Well, you’re not alone, Gareth. I’ve been feeling the same way for some time now. And I’ve been worried, too, about the new buzzword “accessibility” that’s all the rage these days.

Companies (at least at the top level) want more people playing games. So let’s make everything easier for those potential gamers. You know, that undefinable “casual” market.

Which is funny, because I’ve seen write-ups around the ‘net that go both ways: some that say “games are too hard”, and those that say “games are too easy”. Of course, most of those articles are on hardcore sites.

For all that, it does seem that overall, there’s a decline in game quality. Given the amount of product that comes out in one year, this is no surprise. The more stuff, the greater the tendency towards mediocrity.

The scary part is, he feels the same way I do, and I’ve been gaming longer than he’s been breathing. It’s one thing when a “veteran gamer” feels jaded, and quite another when a younger one does.

Gareth has no doubts that the market is shifting from hardcore to casual, and that’s a move we’ve seen in progress for awhile now. He thinks the indies may be the only hope for the “traditional” gamer.

Of course, A-titles for “us folks” aren’t going to disappear. But given the long development cycles and ever-rising budgets, fewer games are likely to show up in the future.

The question with the indies is whether they can make themselves known to a large enough base. There are plenty of them out there right now. Most, however, are practically invisible. Marketing and publicity on a large scale is beyond their resources.

Still, companies like Stardock and CD Projekt show it’s possible to rise above the noise and be successful. We can only hope that a few others will be able to pull it off, too (right, Coyote?).

In the meantime, I commiserate with Gareth. It really is depressing to feel too old, too soon – and not much relief in sight.

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