In this YouTube video he posted about two weeks ago, Quicksh0t explains why - after more than a decade - he still loves playing GR. Many of us will be able to share the sentiment, and he makes some very good points about what makes Ghost Recon so special.
Here's my favorite sound bite:
"Most of the time when we think of older games we've loved, we get a nostalgia that makes them just seem like they were the best experiences of our life, and then you go back to play them again, and you find yourself bored in minutes. Perhaps these games aren't as good as we first thought when we were kids.
But then there are the Ghost Recons, the Zeldas... the games that we can go back and play, and they're still as entertaining as the first day we played them. And that is why I still hold Ghost Recon in such high regards. It is one of my favorite games ever."
In a recent interview with PC Gamer John Gibson, President of Killing Floor and Red Orchestra 2 creator Tripwire Interactive, gives us his very concise assessment of Call of Duty's impact on this generation of gamers, and he sums it up by saying "Call of Duty has almost ruined a generation of FPS players".
There is loads of food for thought to be found in this article, as Gibson eloquently points out how the dumbing down of gameplay - or "compressing the skill gap" in industry jargon - leads game design down a slippery slope to a more and more shallow gaming experience that offers instant gratification rather than engaging challenge.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
One of the things that Call of Duty does, and it’s smart business, to a degree, is they compress the skill gap. And the way you compress the skill gap as a designer is you add a whole bunch of randomness. A whole bunch of weaponry that doesn’t require any skill to get kills. Random spawns, massive cone fire on your weapons. Lots of devices that can get kills with zero skill at all, and you know, it’s kind of smart to compress your skill gap to a degree. You don’t want the elite players to destroy the new players so bad that new players can never get into the game and enjoy it.
But the skill gap is so compressed, that it’s like a slot machine. You might as well just sit down at a slot machine and have a thing that pops up an says “I got a kill!” They’ve taken individual skill out of the equation so much. So you see these guys—I see it all the time, they come in to play Red Orchestra, and they’re like “This game’s just too hardcore. I’m awesome at Call of Duty, so there’s something wrong with your game. Because I’m not successful at playing this game, so it must suck. I’m not the problem, it’s your game.” And sometimes as designers, it is our game. Sometimes we screw up, sometimes we design something that’s not accesible enough, they can’t figure it out, we didn’t give them enough information to figure out where to go… but more often than not, it’s because Call of Duty compressed their skill gap so much that these guys never needed to get good at a shooter. They never needed to get good at their twitch skills with a mouse.
Players like Elliot [Cannon, Lead Designer] and I, back in the Quake and Unreal days, you know, we had to get good at aiming. These guys don’t have to anymore. The skill gap is so compressed that like, “The game makes me feel that I’m awesome.” These guys, when I actually watch them play, they’re actually very poor FPS players. And I don’t think it’s because they’re incapable of getting good, I think it’s because they never had to get good. They get enough kills in Call of Duty to feel like they’re awesome, but they never really had to develop their FPS skills beyond that.
And it’s a shame because when you do that, when you create a shooter like that, you’re very limited on the amount of depth that you can give the game. It’s all gotta be very surface level, like I’m sitting there eating cotton candy and I never get any meat and potatoes. And it’s frustrating for me as a designer to see players come in and they’re literally like “In Call of Duty it takes 0.15 seconds to go into ironsights. In RO2 it takes 0.17 seconds to go into ironsights. I hate this.”
Just last month a new group named GHOST RECON LIVES and aimed at oldschool GR players was founded by GHOSTHOST over at Steam community. Within days since its launch on 10th of February 2013 it has gained over 80 active members and is organizing regular GR online multiplayer games. I suggest interested players go check it out and make some new GR friends. And while you're at it, please bring some of them back here.