Friday, November 6, 2009

Spyro the Dragon's Further Adventures in the Video Game World

The trilogy of Playstation 1 "Spyro the Dragon" video games, I believe, is one of the best that were ever made for that particular console. It came along at a time when video games were starting to have better details and graphics, taking on a cartoonish/caracturistic design. In this writing, I attempt to talk about that trilogy and the audience of that trilogy, and the failure of the Playstation 2 Spyro, to the modern Spyro games.

From 1998-2000, the first trilogy of the adventures of Spyro, a purple dragon, came out. I don't particulary remember when it first came out, but discovered the game around 1999 at my cousin's house, and liked it from the beginning. By 2001, I had the complete Playstation 1 trilogy. These games were different from any that came out at that time. First, there was no blood or extreme violence. The person who controlled Spyro while playing the game just pressed a button for a head-butt or flame breath, and the enemy vanished into thin air. The audience was mainly targeted towards children and adolescents. Spyro did make appearences on television commercials, with humorous plots, as the makers of the games were intending to market their product towards the youth. Around early 2001, Spyro took a hiatus, as the trilogy completed with him finding the 150 dragon eggs in the final game and living happily ever after.
By late 2002, Spyro reappeared for Playstation 2, and was pretty much the same. The market was still towards the youth, and new commercials were airing for other Spyro products on other consoles, such as Gameboy and PSP. This game for Playstation 2 had one particular flub, it was rushed too fast, hence the poor design and gameplay of the game. This makes me think of the "E.T." game for the Atari console that was mentioned in the textbook we read "Understanding Video Games," to capitalize on the success of the film back in the 1980s. Those games sold so poorly, that they had to be dumped in the Arizona desert. The first Spyro for PS2 was a disaster, and sold poorly. My brother had a copy of the game and it was so tough and frustrating to play, that we got rid of it.
By around 2004 or 2005, Spyro took a whole new direction and audience. The new Spyro games are now darker with violence and some blood that never would have been thought of in the original trilogy and failed PS2 version. The audience, I believe, has taken a dramatic shift. When Spyro was first marketed, he was innocent, friendly, and portrayed as a kid dragon. Spyro now is a young adult dragon, and thus the audience is now older teenagers and young adults. He fights enemies that don't vanish, but die like other video game characters. He still saves the day, but with darker themes and elements. This is not the Spyro I once knew and have not planned to play any of these newer games. A Spyro movie is still in the works, and I do plan to see that when it arrives in theatres. All in all, Spyro is a dragon that was once friendly, but is now confused about who his audience is.

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