We're in a gaming golden age

Check the posts on almost any gaming forum and it won't be long before you find someone arguing that games aren't what they used to be.Games today are

Games today are too unimaginative, too similar, too easy or just not doing enough to set them on the path to pizza-fuelled enlightenment compared to the classics of their gaming youth, they lament.

Being old enough to recall the days when the faux-wood veneer of the Atari VCS looked cool (it was the 1970s anything brown was cool), I really should be also be getting all misty-eyed about Jet Set Willy.

But actually I think we're in the middle of a gaming golden age - one that knocks the socks off the off-cited golden eras of Pac-Man, the ZX Spectrum and the Megadrive.

Games have rarely been as experimental, brave or ambitious as they are today.

The cream of the big blockbuster games are taking games to new heights when it comes to storytelling, excitement, atmosphere, inventiveness and vision. Meanwhile multiplayer gaming has come of age making single player gaming optional rather than compulsory.

And then there's the wild experimentation of indie game movement that has grown up around mobile phones, Flash and downloads on services such as Steam and PSN.

Games such as Zen Bound (pictured) are injecting fresh ideas into gaming, testing out new concepts and approaches. Ideas big game companies are absorbing into their own creations.

It’s like the games boom the ZX Spectrum set off. Minus the game-breaking bugs, impossible difficulty levels and ear-piercing soundtracks composed on the same technology your microwave uses to tell you it has finished zapping your dinner.

The wave of indie games might not last. As potential profits grow the expected production values may reach a point where the small fry developers that are the driving force of the indie boom can't get a look in.

So it's time gamers quit looking back and enjoyed the gaming golden age while it's still around.