I like these insights into some aspects of nerd and geek culture I never seek out on my own, and I usually agree with most of the points made. But there is nothing I've yet seen that will convince me that gaming was better in the days of absolute wackiness. I loved that time, I did, it was hilarious and made perfect sense to me as a kid. And present day efforts to make games more "mature" and "gritty" are, in general, not a good attempt at really exploring the medium in a serious tone, but honestly, no, Gears of War would never be improved by something so silly, because it's got its own silliness in a completely different way and that kind of thing would just be incongruous.
I really want to know, Bob, why game like Gears irk you as much as they do. I understand that you grew up in a golden age of console gaming, I was able to catch the tail end and I know how fantastic it was, I still go back to those old games, especially things like Mario 3. I also know from your "Done with Dark" episode why the grittiness doesn't work for you, and I understand that as well. A lot of present day gritty in any medium doesn't add anything and only takes away from whatever the source material was, but starting a new series like Gears is very different. The entire world is built on a colour palette consisting of brown and grey, but why shouldn't it be? It is worth it to explore this territory, even if it spawns a seemingly endless hoard of imitators when it proves successful. Alright, the writing isn't fantastic, or particularly good, but the game tried something new, and instead of going half-assed, it took a hearty, two-footed leap into uncharted territory which few games are willing to do anymore.