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So when did videogames become so complicated?


Romier S
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Let me preface this by saying that I usually live my life with the assumption that the things that entertain me are the things that I most enjoy doing. Throughout my lifetime I have had many hobbies including collecting baseball cards, reading comic books, knitting mittens (ok, that last one was a joke). You name it and I've more than likely been into it. Over time my interests have waned in certain categories. Baseball cards became so saturated a market that collecting them stopped being worth it to me. Comic books reached a level of quality in the early 90's that alienated me and forced me to stop collecting. Through it all there has always been one thing in my life that I've never grown tired of and that's playing videogames. That's my vice if you will.

 

Throughout the years we've all sat down with a myriad of consoles. We've played through an innumerable amount of games. The one constant that never changes is the enjoyment we get out of sitting down and playing these titles. Which is exactly where I have to begin wondering, when did it all become so complicated? When did market share, market analysis, profit margins, and brand loyalty supersede the core enjoyment factor that games bring to the table? Mind you this is not a rant. That question does not pertain so much to how we play games, but how we TALK about games. In other words, this is not a way of me saying that we've lost the ability to enjoy this hobby of ours but maybe that we've lost perspective in this age of information.

 

First of all let me say that I'm guilty as charged. I've participated in so many market analysis discussions on the forum that I don't even remember half of them anymore which is telling of their importance in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the impetus for this thread came as I read through the most recent Playstation 3 thread. I was ready to pounce with a pointed response as to why I felt the PS3 shortages could hurt Sony in the long run and then I suddenly had an epiphany: I really just don't care anymore. Is that wrong? Should I care to have the right to call myself a gamer or to find importance in this hobby? It's easier after all to consider gaming a mass market product that should be taken seriously as opposed to the hobby I partake in because I just so happen to have a really fucking good time doing it.

 

Now, before the pitch forks start flying and fires begin developing outside of my home, let me say that the core of my argument here is that perhaps we are bombarded with far too much information these days? Lately, I've kind of wanted to take a step back from it all and try to see the gamer I am today through the eyes of my own self back when I was a young boy who sat down to play my Atari for the first time. What I find is that the core of why I play games hasn't really changed in a meaningful way. However, seeing as my understanding of the industry has grown and I've acquired more information as to what goes into developing, publishing, hardware creation etc., my focus has shifted towards dealing with topics that have little to do with the actual games themselves. Have you ever found that you talk more about games than actually playing them? Ask yourself that question and then think about what topics you've been discussing. It's kind of a cold realization isn't it?

 

Tying into this ever open floodgate of information is brand loyalty which is commonly referred to as "fanboyism" in the gaming inner circle. This is not a new phenomenon. Can anyone give a definitive answer as to what Sega does that Nintendon't? Ok, that's a loaded question and I'm sure the Sega faithful are ready to pounce so forgive me. I simply couldn't resist. Nonetheless, when you strip back the blind faith and unreasonable viewpoints presented by your standard overzealous fan, you'll find a misuse of information. You'll find hardware statistics, sales figures, and processor numbers that are used to compare power, muscle, and gaming steel. You'll find a gathering of acronyms and technical jargon that will somehow equate to how much more fun you're going to garner from a game on a specific console (HDR, Vertex Shaders, Pixel Shaders). These are not new concepts (Blast Processing anyone?), but I would argue that the level of information and analytical "effort" devoted to these arguments are a shift from the old "Sonic is so much better than Mario" arguments of yesteryear.

 

What's the resolution? Do we cut out market analysis from our everyday gaming language? Do we bury our passion for specific platforms? Do we cut ourselves off from the very information that labels us as informed consumers? Or is ignorance truly bliss? Not necessarily. I'm not bold enough to offer a definitive resolution to some of the questions I've posed here. I will say that I personally feel as though I've lost perspective on what it is I find important about this hobby of mine and I want to make adjustments. The only real question I want to ask myself anymore is "Is this game fun or not?" because it's truly what matters to me. Maybe it's an idealistic viewpoint but I like to believe that at the core of every conversation we have as gamers is the love and enjoyment we garner from this hobby. That seems so terribly obvious and trite to say, but I think it's forgotten in the midst of delays, hardware shortages, malfunctioning hardware, console wars, let down expectations, target renders, and more.

 

Thoughts?

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Have you ever found that you talk more about games than actually playing them?
Romier, it is all four play. We think about it. We talk about it. We post. We debate. We read. We download. And then finally, we play. Repeat.

 

The difference between yesterday and today is that you were mostly alone in your love and obsession with games. And now you have thousands of people to interact with and thousands of sources of information to interact about. It's the information age.

 

The great thing about a forum like this, is you can choose what you want to read about, talk about, and debate about. If you don't care about the PS3 launch problems discussion, ignore it. If you just want to ejaculate all over the Dead Rising thread with how much you love the game, or all over the screenshots of MGS and GOW, go ahead. Your choice.

 

I think perhaps as a moderator who has to monitor every damn thread, you might be growing tired of it. That's understandable.

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I agree with Keith, Back in the day the only thing i knew about Video games was how to play them. Got all my info from the few game magazines out there. Now we know every single thing that goes on in the game industry from start to finish including the business end. Every day we are bombarded with information from message boards, and thousands of different gaming sites. It's just not something that has to do with gaming. Everyone's opinion on every single topic is now out there in the open for everyone to see whether we want it or not. Its just a sign of the times.

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but I would argue that the level of information and analytical "effort" devoted to these arguments are a shift from the old "Sonic is so much better than Mario" arguments of yesteryear.

 

That's something I've seen on another forum or two, basically you're getting grown up, evolved versions of fanboy flamewars. You get people who don't want to admit that anyone on that board could possibly be any smarter than they are or have a more expensive or better education so instead of "Sony is teh sux, Nintendo rulez all!!1!", you get half page posts full of googled info and big words. At it's core it's that same old thing though, you support what you own and attack what you don't or can't afford.

 

If you just want to ejaculate all over the Dead Rising thread with how much you love the game, or all over the screenshots of MGS and GOW, go ahead.

 

And while you're in there spreading your love and man-goo around for the game you love you can bet your ass someone will pop in to tell you how shitty they think that game is or how much better it'll look on another system. Which is fine, to each his own, but I'm convinced that there are people who pop in some of these threads and take up the opposing opinion just for the sake of argument. I almost feel like we need two of some of these threads, one for the positive and one for the negative.

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I’ve not had much time for games recently. Indeed much of the time I spend on here, a games forum for goodness sake, these days seems predominantly revolved about my posting about televisions I’m not going to buy, and HD DVD and Blu Ray formats I don’t even own yet which I completely acknowledge borders on the absurd and even in the case of the HD wars I intend to distance myself from it all after CES has come and gone for a variety of reasons, time being the chief one.

 

I think I’ve made it clear enough that a new TV and the purchase of an Xbox 360 is an unrealistic prospect for me this year. This week I mentioned I’d finally replaced my original PAL PS2 with a new slim line model that has been chipped to play PS1 games from all regions, and PS2 games from all regions. I can’t stress what a great decision it was to make that purchase as it has opened up a library of titles beyond those on release in Europe that I can obtain from elsewhere in the world and as I sat earlier this week playing Katamari Damacy it was just me and a wonderful game, and I’d not enjoyed that simple experience in a while, or perhaps more to the point, I’ve not allowed myself to enjoy such an experience for a while in having become far to preoccupied with things that I could buy rather than stopping to enjoy many of the things that already sit on my shelves.

 

I do think the internet is the key factor in steering topics of discussion in a certain direction. There’s just so much information available to us, information which in the grand scheme of things its actually irrelevant to the consumer, but it’s out there, the games websites put it out there, and so naturally hardware specs, sales figures and so on filter down into our topics of discussion. Is there a solution? Honestly, in my opinion there isn’t, nor should there be as I dare say many do like to discuss such topics and should not be restricted from doing so. For those that might not find such news to be of any real consequence, they might indeed ask themselves what the point of their contributing would be, bite their tongue and refrain from posting, tough admittedly if there is an active thread it is often hard not to be drawn into a discussion.

 

Come December we’ll have been through a year that has been terribly hardware dominated thanks to the release of three new consoles and as a consequence as we finally see the release of the Wii and the PS3 we can actually stop speculating about the hardware and just embrace 2007 and beyond which is open to be entirely software driven. On the whole I think this has made 2006 remarkably frustrating year for gamers.

 

I’m actually anticipating the winter for many reasons as far as my gaming habits are concerned. Not to sound rude or anything, but I know my gaming plans for the future and everyone else’s are inconsequential so long as they’re enjoying what they’re buying and talking about. I’ve already mentioned how thrilled I am with my modified PS2 purchase and it has already ensured the next few months will be spent enjoying Okami, God Hand, Yakuza, Lumines Plus, Guitar Hero 2 and many others, not to mention catalogue titles I am still in dire need of obtaining [and the really is no better time to buy up catalogue titles than right now].

 

The Gamecube too, still has a handful of catalogue titles I still aim to pick up cheaply in the near future and just recently Iainl gave me a Sega Saturn, the one Sega console I never got to own upon its original release, and with it now sat amongst my other consoles it too has opened the floodgates to a mass of cheap catalogue games the majority of which I’ll of course have to pick up used on eBay, but damn it I’m damn well going to ensure I get Nights and Christmas Nights in time for December. The DS of course continues to bring me much joy with wave upon wave of new releases.

 

Then we have the Wii, which I will import the instant I find out whether the virtual console functions can be accessed if playing on a US machine here in the UK. This console excites me for one chief reason which really sums up what I’m seeking to ignite again, and that is the experience of playing computer games. My feelings toward gaming today make me a prime target for what the Wii is trying to achieve, and I hope Nintendo do achieve what they’re setting out to do with the console as its success would show that those of us desperate to focus and enjoy the experience again are not alone.

 

I think you’ll feel more eat ease next year, Romier. We’ll have nothing to talk about but the games.

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Part of the reason is 2 fold IMHO.

 

1. Games are getting less inventive just like the movies. Thus with less exciting games coming, we tend to focus on other stuff.

 

2. The media blitz and the internet tends to hurt as every little thing is now scrutinized. When we aren't talking about games, we're talking about something that affects the company who makes the games.

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I will say that the media overflow of information the past few years has changed my views on a few games... But, its also made me try out a few games I never though I would. My impression of this whole thing is that we simply traded one problem for another. Information on games was hard to find at all back in the day - now I get too much information on every damn title coming out. Now, instead of a gaming mag I can trust to review a title fairly, I read metareviews to see how it scored in 10 different reviews simultaneously. And all of this has meant "Dick" so far in my experience... I still can't trust most reviews (Enchanted Arms comes to mind) , what was hard to find before is hard to "sift through" now and titles I would normally never give a second look to before (unless it got a great review in the gaming mag) I now never give a second look to (unless someone on this forum recommends it) :)

 

To be fair, I feel that this is not inherently any better or worse than before - Just a different set of problems than we used to have.

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I'm convinced that there are people who pop in some of these threads and take up the opposing opinion just for the sake of argument.
No need to convince yourself. If while combing through this forum I don't find an active debate to engage in, I'll try to start one. We're all gamers here. Debate is a game. LCVG is the platform. You're all the bugs. And I will squash you.
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I don't care much about reading pre-release info about games. I'm all about the games.

 

That said, I'm gleeful for the Sony problems because I detest the path they've taken. Microsoft was all about making the console that was a home media hub...but at least they didn't spend oodles of money. I mean, all they did for the first xbox was toss a HDD and networking in it out the door. Not giant extra costs.

 

This bundled Blu-ray is ridiculous. So few people have HDTVs as it is, and fewer still are the people that care about the upgrade from DVD to hi-def DVD.

 

I'm not buying a PS3 because they've followed a very poor market strategy IMO. The high-priced excessiveness of the PS3 reminds me of the excesses of a dying civilization - think the Roman or Greek Empire. What's the word, hubris? :D

 

 

I'd be glad to see them fail and lose a lot of marketshare. Pride cometh before the fall. Every other company's had their turn with unfettered arrogance in the marketplace (Atari, Nintendo,etc). Now it's Sony's turn.

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I think the excess of information is really a double edged sword. On one hand, we get a chance to find out about more games than ever. The internet gave me plenty of advance notice about something like Psychonauts (which might have gone unnoticed otherwise), and got me interested in games like Dead Rising, which I might have written off before as a typical mindless slasher game. Forums like this are also a great place to find out what may or may not be worth playing, and to find people to play online with that aren't asshats. On the other hand though, something about the internet turns everyone into a market analyst. I've been guilty of it myself, and I've been trying to stop getting into those discussions, because really, very few of us are in a position to make the kind of analysis we try to.

 

I think that all the analysis really boils down to trying to prove that your brand loyalty and decision were correct. Would most of us like to own every gaming platform out there and not have to worry about hardware wars? Absolutely! But for all but a few of us, finances dictate having to make a decision. With the SNES/Genesis, both systems did pretty well, and you could argure that the atari 7200 was really the only large-scale failure at that point. Now though, we've all seen the hype and crash of things like the 3d0, virtual boy, jaguar, etc, and I'm sure all of us want to be sure that we're not on the losing sides of one of these wars. To this end, we try desperately to glom onto any scrap of information that substantiates our decision, both positive and negative. Hell, even when the availability of the platform isn't a concern, we'll debate the relative merits of one version vs another.

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I just think it's geeky fun. I know a lot (well, compared to the average guy) about games, and I like to talk about them and learn from others. Debating the relative merits of different platforms is only natural and interesting to those of us who are into it.

 

As to whether or not you care, Romier, you do, and you know you do. While it's one thing to not get involved in the banter, at the end of the day you're still bitter about the Dreamcast. You still want certain consoles and companies to do well so you can get your next DMC or Panzer Dragoon fix. Similarly, at the end of the day I'm still bitter about all the Sony hate that's going on. Why? Because I want to see another Final Fantasy, Ico, God of War, Ratchet & Clank. I freely admit it. Does it make me want MS to go down? No. I could really care less. While I dislike MS as a company and I don't like most of their products, I have a 360 because I just like games.

 

The "fun" conversations stop being fun when people stop being mature, when those Youtube tools take perfectly good 360s and smash them in front of people waiting in line. While I think it's fine to want a certain company to do well because they make something you like and want to see again, it's not so fine when you let that product favoritism turn you into a troll in the "opposition's" discussions. Chris, the need for brand validation you speak of leads to this immaturity, IMO.

 

While I understand that it's sometimes done in good fun, truth is we've all heard the jokes at other forums, and we're not gonna hear them here first.

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I completely agree with your feelings and think it boils down to 2 things.

 

First, the gaming market is extremely competitive now and every company is trying to get their piece of the pie. The problem is that the space is so crowded, everyone has to scream from the top of their lungs to be heard. So we see constant "news" updates that surely happened with past consoles (sales figures, manufacturing rates, costs, etc.), but now they're reported immediately. Everyone wants to be the first to read it, so every media outlet wants to be the first to report it as the source. It's a vicious circle that has no end in sight. The fact that you're the admin here and monitor everone else's posts makes it ten times worse for you personally, as Keith already pointed out.

 

\puts on Dr. Phil hat.

 

Second, and this is completely judging you personally without ever having a real conversation or knowing you other than your posts (and snarky comments of others), is that you play A LOT of games. I know it's your favorite hobby (it's certainly mine, too), but it's rare to see a game thread where you don't purchase the game and beat it within a week. I've always wondered, "Does Romier really want to play that game for fun, or just to say he did?" I don't see how you have time to work, be a father, be a dad, run this forum, AND still play just about every game that comes out start to finish. I'm certainly not saying it can't be done, but are you enjoying the games your playing?

 

Also like Keith, I've become veeeery selective with my purchases for the 360, haven't bought a game since Oblivion, even with a Best Buy gift card just waiting to be burned. Surprisingly, I've enjoyed gaming even more because of it. I found that I was purchasing games just because I needed a fix, not because I really wanted to play them. Since that time, I've played the hell out of Oblivion and gone back into my cataloge and played some excellent titles that I never had time for in the past because I was constantly buying new titles and barley taking the cover off games I bought the week prior. I don't know, but I think this is why the whole "Achievement Points" irk me so much. Take your time, enjoy the game, screw the points, get off the hamster wheel.

 

Romier, I'd be curious to see what would happen if you went cold turkey for two weeks. No news, no forum, no gaming, nothing. I think at the end of that time, you'd really understand what you missed about gaming and your passion for the hobby you love would be back. Abscence does make the heart grow fonder.

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Also like Keith, I've become veeeery selective with my purchases for the 360, haven't bought a game since Oblivion, even with a Best Buy gift card just waiting to be burned. Surprisingly, I've enjoyed gaming even more because of it. I found that I was purchasing games just because I needed a fix, not because I really wanted to play them. Since that time, I've played the hell out of Oblivion and gone back into my cataloge and played some excellent titles that I never had time for in the past because I was constantly buying new titles and barley taking the cover off games I bought the week prior. I don't know, but I think this is why the whole "Achievement Points" irk me so much. Take your time, enjoy the game, screw the points, get off the hamster wheel.

 

You're my hero. I so agree.

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I really posted this thread with the intention of getting it out there and leaving it here for people to comment on without actually responding because I felt as though I said my peace on the subject. However, since there are some direct questions aimed my way, I will respond to those.

 

I've always wondered, "Does Romier really want to play that game for fun, or just to say he did?"

It's an entirely fair question and one that I'll answer by saying that if you had ever met me, you wouldn't ask.;) I'm entirely serious when I say that I absolutely will not play a game that I do not have interest in. I certainly do not devote a great majority of my spare time for bragging rights.

 

I'm certainly not saying it can't be done, but are you enjoying the games your playing?

Without question. I played the living hell out of Dead Rising and there wasn't a single minute of it I did not enjoy. I bring that up because most would point to that as game I recently played and beat in a relatively short amount of time. If I beat a game that quickly, it's because I enjoyed it so very much and I couldn't put it down in most cases.

 

Fun is at the very heart of why I play videogames. Recently, I find a distinct lack of "fun" when debating market analysis, shipment numbers, and executive quotes. Lately I've stopped myself mid-post and asked "What's the point of this?". Maybe it is indeed moderator grumpiness. I'm more than willing to concede that, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to these two new consoles finally releasing and for the speculation to end. Bring on the PS3 and Wii games. Let me see the second generation of Xbox 360 games. That's the good stuff.:rock

 

I don't see how you have time to work, be a father, be a dad, run this forum, AND still play just about every game that comes out start to finish.

I don't. I have a great deal of titles that I've not beaten and that I've only worked my way through a portion of them. I make the time for titles that I really want to get through and prioritize the rest. I'll get to them. I always do but I'm not going to rush through something for the sake of getting to the next thing. As far as what I do beat, it's a great deal of time management and having a very understanding wife that knows I love this hobby .

 

This past Saturday was a great example of a day where I was wanting to get some Saint's Row time in, but instead chose to spend the day with my wife and little girl. It's not a hard decision to make because seeing my daughter laugh and having my wife next to me when it happens about melts my heart to pieces. It's balance and I won't lie in that sometimes it can be a real bitch and my wife has to slap me back into place. Lack of sleep does help though.:D

 

Please god, no. I hope the apocolypse will never happen in my lifetime.

:lol It's funny cause it's true.

 

Let me restate my point here because some of you have taken what I've said the wrong way. I haven't lost my passion for gaming or my enjoyment of the games I play. Quite the contrary. I've lost the ability to care about the meaningless information and debate that don't add to it. Several have reiterated that it's the information age. Great. I get that. It is my observation that in a lot of ways the "information age" hasn't helped our enjoyment of games and in a lot of cases it has caused us to lose perspective on what's important in our every day converastions about this hobby. Agree or disagree with that as you will. It's exactly why I've thrown that point out in this thread because an indepth discussion on the topic is what I was hoping to read.

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This is part of the reason why I more or less left WolfGaming.

 

*rant mode on*

 

I found myself spending so much time running a BF2 server that I just wasn't enjoying it no more. Accessing the server box, monitering, updating and tweaking it so it would run better for the players, setting up punkbuster, checking screenshots for hacks, dealing with a buggy game and buggy admin programs, kicking and banning smacktards, dealing with tards in the kicked & banned forums, countless and sometimes repetive discussion in our BF2 public and managment forums, trying to find mature, decent admins for a game that seems to all that matter to people is their score & stats, adminning teamspeak and playing the role of the peacekeeper on the website and teamspeak when personality conflicts arose ....

 

After about 6 months I realized I was doing nothing more than babysitting. At one time it wasn't like this (for the first couple years or so), we had a mature crowd of gamers and for the most part everyone behaved, we all got along and everyone chipped in to run a few game servers.

 

The worst is last year when the owners decided to start leasing servers so now Wolf is a Incorporated business. Nothing wrong with that you say and yeah it helps pay the bills. But I didn't join Wolf for this, I joined it for the great little community and the dedication of having a "smacktard free gaming server". Now the owners don't give a rat's ass about our servers as long as it helps bring more leasing oppurtunities and clients. Its all about profit now. And I sure the hell wasn't going to continue to waste my time running servers thinking I was doing the right thing for Wolf when all I'm doing is helping to pad the owners pocketbook...

 

My how things have changed around there in the last year. Now the homepage is just one big ad for server rates, things for the website never get fixed now and a lot of immature kids have joined. The place has gone to shit and some of the veteren members/mods that have remained are talking about leaving too.

 

I have since gone back to the games, joining The Lazy Bastards, a great little Battlefield clan. Something that reminds me of Wolf before the need to get bigger, commercialized & supersized. I help admin the TLB server and take part in their forums so I'm still active - but not nearly as much responsibility and bullshit as was with Wolf. Which is perfect. Gotta keep the balance.

 

*rant mode off*

 

I'll agree, gaming can be complicated. However, its only as complicated as much as you want it to be.

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In Romier's defense (like his 2 page footnoted responses don't cut it ;)), I don't see the value in criticising how someone else plays. Whether it is for flat out fun, acheivement(s), or something else - if a person plays games they are a gamer and their opinion should be welcomed here.

 

I love COD 2 on the 360, played it through like 3 times start to end. 1st time was for fun, 2nd time again for fun, 3rd time for verteran acheivements. Although I wouldn't exactly call the last playthrough "casual fun" (more like harder than shit), it was the playthrough I was most proud of having done. The acheivement points were nice and was why I originally decided to do it, but the challenge of beating that game at that level of difficulty was a major accomplishment. Without the lure of the achievement points, I would never have challenged myself to beat the verteran mode and had that longer term satisfaction. I like to pursue acheivement points as I find they can lead you to play (or experience) parts of a game you might otherwise decide to skip. In a similar way I almost threw my controller into the TV several times playing Ninja Gaiden on Xbox, in retrospect it was easily one of my favorite Xbox games (and really of all time.)

 

 

To say whether games are too complex or not I think is in the eye of the beholder. If you enjoy complicated games then yes. If you don't, then no. Plus we tend to only look at the biggest and best games as the 'standard'. Really, you can buy a good copy of Risk on your PC that plays exactly like the PC/Mac version of 10 yrs ago. If you like that, go get it. Or something along the lines of Darwinia for $20. Not complicated, not flashy, but a heck of a lot of good game and fun. You don't have to play Half Life 2 just because it's the latest game.

 

Games have been become more complicated and expensive simply because they can be IMHO. The developers like to challenge themselves to improve, the gamers enjoy a fresh angle, everyone is willing to pay to play, so the games get more complicated. If it isn't your cup of tea, XBLA or an old NES are easy enough to obtain.

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Frankly, I don't think it's all that different now than it was in the past. We have more access to news earlier, but it's not like we need that to start bickering.

 

I don't remember a time when before a console generation launched, or between such times, where I didn't have conversations (read: arguments) about where I (we) should spend our money. And back then, the conversations seemed more important because no one was able to play beforehand. You got most of you purchasing info from word-of-mouth.

 

"In my day we had to read MegaPlay and Turbo Force to get our information, we didn't have stores dedicated to video games, give me a break, with sissy kiosks to test drive. No, no! We spent our hard-begged-for dollar the way our friends saw fit! And we liked it."

 

(I still recall a conversation I had in P.E. class where a friend decried my decision to ask for a TG-16 for Christmas. God bless him.)

 

Now, we have the same discussions, the only real difference is that I've never met most of you.

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Let me restate my point here because some of you have taken what I've said the wrong way. I haven't lost my passion for gaming or my enjoyment of the games I play. Quite the contrary. I've lost the ability to care about the meaningless information and debate that don't add to it.

 

Ah, got it. That's good news, I'd thought the meaningless debate had spilled over into your enjoyment of games. On the clarified point, you and I are in total agreement. I guess the reason for all the bickering, or at least careful analysis on where to spend the gaming dollar on my part, is because the buy-in is so much higher now. I sold my PS2 and all accessories, combined with Christmas money, and essentially bought into the 360 lifestyle. No way in hell I can afford to do the same for the PS3, though I think I can swing it for the Wii.

 

So now I'm looking at, let's say, $350 to get set up with console and games. Next gen games are costlier, microtransactions eat my ass, but are now a reality. Live Arcade nickels and dimes, Live subscription is $50 per year, who knows what Virtual Console will cost, much less PS3's deal. On top of all that, include monthly broadband charges, network equipment, a next gen DVD war fueling the debate further, and 3 legitimately awesome consoles. Not to mention a proper HT and the fact that I'm still playing on an SDTV.

 

As consumers, we're being asked to pony up A LOT of money to play our favorite games, not necessarily directly to the publisher. With that much money being spent, I am a MUCH more critical consumer and make far fewer purchases. So while the debate can certainly get out of hand, much of the information coming out allows me to strike something off my list, not so much add it, if that makes any sense at all. Unless a game is near flawless, I'm out.

 

So, to bring this full circle, I think a lot of people, fanboys and non-fanboys, are trying to rationalize their choices based on their limited resources. I guess it's human nature.

 

The resolution?

 

The only real question I want to ask myself anymore is "Is this game fun or not?" because it's truly what matters to me.

 

I think that's the rub...it's too costly for most games to play every game they want, so we back up our choices. I honestly don't see a resolution:confused:

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  • 6 months later...

I'm pulling a thread resurrection out on this. I ran across a blog posted at Angry-Gamer that mirrored some of my original thoughts in this thread. I thought it was a good read and I've certainly felt the same way from time to time (though this person is feeling it a whole lot more than I was when I originally posted this thread):

 

http://www.angry-gamer.net/ag/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=467&Itemid=32

 

Over the past week both Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3 were announced to coincide with Guitar Hero 2 being released on the Xbox 360. This not only made me completely lose interest in Guitar Hero 2, but it got me thinking about how little I play video games because of stuff like this happening.

 

I've spent the last month playing Worms or Peggle, pretty exclusively. God, I love (and suck at) these games. I also spend a lot of time on gaming message boards, reading about games that aren't Worms or Peggle. It's on these message boards and sites that we find out about the next wave of games, the ones that are just announced or we expect to be announced soon.

 

It's pretty interesting stuff, which is no surprising since we're by nature curious about the future - and video games have always been about the next big exciting thing around the corner. It's a natural gaming instinct honed by years of preparing for boss battles, finding magic swords and unlocking secret levels. But Jesus, can it make you jaded about what's here and now.

 

Dead Rising 2 is a good example. It was always a no brainer (ha!) that it's coming - and in fact it was only a few hours before press time that the official announcement of it coming to the Xbox 360 was made. I haven't finished Dead Rising 1 yet, as much as I wanted to, but now I know I never will because just knowing that sequel is on its way has rendered the first game to my mental scrapheap.

 

Shallow? Yes, definitely. But it's the side effect of us suckling harder and harder on the teat of information about what's coming next. Just simply knowing about something better coming along devalues currently available options, be it video games or graphics cards or iPods.

 

Think about it this way. With, what, a year left to go before their release, we're already talking about Rock Band and Guitar Hero 3. They're not even out yet! But that doesn't stop us from talking about it. After all, if we're spending all our time on message boards talking about video games instead of playing Guitar Hero 2, we might as well be talking about Rock Band instead, right? Since neither of these games are in my library and they only exist in my imagination, it's more interesting to talk about the hot new game instead of the 'old' one.

 

Am I alone here? Have you ever seen a brand new game hit the shelves and felt bored by it already, simply because you've spent the last year reading previews, reviews and message board discussion about it? Heard so many identical podcasts about it that you feel like you have nothing new to discover about the game, that all the potential fun you could have with it has already been experienced?

 

Why can't I escape the nagging feeling that by the time Rock Band finally hits the shelves, we'll be too busy talking about Rock Band 2 to actually play the damn thing?

 

It wasn't always like this. I don't recall buying Sonic 2 on Sonic 2's Day and thinking about the press release for Sonic 3 that I read that morning. We had gaming press back then (hell, my monthly game magazine budget was twice my monthly game software budget back then - sad, really) but the time difference between a new game being announced and it actually appearing on shelves was measured in weeks. Not months, and definitely not years. It won't be long until we see the first 2 year before release announcement. Grand Theft Auto 4's October 17, 2007 release date was announced, what, a year ago now?

 

So what's the solution? Stay off the internet and just enjoy games as they come out? Yeah, right. Then what the hell would I talk about here - Worms and Peggle?

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Am I alone here? Have you ever seen a brand new game hit the shelves and felt bored by it already, simply because you've spent the last year reading previews, reviews and message board discussion about it? Heard so many identical podcasts about it that you feel like you have nothing new to discover about the game, that all the potential fun you could have with it has already been experienced?

I think this is the exact reason I don't check out any previews, hands-on experiences, videos, podcasts, etc. relating to upcoming games. The most I do is check out a couple of screenshots. I will also at least check the general consensus of people I trust to see if a mystery game is even worth checking out, but that's about it. I want to experience the game myself and I don't really worry that much about what's down the pipe because it'll get here when it gets here. I try to live in the present.

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