I love playing video games. As I always was a physically frail kid and my disorder further reduced the joy of “being outside” gaming allowed me to explore wonderful worlds, without the risk of being harmed, being unable to walk or be confronted with my frailty and bad muscles. (My motor skills are mostly impaired in the “crude” motor skills section not the “fine” one.. though still a bit) Yet at the beginning of the 2010’s gaming became less and less appealing for me. The march of DLC , the bigger focus on competition and the rise of the free to play games made the world of gaming less magical to me. Since the 2010’s are almost over it is time to look for the biggest problem to gaming in this day and age. It’s not corporate greed though like most would claim, the biggest problem right now is us…………….
We have the Power
Gaming has changed a lot over the past couple of decades. We used to have only pong consoles, while there were other and earlier games.. realistically the only game you could play was pong. In this day and age there are more games than you can count, and even your average steam library is already bigger than most 80’s or 90 console games catalogues. Yet we are very different gamers now as we were back then. We live in the age of mass reviews. An age where a game is only as good as it’s Metacritic score and of the “hivemind”. Somehow if PewdiePie dislikes a game .. or name your youtube icon of choice, we have to follow or idols opinion. If the game grumps do not want to pay for vanity items in a game, apparently neither do we. As a result the gamer community has become one huge hivemind of elitism. When Nintendo launches a game we do not like, we burn it to the ground on all forms of social media. We form subreddits to trash the game, we start to slander Nintendo for not understanding their fans and tell people NOT to buy anything from Nintendo anymore.
Back in the 90’s when a game wasn’t your thing.. you would just not buy it. It was a shame that this thing wasn’t for you but you’d just wait until the next one. In this day and age, whenever a big company releases a game that isn’t for everyone..it’s practically a crime that makes us all start a big witch hunt. In a way the large companies aren’t in charge of their IP”s anymore.. we are. We determine if a character looks good, we determine the content we want to see in a game and we determine which game we do or do not want a sequel too. We have the power, which seems neat and could be neat..but we are legion , while we can use this power to make a game we all like, it also bars us from ever getting a game we can truly love.
We DO have phones!
While I am not a huge Blizzard fan, their games feel too smooth to me, thus always making me feel like I control a character perfectly, rather than be the character , they are one of the biggest example of our chokehold on gaming. We do not like Diablo Infinite.. because we want Diablo 4, we do not lot like Overwatch 2 , because we just want that in Overwatch , we do not like them banning a player so we all unsubscribe from their games. We police everyone and anything right now, if a company CEO is having an affair.. boycott their games, if they release a side project we do not like..boycott the company. Let me say this, WE do not own the IP’s of Blizzard, nor is it up to us to police the world. We destroy so much with our moral compass. ProJared , one of my most well liked youtubers for example, had his career destroyed over mostly rumors. Sure he still does some questionable stuff by doing the things that he does, but I am not a victim of it, he is open about it. showed evidence and if he cheats or not on his wife isn’t my concern at all. I love his content, just like I love certain games. If the developer or youtuber is an asshole in real life, that doesn’t make their work less impressive. I am sure Rembrandt was a dick as well and Leonardo Da Vinci, might have slept around as well, you don’t see the museums covering up their works. Developers, youtubers or anything related to the industry, for them gaming is a job. Their lives beyond have nothing to do with us, any social justice hashtag or ill behaviour report or corporate decision should not be a death sentence, it should empower the wronged party. allow them to get their word out so that the proper people can deal with it. Not so that unrelated people can join the hate hivemind.
We can not just project our morality on everything nor our values. Many of think mobile games suck, sure I do get that, I am not a big mobile gamer either. Yet when developers like Blizzard get in the market.. or Nintendo we should cheer that one not discourage it. Maybe it is them that takes mobile gaming into the new age. Maybe we can finally get mobile games we enjoy. Back in the 80’s and 90’s we never knew what we were going to get in terms of games. Genres were invented, genius happened, lighting struck! Now whenever a big company tries something new we rattle the cages and say… we do not want “new idea or spinoff we want our sequel on our favorite system, if you don’t give it ..we refuse to look at that other thing’ If we were this snooty and stuck up in the past we might not have ever gotten Mario on gameboy or Mario Kart. No Donkey Kong Country, we would not have had the MMO genre because people then were sort of unwilling to pay for subscriptions. Yet instead of burning down the company we gave it a chance and it all turned out to be fantastic. While I do not claim Blizzard or Nintendo will strike gold with mobile games I do think we should allow them to try. After all we DO have phones. We could at least wait to burn the game down after we tried it, like we used to.
Not everything is for you! Be positive!
Times change , games change and gamers change. Yet not everything has to change at the same rate. Companies need more money to make new stuff or gain support, DLC and Microtransactions are a part of the times. If I need to pay for an extra chapter to gain a new game in the future, so be it. I do not want to pay to beat a game, but extra characters, extra quests or whatever, fine, thats the standard of the time. But not everything has to start at the same time. Just because Fighters already had DLC for ages doesnt mean Mario can’t start on his next game. Just because the Zelda franchise has “innovated” so much with Breath of the Wild doesn’t mean Pokémon HAS to have the same technological leaps. Gaming is not about the graphics, persé, it’s not about the voice acting or technical aspects of it. It’s about the feeling those elements give you. Those technical things might be important for you, that doesn’t mean it is important to everyone. While some prefer professional voice actors, others really like imagining characters voices. Maybe the voice acting was cut, because the game is popular in so many translations that they wanted to keep the quality consistent among all of them, maybe they saved that money and put it towards something else like better servers or to make more budget for another game they are working on. As a gamer you’re entitled to your opinion on a game, you really are, but when that opinion is negative that doesn’t mean we should punish the developers for trying something else.. or for catering to their core audience either for that matter. We now are putting so much pressure onto developers that everything is losing its shine.
We are choking out the voice of the developers and replacing it by the voice of the hivemind. Every game has to be for everyone. It all has to be a sandbox with seamless open worlds, you have to have something to craft, realistic weather, full voice acting, two seasons of DLC, preferably free, at least and over X many hours on gameplay. Sure I like most of those things as well (except craft) but I do not want every game to feel like that. Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world game that felt very similar to breath of the wild to me. Watch Dogs 3 , has to have skills and possibly wallrunning or melee weapons and begins to feel more like Assassins Creed and that one now allows you to craft your own weapons , if you find the parts and is becoming more like Horizon Zero Dawn. Nowadays we keep asking for games that play like “something else” and we can get pretty specific in that. If the developer does not abide we destroy them on the internet. It’s like .. when an organisation hosts a convention. Most of them have like at least a somewhat ulterior motive, either to network, to promote their company aside from the foundation or whatever. We should be glad we have it regardless. Because it’s our hobby and our passion to visit these cons. Yet instead we scrutinise the organisation and tell everyone to dress as harley quinn and joker. Sure everyone abides and we get a decent con experience with lots of cosplayers. Yet in the end we can’t really tell who we talked to nor does anything leave a lasting impression.
Games are like that, while our meddling can make them solid enough, we are with to many to ever be creative. We can destroy the superman 64’s of the world, we can boycott the sonic 06’s but at the cost of having our minds blown. At best we might get exactly what we want, but by being so distrusting and guiding we also prevent our minds to ever be blown in surprise again. That is a price I am not willing to pay, I rather see some stinkers and allow companies to slip up once in a while so I can be surprised at the next one. Take Bethesda for instance, Fallout 76 was a stinker, but we were so vile about it that now we force to play it safe for the next game. We have our pitchforks ready if they don’t. You don’t expect your grocery store to always have the best sales for you, you don’t expect all HBO series to be like Game of Thrones… so why does a game company always have to do right by you? When something is not for you.. just grumble in silence or write a blog how you dislike the game…don’t start a flame war. IP’s belong to the developers NOT to the community. Bring back the trust in those who bestow us with games again, instead of policing them into standardisation. Let’s make 2020’s the years of faith, of positivity and of games with unique voices. Our voice is great..but it doesnt need to be everywhere.