Am I Having Fun? An Industry Retrospective...
I was born in the early 70s, amongst the days of the LED handheld games and home Pong systems. Amongst the Ataris, Colecos, Intellivisions and Segas, arose a hobby that I enjoyed so immensely. I could be taken away to other worlds to accomplish unworldly things. I could be a superhero, a knight, a robot and a sports star all on the same system. There really wasn't talk of graphics, because graphics weren't the highlight of any of these games. It was the story and things you could accomplish along the way, that led you to want to buy into these fantasies that other people had created for you.
There weren't gaming magazines, there was no Internet or barely any mention of any of these games in the early days. Just the back of the box... and your imagination. If you were fortunate enough, you were playing a copy of what you played at your local arcade or grocery store or pizza shop. The graphics may not have been the same, but the gameplay was. It was all about score and the places the programmers could take you.
I don't know if modern gamers have just been so spoiled, that they don't realize the fun to be had in pretty much each and every title. Or is it society in general, in this faster paced, immediate gratification sort of world we live in. I, too , find myself questioning visual fidelity and other unimportant elements that have nothing to do with the fun to be had. Which leaves me question if the statement that, you become what the society around you is by association... is true.
I guess a lot of it could be blamed on these boards. Where you have people arguing all the time over each systems strengths and weaknesses. Instead of enjoying the games themselves, people argue over which system has the highest resolution and can do this or that graphical effect. Instead of digging in to the game and enjoying it for what it is, people argue over what it could've been before even given the game a second chance to make a first impression.
A lot of it could be blamed on the press, for raising our expectations to unsubstantiated levels before the game even releases. Leading us to pick up the pieces of what could've been, only because another said so. Walking us through every nook and cranny of the game, basically spoiling the whole experience before we have a chance to form our own opinions of the title. Implanting our minds to look for the impurities that make a title lesser than the one that came before. Comparing each and every title to a masterpiece that came before it, making every developer have to live up to the achievements of another. Whether it was a fluke or not.
Some will blame the developers, for not taking enough time to polish the product the way it should've been. Making smaller developers feel inferior for not being able to deliver to their expectations from under another roof, where they have hundreds of more people. Billions of more dollars. Yet, when a developer does try to polish their product… Then we scold them for delaying it and make things up, as to why, without ever knowing the truth. Just assuming that they did it for the own benefit and not gamers.
Or can gamers be brave enough to turn around and point fingers at themselves. For buying into the hype that basically causes this domino effect throughout the industry. After all, it is us they are trying to please. To get our hard earned dollars to make their next game even better. But how can they please us, if no matter what they do, we are never happy? There is always something in some game that everybody bitches about. They say, because they spent the money to buy the game that they have the right to say what they want to say about it. Which is true, as consumers we do have that right. But when that right infringes on the artistic expression of those developers who are trying to please us, we only have ourselves to blame when something goes wrong. Never once wondering if it was our suggestions that made that issue in the game that you didn't like.
People seem to forget that with every action there is an opposite reaction.
So next time any one of us gamer's goes on a binge, pointing fingers and making accusations, think to yourself what gaming really means to you. Why did you start playing, and continue to play, games? And if it angers you that much that one system has more power or another has better games, maybe you should rethink why you became a gamer. Wasn't the reason that you started playing games and continue to play them, to have fun? So why is it so important to you to ruin another's fun, to prove a point that you may or may not have the actual answer to? Some will argue til they're blue in the face, even if they're wrong, for the sake of argument. Yet what does any of this have to do with the reason why we all started playing games?
Every time I see a discussion turn into an argument here in the forums, and see people making personal attacks towards somebody because of their choice in systems or games… It makes me angry. Why does somebody else's choice, because its not your choice, have so much effect on your life, that you have to make personal remarks to hurt them? Are your angry remarks helping the industry? Or are you so self-centered that you think whatever you say, everyone else should follow. And if they don't, then it is your duty to call them names and make them feel bad about their own personal choices.
There are many here on these forums, that are guilty of this to one extent or another. They feel as though if people don't say and do what they do, then they are lesser. It's this sort of self-centeredness that hurts the industry more than it does help. Because what you are saying is not driving the industry forward, it is basically halting it... sending developers a mixed message. That mixed message is what causes the issues in games. A Hundred people want better graphics and 100 people want better gameplay. What do we do? You can try to balance it out, but you will hear bitching, no matter what you do, from one side or the other. You didn't do this enough, you didn't do that enough.
Instead of a split community, why can't we all fight the fight for what's best for the industry. The bickering amongst each other only sends developers mixed signals about what gamers really want. Which hurts them and us, in the long run. I don't care if you're getting a PS4 or an Xbox One for the next generation. For whatever reason, you chose that system to be what you wanted to play. I am fine with that, as everybody else should be. Both systems are going to have great games and both systems are going to be comparable. One may have five more polygons then the next, but who really cares as long as you're having fun. Do not go on rants about your system in Threads where you don't belong. If you love the Xbox One and want to talk about the Xbox One, stay in your forum. The same goes for the PS4 or Wii. Just because somebody chose a system you didn't, doesn't mean that you are commander-in-chief of the army to stop them from enjoying their system. To stop them from having fun.
In this modern age, no matter where you turn you are bombarded with information about games. I suggest to all gamers, if you stop having fun playing games… Distance yourself from any of this information. Go back to basics and black out all the information you could get from an upcoming title you think will be fun... Then, when you buy the game and play that game, you will be playing it with an open mind, a fresh perspective. You'll be enjoying the game for what it is and not what everybody around you said it could be. I guarantee you your experience playing that game will be 100 times better than that of someone who read everything about it and watched all the videos online. When you have low expectations, you are bound to be surprised. When you have high expectations, you're bound to be disappointed.
In closing, the next time you play a game or the newest next gen system, just ask yourself one question… Am I having fun? And, if you're not, ask yourself why? More times than not, the question will be answered by how much information you took in before for the title released.