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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.

Roccetarius3520d ago

I would dare say, that if more people took a informed approach (previws, trailers etc), we could've seen more progress in the industry today. Too many times, people have paid for half games and then complained about it.

I like having fun, but i also like doing so in finished games. Not something that's being cut into pieces before release.

iceman063520d ago

Excellent read. It pretty much sums up my journey and thoughts about this as well. I play games...period. Sure, I have a choice of system on which to play. But, I don't begrudge anybody of their choice of system or game simply because it has no effect on my personal enjoyment. I have enjoyed plenty of "bad" games (at least deemed so by our industry "professionals") and have simply endured "great" games...waiting for that special something that was supposed to be there. In the end, it's really about personal preference and ultimately about enjoyment. Sure, I love to see the advances in graphics and tech as well as the next person. BUT, with one still has to be FUN!!! Great blog!!!

R00bot3520d ago (Edited 3520d ago )

This whole "fanboy" thing needs to stop, it's holding the games industry back. Sure, I have a preference of which system I would like to play a game on, but just because of that I shouldn't feel the need to tell others that they should feel the same way. Just because I like Mario Kart doesn't mean I should go out to every story on the PS4 and Xbox One and tell people their console sucks because it doesn't have Mario Kart. That's just not how gaming should be. Gaming is about the experiences, it doesn't matter whether you think the experiences on one console are better, because by doing this you yourself have somewhat ruined the fun you will have on the other consoles by thinking "If only this was on the PS4, it could have had so much better graphics" instead of thinking about the actual game. Is the GAME good? No, not the console, the GAME. Mario does not suck because it's on Nintendo systems. Halo does not suck because it's not on the PS4.

If the game is good, it shouldn't matter what system it's on.

(Great blog, by the way.)

Donnywholovedbowling3519d ago

Well said. I was born in the late 70's and would say that I see things just as you put for the most part. I will say though that as games have evolved and changed so much from the Atari 2600 until now, I too feel changed as gamer as well. Spoiled by new tech, ive sometimes felt the sting of absurd impatience when a download, install or loading in game seems excessive. Its at times like these when I wonder about the negative impact on me personally that gaming brings out, especially when it becomes obsessive.

theXtReMe13519d ago

I believe it's something that happens to all gamers. I used to laugh at one of my friends , who used to get so angry when he lost a game or a game somehow wronged him. Then, it started happening to me. I seem to remember it happening and starting with the original Xbox, and blossoming from there.

The only thing I can attribute it to, is environment and the growing complexity of modern gaming. Meaning, being around my friend for all those years and watching his reaction basically rubbed off on me. Made me less tolerant of things that once never bothered me. On top of that, the complexity of gaming has changed. It's not like it was when you and I were playing our Atari's with one joystick, one button input. Now, there is a lot to take in and a lot of reaction that we have to give. As gaming grows more complex and our reaction times become slower, we start the blame those discrepancies on the games themselves. Finding fault in the little things that we can't quite grasp, whether that be the controls or just faster reaction times, which seemed to fade as we grow older.

I think, also, that we are less tolerant as we grow older. We've been there and done that and it takes a lot to not only impress us, but also surprise and amaze. I found myself, especially towards the middle of last generation and the Xbox 360, very bored of gaming. What others had found exciting and amazing, I had found repetitive and reminiscent of the last game I played. There was really no difference from a call of duty or any other game last generation, towards the middle everything started playing and looking sort of the same. I guess it could be true of any generation. But it seemed even more so last.

I was ready for the next generation of gaming, three years ago. A lot of it had to do with developers promises at the beginning of the current generation. Promises that physics would change the way we played games. Yet only one game I can remember, red faction guerrilla, actually used physics as part of the gameplay and made us think about how we were going to play. The point and shoot gameplay grew stale very early for me, and no matter how good a game looked or played, I felt it was just an extension of the last game I played. Leading me to the first break in gaming I ever took in my entire history of playing. It's been over three years since I sat down and played a console game.

So don't feel so bad about gaming impacting you negatively. It could be a multitude of factors that lead to your anger and frustration. Hopefully, with the new generation of hardware upon us, it will bring out that child in you and let you enjoy gaming again. Also, try to distance yourself from too much press on any one game. I find, that have a huge negative impact on how much you enjoy any title by finding out too much information about it before you play. Remember, as I said in the article… When you have low expectations, you are bound to be surprised. When you have high expectations, you're bound to be disappointed.

If this negative impact continues, it is okay to walk away and take a break for a while. Don't pay attention to gaming news or anything and just enjoy life away from it. I think my three-year break will do a lot to bring out that kid at Christmas feeling again, when the next generation machines release.

You just have to find that inner child in yourself again, so you can enjoy what you once did as much as you had when you first started doing it.

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