Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chill Out

Sun, you know you're my boy, and we's tight, you're too freakin' hot. It's summer; I get that, but please cool down.

Continuing with my E3 obsessing this week, there weren't any big announcements today, so I've had some time to wander the Internet and read what the kids online are saying about all the upcoming games. Reading blogs and Internet comments always leaves me a bit exasperated, but there's something about the stuff I've been reading today that just leaves me depressed. I just can't identify with the vocal, enthusiast video game players anymore. The "hardcore gamers" as they call themselves. Anyone who would willing, proudly assign themselves a title like that is not okay with me.

They're the ones who most likely to follow E3 video game announcements and write about video games. They're the types that are going to speak the loudest, the ones whose opinions will be most prevalent online. They're obviously not the only ones playing video games, but they like to think that they are, and they do a great job of convincing many game developers and publishers that they are. As someone entering this business (and it's rapidly looking more like a business than an artistic field), it truly bothers me.

I was thinking about explaining in detail what sort of popular thoughts are floating around that are bringing me down, and maybe I will some time, but not now. I feel weird enough about turning this blog into "Nerdy Video Game Rant Central" for the week without boring you with the details of paradigm shifting in this industry.

I know I'm not leaving you, dear readers, with a very compelling read tonight, but I know that if I get started on this stuff, I'll be up all night ranting, and the resultant hastily-written, stream-of-consciousness nerd-speak won't be any better.

To put it as simply as I can, I'm very pleased with what Nintendo is doing - mostly creative, lovingly-made, diverse games and software (and hardware). There are some things coming out of Microsoft and Sony which, while absolutely unappealing to me, will make somebody happy. That's great. I want nothing to do with any of it, but I'm glad there are games for tastes other than my own. What does bother me is how much there is that's unoriginal, focus-testing-driven, generic, and/or ripped-off from other games and hardware. What's worse is the masses that swear these are the only kinds of games that deserve to exist. It's selfish. It's ignorant. It's shallow and philistine, and from what I'm hearing, few people - fans, journalists, or developers - seem to care that their being swindled. On the contrary, they delighted welcome the fall of creativity and fun.

There are as many brilliant, amazing games coming out as ever before, and the companies I like best are mostly sticking with the sort of philosophies and games that made me think so highly of them in the first place, but it's the people who claim to be video game fans who have been on a long decline, and I think I've finally hit my tipping point where I must step away and say I'm not one of them. I don't what that means, exactly - I still obsess about video games, I still want to make games, and I never called myself a "gamer" - but I've been feeling gradually, increasingly distanced from this crowd for so long that I didn't notice how far from them I'd drifted. Or maybe I've stayed in the same place and they left me where I've always been. That seems more likely.

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