This time I think I’ll discuss another issue that is close to home for me which is the upcoming generation of videogame consoles and all of the rumors and what not going on with them. Now I wanted to discuss the current issues with the videogame world because it’s an important part of my life, it’s how I blow off steam, relax in the evening, and generally just calm down sometimes. I also use them as an escape from the real world from time to time, because it is just nice to take the role of the dark knight and crusade through the dark streets of Gotham every once in a while. However, recent developments and rumors have made me worried for this wonderful time suck, most of which coming with the new generation of consoles.
I’m first going to address the concern about certain companies that have gone bankrupt in the recent months, mostly the THQ liquidation. These are the people who created Darksiders, Saints Row, Red Faction, Homefront and many other games. The company sold off most of their divisions and kept only one for themselves, but for the most part, we can say goodbye to this company and what they strived for in games. Now this is a concern because we are always hearing now that companies are not doing very well and are starting to go under. This isn’t helped with the media and government scrutinizing every aspect of the games that they produce. We have people saying that videogames are awful things that consume lives, devour their souls, and turn them into murdering members of our society. Others say that games are a First Amendment right that should be protected because they are a freedom of expression and storytelling that has developed in the new generations.
My weigh-in on the issue of looking into games and banning or any other restrictions is that we already have a rating system for the games that tells you the age range, why, and when you purchase mature games you have to show an ID showing you are of age or have a parent or guardian there to purchase it for you. At that point, it comes to the parents taking time to go and look up what the games their children are playing are about, all of the information is only ever a few clicks away on the internet. I feel that a lot of the issues that the government or other concerned people comes down to are actually on a more family based level of inspection. Parents should ask their kids what they play, and research it. Parents who buy their kids games and don’t even think about what it’s about should first look at what they are doing first. My parents knew the games that I played and actually controlled what I played for the early years of my gaming youth, but after a while, once they knew I was mature enough, they let me take the reins of it and police myself. Videogames are what you make of them, if you always spend 16 hours a day playing a game, then that’s not good, but if you play for a couple hours a day or every once in a while then you have a better control of the actual potential problem. It’s like alcohol, you could drink every day and never feel your toes again, or just have a drink when you go out with friends.
Now we start moving into the current console issues that are cropping up because of the recent set of rumors coming out over the next PlayStation and XBOX systems. My largest concern is the rumor about the idea of blocking used games with one time activation codes or tying them to the initial system that you play them on. This is a concern because I like to share games with friends or bring games over to their houses and play multiplayer with everyone. This would limit that ability and actually participating in the festivities. The also hurts the resale market which is another part of the industry that developers have had to deal with other the course of the videogame existence. Resale stores are always going to be around, that is just a fact, look at clothes, watches, computers, music, art, movies. Now the resale industry already screws all of us over, but having system tied games hurts the resale stores as well. When I want a game that might not be very available or what, I go to a resale store and see if they have it, and they’ll probably have it for the cheap. Then, when I sell my games back to the resale store and get a dollar back for it all, I feel violated by the sheer cheek these people have to offer so little for so much. Developers have tried to get people to buy new games by adding first time activation codes, DLCs, and special bonus features for buying the initial product from them. The problem with these is that there isn’t enough bang that goes with them, getting a new skin for my character isn’t really worth paying full price for the game, nor is a multiplayer map. Give me something bigger, more dramatic, and more significant; give me something that makes me think, “I want that!” Also, stop releasing DLCs the day after the game comes out. That’s ridiculous. Include the DLCs in the game; don’t make me pay an extra five bucks to get the Trials of Dunwall pack.
The next point is the actual games themselves and the fact that they aren’t as juicy as previous generations. I know games have changed over the years, but when Cruising World is ten hours longer than the latest Devil May Cry game, we have a problem. Yes, it’s racing versus a hack and slash, but come on, I cleared DmC in three hours and at least S ranked each mission while I was drunk. Cruising World took many hours of fine tuning, practice, and throwing the controller on the damn moon level. Now here is the problem with this: I felt that Cruising World earned every penny and then some of my money that I spent on it years ago, while DmC was $60 and barely entertained me for an evening. Sure, DmC looked better than Cruising World, but it wasn’t as much fun and this is the flaw with the gaming world at the moment. Shut up about graphics, I don’t need to see the sweat coming off the biceps of a character three miles away, what I want is a game that I can immerse myself in and enjoy for many hours. And I know people say, “Well that’s what replay is for!” Yes, it can be, but everything shouldn’t be built on the hope that you will go through the same game three or four times, it should have a story and game play that stands strong with one play through. Also, games now don’t have much replay value, only if you care about leaderboards, but otherwise you are just playing the same game, same everything, again, with no endearing qualities to make you want to do that. So I get screwed with the initial cost, hence one reason I don’t tend to buy games new, then I get screwed with the actual amount of content, thus screwing me by the development teams, and then if I sell it to a resale store I get screwed over by how much I get back, finally screwing me over by the resale stores giving me a quarter of the price of a game that came out yesterday.
Overall, the whole community of gamers, developers, story tellers, politicians, and everyone else, needs to get together and fix things slightly so that we all get what we want. Gamers need to be more forgiving of certain things that developers do, but steadfast in the fact that we do not take multiple mistakes well. Developers need to listen to the gamers about what they want, but should try new things and shouldn’t be destroyed for trying something new and it not going well. Story tellers need to get back into the business and stop bogging us down with volumes of back stories of the plains of no one cares, story should be seamlessly woven into the game. Politicians need to stop scape goating videogames for other people’s problems, but instead invest time in helping people understand the good and the bad of the industry. We all want to be happy and are reasonable people for the most part, let’s all come together and make the community great again.
Whatever the risk, still onward.