Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Video Games No Longer for Adults

Sunday was a sad day because I had to admit to a reality I just didn't want to:

Video games are no longer made for adults.

Yes, yes, I know you may be past the proverbial age of 18 and you may find video games still interesting, but the truth is with the latest generation of consoles and the games that have (thus far) been made for them, they just aren't made for people who have jobs and certainly not those people who have children.

Again, at first I didn't want to admit it.  Desperately hoping I just had a string of "bad" video games.  But the empirical evidence was too numerous and damning.

First, Assassin's Creed Unity, aka "You Like Pirate Ships?  F@ck You!"  I was desperately hoping it would be an improvement upon Assassin's Creed Black Flag.  But after spending damn well near 2 hours just getting the basics down, finding a weapon, and finally getting into the "world" I would be operating in, I found out that world, frankly, sucked, the fighting was not the same as Black Flag, and, oh yeah, no pirate ships.

Second, Call of Duty Ghosts.  Solid FPS, not terribly steep learning curve, but the movie was childish and boring.  Matter of fact, I would have preferred they just load up the game with three more missions and cut the entire "backstory" out.

Reversely, third, Wolfenstein NWO.  The story was great, but the utter lack of crazy uber-Nazi experimented enemies was a let down.  Still, a solid game, but not worth the $60 I dropped on it.

Fourth, thank god I learned my lesson to wait for reviews to come out because I had dodged a bullet in not dropping another $60 on The Order 1886.  And dodging this bullet took some effort because I so wanted to believe this would a revolutionary game, or at least a solid one.

Nope, horrible.  Just horrible.  So bad were the reviews I don't even have a timid curiosity to try it.

And finally, Bloodborne.

Thinking I'd be crafty and buy the most highly rated video game, I had done all of my chores, done all of my work, and purposely set aside an entire weekend to veg out on this 9.5 out of 10 video game.

Things seemed to be going well.  The fighting was a little obtuse, but I'd get used to it.  And after 2 hours of slogging through a bunch of enemies, I got killed,


back where I started 2 hours ago

with all the enemies I just slew, revived as well.

F@ck you, "Form Software."  F@ck you.

Here's the sad economic truth about this latest generation of video games and nearly every video game developer better start paying attention.

This isn't 1988 where we were nerdy kids with an entire summer to blow away to get past that one impossible stage of "Ghouls and Ghosts" or "Ninja Gaiden 2."  We don't have the time or the luxury anymore to "learn" whole new ways of fighting or button combinations as if we're the Asian engineering students playing Mortal Kombat at the college arcade.  And, sadly, we have built up enough self-respect to know when you are giving us a digital finger when you ammo starve us or put save points 2 hours of game play apart.

Additionally, who can afford $60 a pop for video games?

The last time I really spent that much money on a previous console was Pitfall II for Atari 2600 (adjusted for inflation).  And I got months of play out of that.  Now a "Red Dead Redemption" or "Black Flag" is the exception, not the norm for these multiple-hundreds of millions of dollars-in-development-costs games.  And I just don't have the finances to buy 5 $60 games in the hopes one might be good.

Admittedly, a lot has to do with generational changes.  Gen X is now "responsible adults" with things like jobs, mortgages, and children.  But who do you think are the ones in charge of the purse strings?  Gen X is the "richest" generation that plays video games, but still have budgets (both of time and money).  Today's kids are subject to this same budget as they are now relying on their Gen X parents to buy these *COUGH COUGH  WHEEZE WHEEZE* "block buster" games.  And you can't even rely on the Millennial gamers as they're besieged with student loans, student budgets, and lousy employment prospects. 

So maybe game developers and the people who review them need to get out of the "video game echo chamber."  They need to realize that while their lives of creating, reviewing and playing video games, are not representative of the largest segment of the gaming market.  Sure, if I was a game developer or reviewer and my job was to play and review video games, I could go back, restart Blood Borne, and waste another 2, 4, even 6 hours getting to the next save point.  But I had wood that needed splitting, clients that needed consulting, and a girlfriend that needed sexing.

Of course, I could be proven wrong.  Gen X'ers may still blow $60 per game in the vain hopes one is worthwhile.  Millennials may continue to make equally bad decisions in purchasing games as they did worthless degrees.  And kids may convince and cajole their parents to buy them the latest heavily-marketed video game, until they bore of it quickly and retreat to the world of social media.

But if my economic spidey senses are right (and they usually are) this latest generation of consoles are facing a huge underlying problem and it's making games that appeals to developers and full time professional gamers/reviewers, and not your regular, normal people who just like a good freaking video game.



Anonymous said...

Two words man. StarCraft Two.

Anonymous said...

While they're at it, why can't Rockstar release the engines to the older GTA games to other developers. Man, would I love to explore an updated Vice City!

Anonymous said...

I still enjoy playing my old Intellivision. I find it relaxing in an odd sort of way.

Old fuck

Anonymous said...

There are always great games for the PC that usually sell for under $20. Console gaming might be dead, but PC gaming has some hope.

Anonymous said...

You're just playin the wrong games.


Anonymous said...

The best gaming analogy ever made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbsrxTHL-UI

j blog said...

Ammo starving is what good games need to be built arround. I.e. Tomb Raider 2, Deus Ex, Resident Evil, Splinter Cell, Mirrors Edge... Logical levels you can't blast through with an Uzi.

Hot Sam said...

Red Dead Redemption is a great game but it has too many side story interruptions on missions. And picking flowers is gay.

I like my PS 3 which pretty much explains how I got stuck with fat chicks. But seriously every person I know with a Wii are all fat women, sorta like the PS3 lady.

Why do new games suck? The answer is twofold. First, all the good stuff has been done and we are in the world of sequels and ripoffs. Second, think of the people who make those games now. They are privileged Asian nerds who drive Teslas and voted for Obama. They have none of the gritty entrepreneurial skills of earlier game designers who are now retired at 40 and banging hot chicks in Costa Rica.

Dwight House said...

Bloodbourn is a game for children because it's punishingly difficult and had a big learning curve?! Adult gamers don't have time to learn new gameplay or the money for a $60 game?!

Have I got the game for you! It's called Candy Crush.
It features:
* 0 learning curve
* 0 skill requirements
* Free
* Completely understands your busy schedule by only allowing you to play for a few hours a day max
* Available on cheap devices so you save on expensive console purchases
* Feels entertaining, but is ultimately a hollow, meaningless experience

It's perfect!


On a serious note, once you become a creator, consuming content loses its edge. I barely play games anymore. It's far more rewarding and challenging to make a game.

Anonymous said...

The tip is to buy legendary games from GOG.com. Legendary as in classics. As in able to stand the test of time. Those with high replayability value, with well thought risk, reward, and game play.

I currently play Magic Carpet 2.

Yes, its a DOS game. But play well via DOSBox, even on a laptop with Win 8.1.

Its fun. When you are tired from daily work, to open your laptop and have fun for an hour or something to get some rest.

Brian said...

Have you played Max Payne 3? It's a great series and the third entry looks quite good.

The Metal Gear series is also another excellent series.

Archfriend said...

I know your pain. I would never consider buying the games you mentioned, they look like they could be fun if I had all the time in the world, but with a full time job and other interests I want to invest in first. On the other hand (related to the video) I've been playing Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on and off for the past two months now and have been having a blast. Simple, fun, and by the end extremely challenging. Probably not a game for "adults" but I don't care, it's all I need.

Anonymous said...

Try Far Cry 4 - great game. Large, can leave and jump back. Drug runners, hunting, elephants that you can ride and crush jeeps.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased a Wii U 2 weeks ago, mostly for the Virtual Console feature, and have been having a blast playing my favorite old 8 & 16 bit classics. The new games for the console are decent also, Archfriend is correct, Captain Toad is loads of fun. I don't understand why this console hasn't sold more units.

grey enlightenment said...

video games are a waste of time

Cogitans Iuvenis said...

Why pay $ 60 for a video game when you can download Steam on a PC and get it for a fraction of that? I paid $ 7.87 for Dishonored.

One Fat Oz Guy said...

Civilisation Beyond Earth showed me that 'professional reviews' can't be trusted.
The game sucked, was linear like no Civ game should ever be and was overflowing with 'strong female leaders' like a good SJW pet project.
If ever there was a game that needed Leonard Nimoy to voiceover (like Civ4) it's a Civ in space game.
Also, I liked StarCraft 2, but hated having to pay for only part of a story. StarCraft 1 was a complete story. SC2 expected everyone to pay full price for Part 2 of an incomplete story, which I objected to on principle.
Now I've got a child I also can't spend a full day gaming, so I need a game I can turn on for an hour here or there, not one that requires 4 hours to learn the controls.

Muyal Thunderbottom said...

join the [r] pc masterrace

Ruben said...

Cap, regarding Bloodborne, thats how all Fromsoftware games are. The whole game is a big f*** you. I mean, did you know about the regain mechanic, did you learn to parry, did you know you could buff your weapon, did you know dashing gives you invincible frames and you can pass through attacks? That's part of the fun, eventually you'll learn to run circles around the enemies, even with low health and un-upgraded weapons. Then... you can move on to PVP fights.... a battle of wits, guesses, and tells against another person.

Try the Dark Souls series. You'll also hate them.
At first.

Vlaskiach said...

When were they EVER for adults, with the obvious exception of Leisure Suit Larry?

Anonymous said...

Far Cry 4! 100%agree with above comments. SO much fun! I also enjoyed Black Flag a lot. I would be surprised if you didn't enjoy Far Cry 4.

Vader999 said...

Just play games from the 7th, (Xbox360/WII) 6th, (PS2, Gamecube, Xbox) 5th, (N64, PS1, Sega Saturn) or 4th (Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis) generation games. Old games never fail to amuse me. There's a whole massive library of them, and you can blindfold yourself and throw a dart, and you can get an awesome game.

For example, Castlevania Symphony of the Night. Star Fox 64. Smash Brothers (64, Melee, Brawl, WiiU, they're all good) or the Halo series (not that glitch-addled MC collection)The first four Mario games from one to world are all great. The Star Wars games, from the Rogue Squadron and Jedi Knight series, the games for episodes I and III, KOTOR I and II, Battlefront I and II, they're all great.

But if that's too retro for you, then go get a WiiU and go play their games.

Anonymous said...

Try Pillars of Eternity from GOG.com it is the best Rpg to come out in YEARS, very addicting and gives me .00000000000000000000000000000000001% hope for humanity.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of time and money. Video games are for kids. As an adult, I have much better things to do with my time like pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, learning new skills, and investing in various hobbies (mostly focused on tools and guns and outdoors).