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.