DeMoNiK’s Truth About Gaming [Column]
I have a problem. The problem is a simple one, but in the end it is the stereotypes we see again and again that are counter-productive to gaming actually moving forward with the technology we have. (This is the part where you prepare for paragraphs of loathing hatred, hopefully in an intellectual manner.)
First of all, let’s talk about the essence of gaming itself. Why do people play games? At the end of the day, we subjugate one reality for another. We as participants take ourselves out of the reality of the world around us and surround ourselves in the reality of another game, whatever that game may be. If you’ve read my columns before, we also strive for “epic wins” in our games, or otherwise put, shiny things, loot and chievo’s.
These 2 things combined is probably the broadest definition of gaming. If both these check-boxes are checked (no matter how terrible the game) it can still be classified as a game. Now in terms of graphics, it’s gone pretty much 2 ways. It’s either cartoony, or realistic.
Think about it. Let’s take me for example, I’ve played the following games in the last month or so: Starcraft 2, Dota, LoL, CoD MW2, Borderlands, TF2 and that’s before I get to the indie games. Out of those, only MW2 went for any sort of realistic graphics, and the rest is toony. To be honest, besides the new FPS games that are striving for as much realism as possible (looking towards Battlefield 3 here); everything else is toony in its own right.
So why then, I ask, do people hate on graphics that have gone the full toony route, say for example, League of Legends. I’ve had multiple people say that they won’t play it simply because of the “toony” graphics, and then go play Warcraft 3, which is AS or if not MORE toony, just in a slightly different style of animation because the game was made in 2002, whereas LoL came out in 2009.
Just looking at net code alone, games that are coming out nowadays are WAY more up to date than games of the past, even allowing us South Africans to take part in an international community in some games. The technology exists for us to compete on an international scale, and we are beginning to see it come through the woodwork, and benefit from it.
Valve has announced a new counter-strike, CS: Global Operations, aka CS: GO. Now I am very worried about this game, and for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t think most CS players will have the computers to actually play this game, as they haven’t updated or seen a resolution higher than 800×600 since about 1998. Secondly, if it isn’t EXACTLY what 1.6 and CS: S players both want for the game, it is going to be a total failure, and the CS community will do what they always do, and go back to the old game. Thirdly, it is competing in a now flooded market, and is to be honest, a bit behind. So many CS players have moved over to other franchises only a skeleton community exists of what CS used to be, simply because people realised that there are better games out there.
I really hope CS: GO is awesome, and valve have yet to disappoint post CS: S, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a winner. But in both of these instances, people keep on going back to old games, and I honestly don’t understand why.
It’s a comfort zone thing. On the internet, being called a noob is the ultimate insult, and playing like one makes you feel even worse. Coming into a new game and getting pawned for hours and hours on end isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that has to be done. Because once that learning curve is over and you come to fruition, you realise that it wasn’t so bad after all. And once you start owning, that’s when the real fun begins.
And game designers have really made gaming quite simple. Most games have a very simple and quick learning curve to get over (except E.Y.E – Divine Cybermancy… it’s actually ridiculous, more on this later this month), and get you going in the right direction quickly.
So, what is the truth about gaming? It’s really quite simple. Gamers will always stick to their comfort zone so that they can throw abuse when they pawn, because that’s how we get our kicks. But for gaming to succeed on a level that all gamers want it to be at, on a huge competitive level, we have to move forward with the technology and try new things, otherwise we are doomed.