Musings Of A Mad Hatter: Spoiled Gaming
You see, I’m a student. An unemployed student at that as well. I don’t get any money whatsoever, even from my parents, and primarily being an Xbox 360 gamer we can all agree that I have to flog out a ton of cash in order for me to sustain my hobby in the best way possible. I have to scrape together money from every tiny bit of crevice or do nefarious and otherwise frowned upon things to procure some form of currency. So with that out of the way I have to admit that if I buy a game at full price, that I’m going to play the shit out of it and enjoy it come hell or high water. I won’t go into a game shop and buy something by just saying: “Fuck it, the box art looks kind of cool.” I buy games that I know I will enjoy and not some half-assed bullshit made for a quick buck. Do you know how livid I would have been if I bought something like Homefront for full price and then finished it in the same amount of time as a lap dance? I would be raging through the roof.
So in short, I buy quality games and I enjoy them. Even if I don’t enjoy them at first I will give them a chance and see if they surprise me in any way. I won’t play a game for two hours, decide it’s a load of shit and flog it onto a pile of dust. Then I got thinking: There are people that do that sort of thing regularly, but don’t suffer from the same dilemma as I do with the whole money issue. They’re essentially throwing games into a giant heaping tower of unplayed games just because they didn’t like the opening cutscene or some other stupid shit like that. Spoiled for choice, really.
I’ve had this phenomenon happen to me before when I got my first big paycheck from doing a temp job. The money got transferred into my account and in about twenty minutes flat I ordered nine second-hand games. And to make things worse, four of them were JRPG’s. When the games arrived I was benevolently playing through some of the shooter games just to, you know, shoot shit until I was done with the story as quickly as possible just so I can move on to the next game that looked great to me. After about the fourth game I was in this weird trance where I was playing something while not even caring what was happening, losing interest and opening the disc tray and popping in the next game in hopes that it will be more fun. That went on for about six cycles and then I suddenly stopped and realised something. I was completely detaching from gaming. It’s the same thing that happens when you are so cluttered with things to do that you don’t stop to smell the roses once in a while.
I didn’t take time to appreciate the games I was playing and I have observed how other gamers also do that, but to the extreme. I give an example. I bought Max Payne 3 at full price and as my aforementioned statement has stated, I was going to enjoy this game no matter what. I played through it once, enjoying every minute of it to the extent that I started another playthrough directly after on Hard. I finished Hard and then moved on with Old School directly after. I took a break for about three days and got the craving to do it again, but this time with New York Minute. So as you can see I was pretty much infatuated by this game and I knew exactly what I talked about when I was talking about the game.
Along comes a reviewer, whose opinions I respect fully, who gave this whole monologue and vivid explanation about how absolutely shit and boring the game is. Because I was a self-proclaimed expert at the game I was sceptic to what was just explained to me. I then proceeded to look through their achievement list and here’s what I found: 70 GamerScore for Max Payne 3 with the last achievement being Complete Part II of the Story. Part II is when the disc change happened, essentially the halfway point of the story. Of course I sat there with a huge ‘what the actual fuck?’ expression because that’s just a travesty. If you play every game for about two hours maximum and then deliver an opinion then you are a shame. An absolute shame to the gaming culture. If every game was critically analysed just by its first two hours then we would have a ton of shit games being reviewed.
I then looked at the rest of the achievement list and saw about twenty games with two-digit GamerScores with some of them being AAA titles. Hell, AAA titles that I have fully maxed out GamerScore for that were amazing to say the least. Then it hit me. Over-saturation. It’s quite similar to gamer’s fatigue, but with more of an unwilling element thrown into it. You play so many different games at the same time that they just stop being fun. You forget the one game’s story mere hours after you played it because you were too busy playing another game that demanded your attention.
Most of the gamers that suffer this are either game reviewers or pirates. Game reviewers get fully priced games, that some gamers saved up their hard earned cash to procure, for absolutely free. They get piled with new games left, right and centre and this is where that whole over-saturation thing happens where they detach from gaming and just go into this blur. In turn this makes them jaded and even pissed off at games that are even a bit boring in the beginning. They don’t stick around until New Game+ where everything gets ten times better (Darkness 2, Dragon’s Dogma) or neither do they allow a game to surprise them (Tales of Vesperia and any JRPG for that matter) so after a while it’s just hate and contempt for everything gaming. Pirates are essentially the same, but are even bigger cunts because they don’t have the added responsibility that a game reviewer has. Just mountains of games that they can play ‘if they really want to’. Sickening really.
All of this can be summed up in a simple comparison:
If you only eat one gourmet meal a month then you will appreciate it to its fullest and enjoy every bite of it because you know that you don’t get many opportunities to experience it. If you eat the same gourmet meal every day for five times a day then you will be fucking sick of it after a while. No matter how delicious that dish is.
So take your time and enjoy your games. Don’t unwillingly over-saturate yourself and spoil your gaming experiences altogether. Have fun again goddammit.