I suspect by now a title like the one above is not all that confusing to a gamer. In fact, there are several ways you can interpret it. Perhaps I’m only saying that I dislike one aspect of video games. I wish I could say that was the subject of this post.
I’m afraid what I mean with that title is that I dislike what has happened with all aspects of video games: business models, creative stagnation, toxic interactions, disappointing hardware, the pathetic state of games journalism (No, I’m not referring to Gamergate), and dead end platforms like VR and mobile gaming.
Some context: I grew up with an N64, a Sega Genesis, and whatever the newest Gameboy was. The only PC games I played before I was sixteen or so were either edutainment or Oregon Trail. As I grew older and gaming became an art form as well as a toy, I developed an appreciation for a few different genres and what could be done with a game that could not be accomplished by a book or a film. I valued first person shooters, platformers, party games like Super Smash Bros., third-person action-adventure, and the occasional point-and-click above other experiences.
The problems kicked into high gear about halfway through the life of the PS3 and the 360. I was basically pushed out of console gaming by restrictive online play, corporate nonsense and dashboard ads, and a lack of creativity. So I have fully migrated to PC, which I hate. I will never use a keyboard and mouse. (W, A, S, and D don’t even line up! It’s madness people!) This means I can never play online shooters without an inherent disadvantage. Gone are the days of four friends in a Halo death match free of hackers, scammers, Microphone spammers, lag, and twelve year old children with inadequate parents. I understand the appeal of the PC to people who know about computers, but I find the actual operational knowledge of these machines to be extremely boring. I always preferred consoles because I never had to worry about whether or not my ‘rig’ could handle a game. I never had to worry about whether my controller would even work. I didn’t have to mess with settings and learn what AA was.
So here I am. I’m quickly retreating from playing any multiplayer games at all because of the way the average fool on the internet chooses to play them. I have only two games I’m looking forward to: Cuphead and Return of the Obra Dinn. (I was looking forward to We Happy Few on account of its creative setting until I found out it was a survival game complete with hunger meter, thirst meter, and a system that allows me to craft garbage into more garbage. Seriously, I have to worry about dying of dehydration in the middle of a functioning city?)
I’m trapped between consoles and PC with no major studio thinking of people like me when they produce their newest early-access zombie survival game, their confusingly popular MOBA, their military shooter, their barely 8-bit ‘retro’ game, or their episodic narrative loaded with QTEs. I don’t see this getting any better. I doubt there are enough people like me for any corporation to bother producing a dedicated console or PC game service to us. Is anybody else out there like this?