I am an indie video game developer designing/arting/programming my own game.

Report article RSS Feed Why Am I Such A Video Game Hipster?

Posted by PsycheMac on Jul 22nd, 2012

 

I don't understand. I love video games. I've always loved video games. It is the greatest art medium of all time. You can do ANYTHING. You can imitate life itself. So why are a lot of games so boring now? Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fun games to play with friends. I love playing the most recent Mortal Kombat and smashing my friend's skull into shattered pieces but it's a lot easier to make multiplayer fun. All you have to do is create a system in which two or more people can be even with each other. The humans in the system are doing a lot of the work. So I think this article will be more based on singleplayer.

Making singleplayer fun is more of an art-form. You have to engage a single person who would otherwise be bored by themselves. You have to create a map which brings the Player through an introspective experience. They have to be engaged by the actions and environment which exist around them that strictly came from the developer of the game. There isn't anyone else to help them be engaged.

I don't know what I like anymore. I'm frankly very lost right now. My favorite game of all time is The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. That game is absolutely insane. It is a piece of fine art and should be hung on museum walls with a TV that has a frame around it. It has surrealism and it has gameplay elements that are intertwined in a way that no other game has done before or since. Link must hurry through his adventures before the three days are up and the moon smashes into the world. Link must find and use a multitude of masks which completely change the gameplay when used. The game is a perfect balance between oddness, darkness, and beauty.

Another game which blew my mind is World of Warcraft. I stopped playing mid-way through Wrath of the Lich King because the game started losing it then and I had to get my life together by that point. I admit, I played that game more than I should have, I got a little addicted. The experience was insane. I was in a WORLD. I could go anywhere and do anything(felt like it). I could go into giant caverns of lava and crazy monsters with 39 other people(when WoW was at it's best) and perform a specific job in cooperation with these people from around the globe. I could fight along side my friends in epic battles with armies of people or with a couple other friends in an intense, down to the wire death match.  It was a whole entire world that gave me tangible memories.

Super Mario 64....... Super Mario 64...... wow, what a game. You jump into paintings and experience a completely different world for each one. There's snow levels, lava levels, a clock level... There are hats which give Mario different powers.  The creativity and variety is staggering. I would not be the same person I am now without it.

Where are these feelings? Where did my Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow go? I have no idea!! The game which spawned this article is Sword & Sworcery. It was a game I was SUPPOSED to enjoy. It's based off Zelda, the art direction is pretty awesome. It has some funniness in it. But the gameplay is super lacking. I don't feel the elements of the game tie together like they should. Why am I rubbing rainbows and randomly selecting trees to solve problems? These elements do not tie into the whole, they seem like haphazard kooky things in order to combat the rigidity of triple A games. You could say I maybe didn't enjoy it because it was 2d and the games I named previously are all 3d but this isn't true. There are plenty of 2d games I like, Braid being my favorite.

Now a lot of people reading this article could say, "well you're just nostalgic". But that is dumb. Nostalgia comes from greatness. Nostalgia comes from something grabbing your soul and bringing it for a ride. And don't get me wrong, there are plenty of more recent games I like, but there aren't as many as there should be. I could write an essay on this topic but I don't feel like it. This article is more of an outlet for me than anything. I already feel a little better, pheeeeew.

What I've just talked about has been something that has been tearing me apart for a couple years now. I'm not trying to be cool, I'm not trying to necessarily convince anybody of anything. I'm just speaking from the heart and trying to figure out what is going on with a huge aspect of my life.

I'll say this, currently I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more interested in making games than playing them. We'll see where that goes...

Here are a list of games that look like they will make me less of a pretentious jerk:
-antichamber -fez -voxatron -kairo -unfinished swan -miegakure -monaco -catherine

Yes I know they are all indie games, I'm a hipster. God help me...

Edit: I realize WoW is a multiplayer game and I said this would be about singleplayer but I think I got my point across so whatever.

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Bambs
Bambs Jul 23 2012, 8:48pm says:

I feel like I can relate to your situation on certain levels. I myself found that it is harder and harder to find games that genuinely pique my interest. This has caused me to wonder whether or not it is age-related or a sign of declining ingenuity in modern games. As a child and throughout my early teens I LIVED in the games I played.

My gamey hunger was so powerful that, even when I couldn't understand the English instructions in games, I was hell bent on guessing my way to succession. Beating games such as Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie obviously wasn't easy with a limited English capacity. It just didn't matter at the time!

Nowadays when I try to play certain games that require a lot of work I just can't be arsed. I found myself skipping many (and by many I mean most) side quests in Silent Hill: Downpour. Collecting Trophies in Batman? Yyyyeeah... Nooo. I still consider myself a great game enthusiast and I am yet to lack enjoyment from a truly good game... Still it makes me wonder; no matter what the reason, a sudden decline in video game quality or me just outgrowing that "hunger", it worries me equally :/

+2 votes     reply to comment
PsycheMac
PsycheMac Jul 24 2012, 12:30am says:

I don't think it's age and outgrowing a hunger for games. That's what I was worried about but there are some games that look great(the ones I listed) and will bring back that hunger.

A good game is a good game... With what you said about side quests, I think a lot of games are giving players busy work. This is what makes them boring. They're giving players mundane tasks to do that has no real intrinsic value to story or game mechanics. It's almost like we're being encouraged to waste our time. A good game expands the player's mind, not make it do factory line work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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