Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nothing is sacred, nothing is safe, everything is permissible...

I'm a gamer.  I have been for the majority of my life.  I've crushed Octoroks, I've gotten my ass handed to me by M. Bison and his flying head stomp, I've spent hours getting all the spells of every job just so that my Calculator could hit every single person on the board with every effect possible, I've leveled characters, gone on quests, slain dragons and vampires, saved worlds, erected empires, burned villages, made sweet sweet love to princesses in at midnight behind closed temple doors.  I'm not hardcore though.  I've played a few games in my time, but I don't put myself into them, I don't reach for them like a baby reaching for her pacifier in the middle of the night.  At least, not like I used to.  Part of that is because I simply don't have to the time or the disposable income to try each and every game that hits the market.  I guess I could rent, but that wouldn't help.  The demands on my time every day are extraordinary (hey, at least I'm never bored, although 8 hours of sleep is more like a haunting fantasy than an achievable goal) and even if I had some spare time to spend on few games, I have to be very selective as to which game I play.  But also, the reason why I've lost some of my fervor....fanaticism if you will, about video games, is that, like many things in popular culture, the creativity that once was there, seems to have been co-opted in favor of better graphics! More Online Play! Multiple Options!  Starcraft was one of the best games I've ever played.  There hasn't been a game that has captured the love of Strategy gamers in the same way since.  Sure there have been great games, but not too many of them.  Many games may look beautiful and are technically impressive but simply aren't that fun or engaging.  I'm sure that's age and maturity talking as well.

 

            So, the long and short of it is, I have to be very sure that the games that I buy are games that I will want to play and spend time playing and actually enjoy that time.  World of Warcraft is one of those games.  I don't play anymore and it, as great as the game is (and it truly is a good one, worthy of the purchase if MMO means more to you than a cow with a stutter) it didn't capture me like EQ did (which was whole heartedly and without mercy).  Part of that is because EQ was like the first hit of crack; nothing ever compares and you cant ever get that first High....not that I would know....ahem...moving on...

 

            But how, dear, gentle reader, does a discerning older gamer with precious little time and money, figure out which game would be best for him or her?  Well, you go on this thing here the youngin's call the INTERNETS and you start to look at previews and reviews and first impressions and fan reviews and what-nots.  Places like www.gamespot.com, and www.gamespy.com, are good places to start.  AT least, that's what I used to believe.  But I learned something in the past few months that, while I knew in a general way, I had yet to fully understand.

 

            THE INTERNET IS FULLY OF IDIOTS

 

            Not just regular, run of the mill, lick the frozen pole idiots, but people who take idiocy to the next level.  And the internets, in all it's wonder and glory, through the mighty shield of anonymity, makes possible the airing of all sorts of stupid, evil, ugly, uninformed, slanderous, fallacious opinions, offered as fact or gospel, to anyone who might be unfortunate enough to look the wrong way.  Not only is the wild wild web a place full of clichés, just like the high school hell you fought tooth and nail to escape, but also like anything else that has the putrid stamp of Humanity upon it, these clichés will mob up on people who might offer a different view, like a pack of wolves, weeding out the 'weak' wolf.  It's insane!  You cannot trust anything ANYTHING ANYTHING you read, especially not on the Internets, where people actually can be PAID to go on websites, pose as regular contributors to forums and skew honest discussions about games or politics or whatever by interjecting biased opinions for the sole purpose of creating controversy or a rabid fan base.  Sure it happens without the payment, but its still ugly...we all know that negative campaign adds are a fact of life but we hate the fact that so much money is poured into them and so many people are swayed by the FALLACIOUS ( I think I like that word...I mean, hell its root is Fallacio!) ideas put out there.

            So, I'm stuck with reading peoples opinions that I don't exactly trust about games that I might or might not buy, finding a strong metaphor to life in the process, but really just being annoyed and not even spending money on a game until I'm DEAD SURE I want it.  Like Galactic Civ II.  I wonder how many other gamers are out there that feel the same way...

 

That's all I have to say about that...

Benticore

Out

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