There has been some growing concern in the gaming community - a theory that disheartens hardcore, originalist gamers like myself: are single-player games being superseded by multiplayer frag-fests? In an industry that prides itself on community interaction and the vast quantities of titles and genres, are single-player games actually becoming obsolete? Damn. I really should stop reading those forums.
It's all preposterous! Single-player titles will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
I don't want to save the world.
Not only am I desensitized to the world-threatening drama found in many games by the plethora of films that tackle the subject, but the world surrounding my in-game character simply isn't my world. I haven't assimilated it yet, and without any collateral to save this world I've never learned about, I can't really be bothered to feel attached. Better games will try to establish an emotional connection between the player and the game world before threatening to take it away; most games fail to create any sense of attachment whatsoever. This detachment is amplified moreso by our tendency to be virtually lazy, of all things.
I was sitting at my computer doing some cool stuff with programs, you know, legit ones, that I bought and stuff, when GN-Lell messages me: "Hey System, we should go do some SW:TOR beta!" Knowing that this would be a great chance to see what the game looks like, I agree and fire up the game. There we are on the large test server wreaking havoc on those who are foolish enough to stand before our combined might, when all of the sudden I read the chat message: "god this game is buggy. you would think they would wait to release the beta until they had a lot of these bugs worked out." [sic, sic, sic, sic] I figure that it must be one of those guys who sucks at the game and is trying to make an excuse for why he is doing poorly... until, a few minutes later, another one pops up in my chat box: "I hope the full version is better."
There comes a time in every gamer's life when walking from Leyawiin to Bruma is outright unacceptable; the journey is no longer the most fascinating, it's the most mind-numbing. Once you've seen the scenery the first time 'round, why bother walking through again? You're much higher level than any mobs you'll encounter in those zones, so experience isn't much of an incentive either. Our example gamer would much rather fast travel using some sort of boat, teleporter, silt strider, or The Nine forbid, a freakin' map that works from anywhere as long as the combat music isn't playing. Yes: walking in a video game becomes a tiring chore when infused with the "I want to get this quest done and go to sleep" curse. It's silly to think that the physical embodiment of the player character - the actual player - could reach a point of utter laziness such that holding down W is cumbersome. What's the matter -- is your index finger tired? You're sitting in a chair, not actually running. Don't be lazy.
So I’m sitting at home listening to music and cruising Caps Lock when I get an xfire from Lelldorianx: "You should write another ragequit column." About what, I ask him. "System," he says to me, "you need to write a column on what real gamers are." I know that there is an amazing story behind this, so I brace myself for the lulz that are about to ensue. He tells me that there are people at his school who masquerade as gamers. "How does a person masquerade as a gamer?" I ask him, and he tells me that these people play Facebook 'games,' then dub themselves gamers. Thanks to our previously-written 'what it means to be a gamer' column, calling these… things games is a mortal sin. They are just as much “games” as Flash videos are a “cinematic experience.” First the uneducated tween bastards steal our holy scripture (leet speek) from us and call it textese or text speak, and now they think playing that horrible crap gives them the right to call themselves gamers? To hell with these charlatans I say, may they burn in a righteous fire for such heresy.
There's nothing I love more than spending $60 on a brand new, unfinished game, and then spending an extra $15 on 'stimulus packages' to 'unlock' the rest of it. It really gets me going, and that's why GN staff is presenting to you a proposal from the point-of-view of our beloved, axiomatic publishing powerhouses.