* WARNING - EXTREMELY INCOHERENT, EXCRUCIATINGLY LENGHTY POST - TLDR VERSION IS 'Diz had an emo gamer identity crisis, finds solace and game redemption in IPY 2.0' *
* SECONDARY WARNING - AS IF MORE TEXT IS NEEDED - THE POST IS SO DAMN LONG IT WOULDN'T FIT IN ONE POST SO READ BOTH FOR THE WHOLE THING. *
There are times when I question my gaming instincts.
Sometimes I play a new game and expect to pick it up right away, I may struggle, but I get better over time and enjoy the challenge, win or lose.
Other times with a different game, I struggle and have problems and try to nit pick things with the game rather than the way I am playing. Basically making excuses for sucking or expecting to own off the bat and/or not enjoying myself.
But there are yet other games and instances when I DO own right off the bat, do NOT struggle, and yet STILL have problems with the game. Bitching about stuff big or small, and making excuses for why I'm not enjoying myself while I clearly have skill.
I have a hard time looking at these three situations lately and forming a confident opinion about them. Common sense, of which I generally followed for two decades of gaming would say it's simple.
The first game is a well balanced, enjoyable game. For me. Might not be the best at it, but surely not the worst. No complaints, just Diz Puttin' In Work. Havin some fun, gunnin for the #1. These are the best games ever invented yet by mankind in my opinion.
The second game is an absolute piece of garbage. For me. I cannot seem to get a good handle on the game, maybe it's not my forte. I should probably spend my time elsewhere; it's not like BITCHING ever got anybody anywhere... ahem...
The third game is the one where I can't seem to make sense of. Not in the slightest. Why am I making a frowny face in real life while I lay waste to some US SNIPERWOLF and his three squadmates in BF:BC2? Why am I bitching to myself under my breath about blatantly cheating AI in any Armored Core game, while I lay waste to them with overpowered weapons. Why do I constantly pester my brother with complaints about a completely broken player growth system in FIFA 11 (no seriously youth players have negative growth), yet he can sit there unfazed and play with LITERALLY the worst team in the game, while the computer repeatedly rapes his failboat squad with superhuman precision. He doesn't even bat an eyelash about the giant gaping problems with the game. I can play a single match once a day at most before I begin to sour my experience with negativity. So I know and play my limits, cash out with a small util of satisfaction instead of risking snuffing out the last ember of desire I have to play.
At some point, you cave in and accept the flaws of a game as some sort of wabi-sabi charm, or the bugging and nagging eventually burns the desire to own anymore in that game. At least, in the past decade, you can consider coming back after patches, etc...
So I wonder, constantly nowadays, about games and my attitude towards games in general. Of course, like most people, the vast majority of games do not interest me. Very VERY few games are what I would call perfectly balanced with good replayability. Very few. But there are so many games that I have played throughout the years that I've enjoyed, and yet had problems with. And I can't help but address this gut feeling, I mean deep feeling, that Diz and Games are at a schism.
It's a really sinking feeling. The feeling is that a pattern has been growing steadily for fice years. A pattern of finding a game thst shows promise, just like a sexy lady friend, and basically ending the relationship cuz she's 'not the one for me right now'.
And this situation, without resolving itself over the past few years, has created some sort of god damn tumor in my gameface psyche. Now it's at a point where I have some sort of battle, with excuses and reasoning in my head.
One voice in my head says, "Companies put out nothing but shit lately! It's all a money grab for family oriented and casual social gaming now! Facebook and wii! Wheeeeee!!!! Get ready for the downward spiral cuz this is gonna get really ugly. You will not find what you seek in any new game because they all blow ass. Have you seen any commercial for a game lately? Preorder and get this secret in-game Toilet Paper item, but only if you preorder! You should quit while you're ahead. Preserve what memories you have of good gaming and humbly move on with other shit, like your career and your burdgeoning interest in Russian mail order brides from Craigslist and writing Martian mystery novels. It's not worth the effort. The problem is not you, it's the games/companies/______!!!! No seriously!!!"
The other voice in my head says equally depressing shit, along the lines of, "You, Diz, have completely lost touch with what you used to love about games. Exploring. Conquest. Dominating noobs. Racking up head shots to gloat about to some equally-pro no-lifer who also killed 80,000 scrubs with the secret Nuclear Gaybomb. Casting mystical llamas on noobs who recalled in at the WRONG TIME. Nowadays it's this game sucks, that game sucks, this game has horrible AI, this game is shallow with no depth, that game is fun but glitches, etc. All you ever do is complain - this should be better, that should be better, always with the better. Maybe you've just grown too far away from what you really like in games and it's your attitude that poisons your experience with almost all games you play. You should take a long introspective look at what it is you want out of games because you seem to spend more time focusing on the negative and not enough on the positive. Maybe gaming isn't for you anymore. Put down the joystick, take a deep breath, then take a deep bong hit, and watch Cheers. Cheers is cool. That Cliff Claven. He's a funny, alcoholic postman."
So this is what I have been battling with, struggling with, trying to grapple with, like your eyes trying to find an end this sentence or even this entire strangely emo post, and yet the answer doesn't come, and this is how I've felt about games in general, for the better part of five years. It fucking sucks and I have finally decided to open up about it. Here amongst the wolves. I want to know if anyone else feels like I do. I want to know if it's just me or not. I have reasons for asking, too. Deep reasons that make you think, or at least beg for this post to end.
So please, readers of this, analyze like some anonymous wannabe cyber Freuds.
I mean, consider how I feel. Then filter how you feel. THEN, filter how gamers in general and around you feel.
Look around you, and you start to realize it is ALL around you. IPY is basically neck-deep in the trenches, folks. Ffs, the basic premise is "LETS GET THIS FUCKIN THING RIGHT FOR ONCE! UO 2010 WOOHOO!!!" right? I mean we've literally had over a year of continuously pelting Az with ideas. He flings some back, yada yada yada. All we want to do is refine, build upon, make things right, finally set things straight once and for all. Yet where does it end? Ahh, see...
But isn't it healthy to question it the other way around? Maybe we're the problems and the games are right? What if? Again, look around you. Do we really represent the most accepting and optimistic gamers?
Questions like this help me snap back into reality as some sort of reference, even if the reference point is ambiguous, for example "this game sucks" or "the game would be better if X was fixed..." Even if the reference point is a general "things could get better" it still helps your alignment when considering the worth of a game or your time spent playing.
Back to the original example, I would say UO is the first of the three games I described. It is a true gem. Even if it is outdated, obsolete, antiquated, lacking in certain areas, struggling for activity, or dealing with the 2010 gamer playing a 1997 game... it is still a top shelf all-time great.
So why am I having, no why are WE having problems talking about ideas or fixes or solutions or whatnot?
Take a look at any major game company's forums. They are always littered, even if temporarily, with requests, and pleads, and bargains, and compromises, and petitions, and demands, and even ULTIMATUMS. In 2010, a game is apparently never finished. Always striving for perfection, always striving for harmony and balance and hubris. But hold on - aren't these the same people who always strive for the dollar? And at the end of the day, it's about the bottom line. It's about profit. It's about a target audience. It's about market segmentation and economics. At some point, in some context, there are people who worked on practically every single game who were only involved for one reason, to increase profit. To appeal to certain eager cash holders.
But you look around here, and a grin comes across your face. Az isn't thinking about profits or Trammies. He's thinking about us. Ok he's really thinking about pus- err, you guys. He is concerned with you guys and your happiness and wants to see us all have as much of an impact on making this game an A+++. Like Earth compared to nearby space objects, this is it people. This is the ONE fucking place where people can sit down, speak about their opinions on how UO could be, and see direct and colorful discussion almost immediately. There is no other game at this point in time where I see this occurring and it really makes you feel at home here, like your opinion matters, like you can help influence the game and everything in it for the better. And shit hasn't even hit beta yet.