Sunday, 21 April 2013

Then and now!

Please stop staring at me, Son.

Hi! I insincerely hope you're all well! Are you literally crippled with anticipation regarding this weeks post? Then hurt no longer my beauty, I'm here!

I thought I'd attempt to examine the differences between gamers today, and gamers from roughly twenty years ago, and then arrive at an inconclusive, confused conclusion. I am a God!

To begin, let me whisk your stylish trousers back to when I was a disgusting child, around 11-12 years old (obviously I gamed before this, but I consider this to be the real awakening of my gaming loins). I'd catch the bus with the few nerds I knew from school, and we'd descend upon *WHSmiths like a tiny plague of skinny locusts, hungry for new-release corn. We had no idea what was due, what was out or what we'd missed, we just knew that games were in there, and wanted to handle the cassette cases, and try to imagine how the game would play solely based on the screenshots on the back of the packaging. Pathetic!

*WHSmiths is a chain of shops that sells 'things' to 'people' in exchange for so-called 'money'. It's a suspicious place full of strangers, and it smells of carpet.

As we all jostled there, each one shrieking over the other 'Look at this!' 'Have you seen this?' 'Whoooooa this looks skill!' 'Stop staring at my sister!' and that, we'd be sold almost entirely on how we expected it to look once we got it home to our Amstrads, Commodores and Spectrums.

In other words, our criteria for a purchase was very simple. WAIT. I've successfully identified a difference between contemporary gamers & 'early' gamers, and as such I think it deserves a bullet point:
  • Our expectations and criteria for a purchase used to be much less, nowadays we demand a tailor-made experience despite all the complications & heartache that brings. 
So, we made our respective multi-format purchases, and caught the bus home. The 'bus home' refers to public transport, not some exotic disease transmitted by unprotected driving of a double-decked vehicle. Did that gag work? Who cares, nobody reads this anyway! Move along, Son.

The time spent on the bus was crucial, as it allowed intensive study of the cassette inlay. The inlay always contained a brief synopsis of the title, the all-important controls, and usually some fantastic artwork. I have no clue why I was so obsessed with controls, as I used a joystick anyway, but there you go!

Anyway, once arriving at home the loading process began, complete with all the well-documented & lovingly remembered loading sounds, which I shall attempt to reconstruct for your viewing pleasure/crushing disapproval:
  • BoooooooooWip!
  • Booooooooooooooooooooo!
  • BooooooBzzzzzzzzzzWipBzzzzzzzzzzWoooooooBzzzzzzzzzVuzVuzVuzVuzBoooooo!
Accompanying this symphony of expectation was a horizontally-revealed loading screen, designed to distract you from the 15-20 minutes of hell you had to endure in order to swallow the gaming meat. Sometimes, the game would 'crash' and you'd have to suffer it all again! Flaming hellfire!

Here, have one on me:

15 minutes of staring at this, you fancy it? No? What's your point? Spit it out, don't be shy. What, you need your mates to back you up? You think I'm soft? Do you? Don't look at them, look at me. I'm talking to you.

Eventually the noise would stop, the loading screen would disappear and off you went into gaming bliss. WAIT. I think I may have just given birth to another disfigured bullet point in relation to the topic:
  • Contemporary gamers want everything instantly, any form of delay warrants a gigantic strop & hundreds of bitter forum posts. Early gamers would sit through, in some cases, hours of waiting & messing about in order to play a terrible game. Youthful ignorance or innocent passion for the genre? Tell me. No seriously, tell me or **I'LL CUT YOU.

Right, onto the games themselves. Let's be honest here, lots of old games were bad. They looked bad, played bad, and contained more bugs than a tramps knickers. However, we loved them anyway. That seems moronic, but what choice did we have? We couldn't access forums, 'Tweet', 'Poke', 'Like' or 'Cuff' the developers, or even send a poorly-worded email. I think I've just given birth again:
  • Direct access & contact with developers has made contemporary gamers far more demanding, for better or worse. Probably worse. They demand demand demand, then leave the title as soon as a new midget appears, flaunting their thighs. I mean game. Game. Yes.

So, it seems to me that the advent of the internet has altered gaming irreversibly. Even early gamers like me have been changed, and I'm unsure if it's good or bad. I think input into the things we love is crucial, but at the same time destructive input can be damaging for everyone. I'm sure a rough majority of all gamers have the best intentions at heart, but then there are uniquely modern phenomena such as 'Trolls' and meme-obsessed hipsters that offer zero or less to our beloved games.

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the giant, billowing, out-of-place toupee perched on the head of gaming known as DLC, it's just a subject that demands a LOT of discussion. And frankly, it's been done to death and back and then killed again. And then done again. And back.

'Hey, you get that new DLC? It fits seamlessly into the fanbase, and causes no divison whatsoever!'

Would Sir like a conclusion? Sir would? Would Sir like it in bullet point format? Certainly, Sir:
  • Contemporary gamers are not inferior to early gamers.
  • Early gamers didn't have any form of dialogue with developers
  • Contemporary gamers have far higher expectations, due in part to the above point.
  • There is an implied impatience surrounding the modern gamer, but I'm unsure of its origin.
  • Contemporary gamers don't stick around like early gamers did, glorious PC master race excepted. This gaming sluttery leads to developers being less invested in their work, maybe? Perhaps being a little more 'throwaway', as they perceive their market to be?
The huge majority of gamers will probably wonder what the hairy hell I am screaming about here, but hopefully some of you will understand my points. Imagine I'm a brain-damaged chimp, and you're a ground-breaking chimp neurosurgeon capable of repairing me! Medic!

I think I'll squirt out a midweek post too, so please come back! Please! And bring a friend! But not that creepy guy with the ears.

GL & HF!

**I am a complete coward that sometimes doesn't answer his own front door, and therefore rejects violence in all forms. I'm a gamer, not a fighter.

No comments:

Post a Comment