A Rant Concerning My Growing Indifference to New Games, Plus Why Game Stores and New Consoles Can Irritate Me

Warning: This post contains whining and complaining.  Read at your own risk.

I’ve been noticing something lately.  I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I haven’t been very excited about new games lately.  Or new consoles.  My love of video games is as strong as ever, but I have realized that I can pass by the game store or the electronics section of the Best Buy with much more ease now than in the past.  I used to be excited to check out the new games and see what I could get next when I save up enough money or the next holiday comes along.  I used to be able to think up a whole list of games I wanted.  And now, not so much.  I look forward to “Rayman Legends” and the next “Final Fantasy XIII” games (even though a lot of people don’t seem to like those, I find them to be delightful).  I also wait and hope that someday the series I used to love will actually come out with good games again.  Or games at all.

Partly, I’m simply satisfied with what I currently have.  I’ve amassed a nice collection of games, and there are still some I haven’t played yet or that I can replay.  But, once I’ve gone through those, I know I’ll want new ones, and it’s getting harder and harder to find games that look any good.  (Much of the games that look interesting are rated M, too, which I don’t often play.  I really considered “Bioshock”, but then I heard it had gratuitous violence, and I decided to pass up on that.)  Like I said, there used to be a lot of games that looked great.  And now I go through the game store and find nothing that catches my interest.  Occasionally a game comes out from a series I like, and I buy it, but that has become quite rare, and most games I haven’t heard of look less than appealing.  (What’s with all the dancing and singing games?  And fishing?  And I swear I saw an M&M’s game once.)

And the consoles, too.  I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of getting new consoles all the time.  It used to be exciting because each console would be better than the one before it.  In terms of just Nintendo, the N64 had much better graphics than the SNES.  The GameCube had better graphics still, and it had a rumble pack added to the controllers.  Fancy.  Then, the Wii got better graphics (while still falling behind its competitors, though, as usual).  And the Wiimote was fun for a time.  It was new and different.  But, at this point, new consoles aren’t different enough from the previous ones to make me excited anymore.  For example, I am satisfied with the graphics now.  Nintendo consoles could use some improvement, but XBox and PlayStation consoles have such good graphics now, they can’t improve that much more.

So why am I paying several hundred dollars for another console that isn’t much different from what I already have?  Because that’s the only way to play the new games.  And there are fewer and fewer good games, so I have to decide if I want to spend $300 or more or whatever (I haven’t a clue of the prices of the new consoles, as I’ve had no desire to check) just to buy maybe a few “Halo” games for XBox or a couple of “Ratchet and Clank” games for PlayStation.  (Not to mention each game is now $10 more than in the past.  You could always wait for the price to go down, but lately, games only last a month in the game store before you can’t find it anymore, for whatever reason.  And I’d rather not buy used if I don’t need to because I’ve bought enough cracked and otherwise damaged disks, including one that had coffee or some other beverage spilled on it.  Thanks for checking games before you buy them, game store.  And then the store tells me they don’t buy cracked disks.  Then, why have I gotten several?  From YOUR store?!  Is some “FFXIII-2”paradox occurring in this location?  Huh?  Is that what you’re telling me?)  Ahem, there are still games I look forward to, but it gets hard to justify paying that much for only a few games, no matter how good they may be.

And really, why all the new consoles?  I know they want more money, but why did this even start in the first place?  Video games are one of the only things where nothing is compatible with anything else.  And they refuse to make consoles backwards compatible, so when you buy the new ones, you still must keep the old ones.  I am fortunate my consoles have been lasting long periods of time, but I am seriously running out of room.  My TV stand is filled, and it’s good my TV’s smaller, so a console can fit next to it.  I may need to fill the room with tables to put more consoles on, as my closet can’t fit many more, either.

Seriously, though, I never thought of it until recently, but what is it about us needing to buy different consoles for different games?  You want “Halo”, buy an XBox.  You want “Mario”, buy something from Nintendo.  You want “Ratchet and Clank”, buy a PlayStation.  Most other things aren’t like that.  Imagine needing a certain brand of DVD player (or blu-ray, if you prefer) to watch “Star Wars” movies, another brand of DVD player to watch movies made by Tim Burton, and a third brand of DVD player to watch TV shows on DVD.  It would get ridiculous, wouldn’t it?  Maybe I’m being naïve, but can’t we ever just have just one single machine for playing video games?  Can’t that be in our future someday?  My DVD player plays all my DVD’s, including those released years before and years after the DVD player was made.  My VCR (yes, I still have one) plays all my VHS tapes.  My computer has the miraculous ability to read all my CD’s and DVD’s.  And yet I need half a dozen consoles to play all my games.

Though, I suppose I should look on the bright side.  It takes so darn long for new games of my favorite series to come out, I really could skip consoles, couldn’t I?  “The Legend of Zelda” series alone has gone from games coming out every two years back during the N64 time period to coming out once every five years.  A new “Zelda” game came out a year and a half ago, so I’ve got a good three and a half years left, at least.  Maybe I can just skip the Wii U.  I’ll just get the…I don’t even know what logically comes after that.

Okay, sorry for the rant.  This is something that’s been bothering me lately, and I noticed it even more when I found myself near the game store not long ago with no desire whatsoever to go inside.  I love my games, but it’s hard to find more games I’ll love.  There are still really great games out there, but they come out so infrequently and are getting swallowed up by the sheer amount of, well, not as fantastic games.  And the way the new consoles are, it’s rather a hassle keeping up.  I’m just tired of it all.  Very tired.  Who else is getting disheartened by it all?

A Raving Duck

8 Comments Add yours

  1. gimmgp says:

    Well said, sir. Sitting in my “Possible Future Articles” folder is a post titled “I’m Done,” which pretty much mirrors your sentiment. After years of companies taking several beloved franchises behind the tool shed, it is difficult not to become jaded towards the video game industry. Capcom’s relationship with Mega Man is a perfect example. There were three games announced to the public just two years ago, and all three were cancelled, mainly under the guise of “Not enough support from the community.” Now, Capcom is re-releasing all of the NES Mega Man games for Virtual Console (along with piles of merchandise) in an effort to capitalize on the “tremendous fan support for the Blue Bomber.” There is obviously a market for new titles in classic franchises, but unless the profits can hit the triple-A margins, I suppose there is no need to actually grace the fans with fresh material.

    The next generation of consoles is thoroughly underwhelming as well. Nintendo is taking their sweet time in releasing killer content for the Wii-U, and instead of filling this gap with a plethora of Virtual Console content, they continue to drip feed titles that have been on the Wii’s VC market for years. Microsoft’s announcement of needing to connect your console to their network every 24 hours just to play games offline shows just how much the XboxOne is meant for video games (but don’t worry, you can still watch TV and movies any ole’ time). And the PS4 seems to be wrapped up in social networking and squeezing as many buttons on their controller as possible that actually making games accessible and fun is taking a backseat to trying to monetize the Let’s Play market to Sony’s advantage. Toss in graphics that seem only marginally better, and I think I will just pass on the next consoles; I’m obviously not the target audience anymore (gamer with semi-disposable income and scruples).

    But ya know, I think I am okay with taking a break from trying to stay relevant and being wrapped up in the tech wars. There are plenty of games on current and previous consoles that I have yet to play (looking at you, Mass Effect 2 and Fire Emblem), and I don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars to enjoy them.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yeah, there is a list of older games I need to go and play. I keep putting it off to play the new games, but if I soon won’t have any new games to play, I’ll just go backwards and buy games that have already been released. And what is going on with XBox and PlayStation? Why should I have to connect my console to their network all the time, and why is PS about social networking now? They’re video game consoles. The emphasis should be on video games. If I want to do social networking, I’ll use my computer.

      Like you said, though, we aren’t the target audience anymore. I don’t know why people who play video games aren’t the audience of video game console developers, but whatever. We’ve been loyal to them for years, but fine. Target the people that don’t have any interest in video games. When they get bored of the novelty of these devices, maybe they’ll start making consoles for gamers again.

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  2. cary says:

    I’m with you guys. I’ve already written plenty on how I feel about current gaming and the next gen. It’s simply exhausting trying to keep up with everything. Even now, I want very much to be excited about E3 and all the newness that will soon be thrust upon us, but a lot of what we already know has already been said. (There really are no surprises in this day and age.) I’m most interested in what all this newness will cost us; and so far. neither new console is all that appealing.

    As set-in-their-ways gamers with little interest in media hubs and entertainment packages, we are also in neither Sony’s nor Microsoft’s target audiences. It’s a little weird, watching all this happen from the outskirts and feeling a bit like our parents must have when the NES was the best thing ever. Eh. In the meantime, I have some warm tea with lemon to drink and some Metroid to play.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      It is indeed weird. I feel like I used to be a part of the video game community, and I’ve been tossed out, as the developers cater to a new group of people that probably don’t even like video games. They may just be buying these consoles for the other capabilities. That’s neat when consoles can play DVD’s and CD’s, but I bought it for video games. That should be the focus, while the rest is bonus features. These new devices are more like, hey, I bought this to play movies, but it’s cool I can also play video games on it if I ever feel like it. Somehow there must be more money in making consoles for non-gamers than gamers, which makes no sense, but that’s the only explanation for it. Maybe someday they’ll start making consoles for us again. Though, maybe I just won’t want to buy from them anymore. I guess I’ll get caught up in the old “Zelda” and “Metroid” games and such. I’ve been meaning to. Back when video game consoles were actually made for those who played video games.

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  3. simpleek says:

    As someone who is still relatively new to the whole concept of buying consoles and keeping an eye out for the new generation of consoles, it’s really insane how developers are making it purposely hard to just stick to one console. Like you, I also have space issues and I really can’t be upgrading consoles all the time and keeping older ones when games are not backwards compatible.

    When it comes to buying new games, I tend to wait for a price drop. I very rarely want to buy a game the day it released unless it’s something I absolutely must have. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point where I’m not interested in buying any games I see at a store, but time will tell I suppose.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I don’t even know where I’m going to put future consoles if I get any more. And places to put them is limited because I don’t want the cat sitting on them or anything. A predicament if there ever was one.

      And it’s very wise to wait on buying games. The reason I buy them shortly after they’re released is because the game store seems to stop selling new versions pretty fast, and then all you can get are used, which sometimes are unreliable, but it would save me a lot of money to just wait. I do wait with consoles, though. I have saved several hundred dollars waiting several years before buying those. It’s very satisfying getting a brand new console, usually with a bigger hard drive and with the bugs worked out, at such a discount. And often with a $60 game and/or extra controllers thrown in.

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  4. Hatm0nster says:

    I’ve enjoyed the console cycle ever since I started gaming, every five years we’d take a huge leap forward in terms of graphics, gameplay, characterization, storytelling. New consoles were exciting, even this current generation when it was new. This has also been the longest generation too, having gone on for 7 years now. The problem with the now is that we can’t see a noticeable difference in gaming quality over the current. That and Microsoft and Sony’s baffling attempts to redefine what the console gaming experience is about, for MS it’s about television and defining games as a service instead of a product, for Son’y it’s about being absurdly social.

    I’ll take Sony’s version over microsoft’s but they have the same problem, the focus is on what you can do BESIDES gaming instead of making gaming itself better.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yeah, I didn’t have much trouble getting new consoles when they were actually noticeably different. I don’t want to pay several hundred dollars for a console with graphics only a tiny bit better. And it is so silly what Microsoft and Sony are doing. If you want to stop making video game consoles, then do so. But, don’t pass off these machines as video game consoles when what they focus on is everything else. I kind of feel video game consoles are becoming extinct from what I’m hearing. The consoles have transformed into cable boxes and computers where video games are an afterthought. So if people mainly want a machine for watching TV and social media, are they eventually going to cut out the video game playing ability of these machines altogether? They’re being made for non-gamers it seems, so allowing these consoles to play games at all is pointless, really, if the target audience is no longer gamers.

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