Well, it has been about a month since my last blog. Not because I don't like you (honestly), but because it's getting harder and harder to get out of bed and motivate myself to achieve anything in life, apart from the disgusted stares of the fine people at the bakery (an evil bunch I tell you, but really worth it!).
But having a lot of time and being miserable has its perks too, for example the opportunity to kill the most famous of video game monsters: The Backlog. And while trying to defeat this massive entity, which continuously sucks more money and space out of my apartment to finally suffocate me, something snapped and I had a wonderful question at hand. Why do I even bother?
And thus I present a horrible new disease that destroys the life of young and old (or just me): Gaming without a cause!
It could be in your house already! Maybe even 'probably'!
I love video games, plain and simple. They are my favorite medium, because they are constantly evolving and changing in a grand scale (unlike movies and books which still change but are (more or less) at the end of their evolution, it's more about the contents now and not so much about the packaging/techniques, although there are still exceptions). That's one of the reasons I try to play almost anything I get my hands on that sounds even remotely interesting, independent of genre. Gaming is my favorite kind of art so I want to see all it's facets.
But gaming, first and foremost, like most media, is a sort of escapism for the recipient. It's there to stimulate your nerves and give you a great feeling of satisfaction, to have achieved something. It's artificial, but it works. That's no universal truth, but sometimes it just feels like that. (Not a bad thing in itself, playing Angry Birds on the bus or slaying thousands in Dynasty Warriors doesn't demand much of your brain matter and can be quite calming in small doses, but it can also become a kind of gateway drug) This is where the problems begin.
The above is my simplified thinking and gaming process and they clashed violently in recent weeks. This often puts me in the weird position of discarding the artistic merits altogether forgetting why I put the game on in the first place and becoming a mindless sponge just trying to finish whatever 'meal' I have at my disposal. Realising this consciously for the first time hit me pretty hard. Gaming for the sake of gaming.
[i]He always new the value of time.
[/i]This train of thought mainly occurred to me, while playing Metro Last Light. I played the game for 7 hours before realising that I didn't enjoy myself, not even in the slightest. (This was not the games fault, which up to that point felt quite competently made, literally all I can say in its favour). Everything felt so bland, tied to the same formula that's used since the first Modern Warfare. The constant scripted sequences of the characters inability to shoot or walk straight (something you do 'in game' all the time) and the 'oh so beloved' faint to black (seriously what's up with todays video game 'heroes'? They all seem to pass out every few minutes for no real reason but a soft knock on the head, while seconds earlier soaking up bullets like Tony Montana).
Being massively let down I popped in Uncharted 3 the next day and after hours of play, it was basically the same. I was going through the motions of kicking and shooting my way through endless hordes of enemies (who, for the most part, were all bald-headed men, because british mobsters aren't willing to sacrifice as much as the Yakuza once did). And that's when it hit me again. Why am I doing this to myself? (Repeatedly not the games fault per se, I liked Uncharted 2, this one just didn't resonate with me) Is it just me or does everybody with countless hours of Angry Birds and Peggle on their phones feel like this at one point?
Maybe I'm just burned out on the AAA market and their tendency to do the one popular thing over and over until it finally dies. Maybe I'm just burned out on games in general after playing so fucking much that I finally lost track of why I was playing in the first place. Maybe I should just play a lot less and start working towards something productive instead (writing more blogs maybe?).
Histories first acknowledged bullet sponge.
Thinking back a few years ago, when I was still attending school, I seem to have played a lot of uninspired games just to have' em in my library/gamer profile.[font=Arial] Gaming without a cause[/font] was my life, and I played myself into a corner realizing only now what I did wrong. Enjoying video games is almost impossible without feeling like a useless piece of trash now.Suddenly the Backlog isn't funny anymore, it's a mirror into the empty void that has become my life. The time has come to burn or seal away most of the collection in my room.
The older I get, the more I see the time pass by me, without even looking in my direction. The next time you play a game for more than 2 hours, you should ask yourself „Am I having fun?“ and „Is it worth it to invest another 20 hours to get 'to the fun part' everyone is talking about?“. I can't afford it anymore. Time is precious and I'm learning it the hard way.
Maybe it's just time to go for a walk... at least I can still enjoy 'Persona 4 Golden' that way.
Almost 50 hours in and still enjoying it every single second. Inspiration and one of the biggest reasons I still love videogames.
Just to shield myself from too much verbal abuse, this is my first blog here on Destructoid. I dabbled in the comments here and there, but I mostly stay mute and observe. As a 'New Years Resolution' I promised myself to finally get my ass moving and jump into the C-Blogs.
If there are mistakes and you spot them, don't just keep'em for yourself, make sure you scream loud enough so I can sharpen my written english and can become rich and beautiful.But enough with the rambling.
It all starts with a movie that I've recently watched...
(SPOILER WARNING for Citizen Kane... I guess.)
Never mind moderation
There is a ruckus going through 'video game land' every few months or so. A new game will be released which then is quickly turned into the much 'needed' and final epitome of a narrative driven experience (be it actually intertwined with the game mechanics or just in the form of an interesting story is mostly irrelevant).It is compared to an obviously superior medium, whose days of grace are long gone, because it's 'magnum opus' was achieved and nothing of value ever since came.
This game then transforms into a new form of being. It tries to become the messiah of it's own origins. It transcends earthly bonds and is allowed to dine and party with the gods.
It literally becomes 'Citizen Kane'.
He never asked for this
This blog is not about the question if we need a universally acknowledged 'Citizen Kane of Videogames'. And it's not about the question if 'Citizen Kane' is the right example (if I would have the need to choose anything I'd choose Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' or even better just a Cheeseburger!).
If I'm not mistaken, the last game that was worthy enough to finally become 'Citizen Kane' and play darts with Zeus was 'The Last of Us'. And if memory serves right, it was shot down before it even left the ground, just like the countless games that came before it.
To the point: I am sick of it. I don't hate the whole 'praising something into the heavens' - shtick people seem to play (it's amusing at the least) , but what I really hate is that they seem incapable of deciding who's honor it finally is to have orgies with Dionysus. I'm always reminded of the boy at the ice-truck, who just can't make up his mind which flavor he actually wants. And it's getting pretty hot at the end of the line.
So, to finally put an end to the debate, I take the right for myself to decide, bestowed upon me, by thee internets themself. It's none other, than good old 'Pac-Man'.
The one and only Kane
Just like 'Citizen Kane', Pac-Man introduced new ideas and mechanics into it's inherent medium. 'Citizen Kane' had "The only story of worth ever, until forever, in the movie-industry!" (quote by Hollywood itself) and Pac-Man was the first game ever to even have something like a character. No, scratch that, five characters (5!).
Where 'Citizen Kane' used revolutionary lighting and camera angles, Pac-Man used cutscenes (you know, these little sketches?) and top notch AI to tell a gripping story and invoke emotions. Without 'Citizen Kane' people still wouldn't know how to use a camera properly and how to tell a non-linear story. Without Pac-Man there'd be no cutscenes and without cutscenes there'd be no story at all. Hell, imagine games without AI, it'd be just like 'Ball in a Cup' again!
Look closer at the story and you actually see more similarities between the two. Both are about a man, who overcompensates his sad life with overindulgence in materialistic goods. Add to that an ever-present paranoia with a big slice of narcissism and you basically have the same story (and if Pac-Mans almost mindless and random attempts at killing friendly ghosts isn't enough prove for this, think again. He is basically a circle and if that's not the most narcissistic figure of 'em all, I'll be damned).
To be honest, I'd even say that Pac-Man succeeds 'Citizen Kane', because of the better use of symbolism (the ravaging monster that tries to eat himself happy) as well as the implementation of immersive features like the common 'Pac-Man Fever'( copyrighted and incorporated only in and for 'Videod Games'! ).
The song for Mr. Kane wasn't half as good
At last we don't have to search for the 'Citizen Kane of Gaming' anymore, because it already existed. Self pronounced 'Scholars of Gameology' failed all these years to pinpoint the exact location of this 'Holy Grail of Videogames' , because they just looked the wrong way. Always forward, never back.
"And when 'Pac-Man' finally transformed and became 'Citizen Kane', it rose up into the sky, leaving it's unworthy brethren in the dust. On that day, it not only gained the righteous place that it always deserved, it also assimilated the original 'Citizen Kane' and vomited the remains back to earth, onto the people that tried to compare movies with games and vice versa. And it was beautiful." - Orson Welles