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.