First off, I love video games. I've been playing them since I was a kid back in the days of Tomba, Spyro, and Rayman. They've played a big part in my life, probably too big a part. However, lately I've seemed to become more and more jaded when it comes to video games. I can hardly get half-way through a game before sending it back to Gamefly. The list of my partially played games is long: Persona 3, Persona 4, SMT: Strange Journey, Hotel Dusk, (I got bored and lost the little fucker unfortunately) Mass Effect, Killzone 2, The Saboteur, (can't blame me for that one) the list goes on. Only a few games have I had the joy to finish all the way through, Bioshock 2 being one of the most recent to my recollection.
Now, I have different reasons for not finishing all the games, such as the Persona series taking just so much of my time despite how awesome it is, but I fear it's more then that. I can't place my finger on the cause exactly, but it may be that I'm just getting tired of the lack of evolution in certain kinds of games. That sounds vague I know, but that's because it is.
But I'll give you an example, because I'm just that nice a guy.
The Invisible Inventory
Grand Theft Auto IV has been one of my favorite games of all time in one of my favorite series of all time, and when it first came out I was in love with it. The changes they made from the previous games in the series was a breath of fresh air to me. The characters, story, gameplay, and just about everything else about it felt...grown-up. It felt closer to reality, it felt so much closer to earth, it just felt less...gamey. Fast forward a year or so, I started seeing commercials for the new expansion for GTA IV 360, and even though I couldn't get the expansion due to my PS3, I started to get the urge to hop back into Liberty City and speak in a Russian accent. I got about half way through, when I started to notice the game's odd inventory system or more accurately, a lack thereof. In a game with a more realistic atmosphere as compared to the other games in the series, Niko being able to pull a, sniper rifle, pistol, sub-machine gun, grenades, a bat, and whatever else you can get your psychopathic hands on, out of his fucking pocket started to get on my nerves. It's kinda hard to treat a game's engrossing story and well written characters seriously when you can pull out an AK-47 from your pocket like your the next Houdini, but more bad ass because "Holy fuck where did that RPG come from!?". Five minutes later I ejected the disc and never played it again. This may sound harsh considering how much I love this game but for some god damned reason I just can't get over it. Most games I can deal with an invisible inventory such as in RPGs like Oblivion and whatnot, but now even those games are starting to bug me just a little bit.
Another one of my favorites, MGS4, has started to bug me with this system. In a game where heat, cold, stress, and hunger all effect your character's performance, a game where I can zoom in and count the individual hairs in Snake's glorious mustache, all of which added to the superb graphics in the characters as well as the environment make this game ooze with the words "gritty realism", (ooze? fuck it.) and yet it still uses the classic gaming invisible inventory.
Look at that picture. Now where in the fuck does he find the space to hold the 50 or so weapons you can carry in the game? His mustache? His bandanna? Does his undeniable bad assery break the laws of the know universe just so that he doesn't beat the shit out of it? Maybe, but more likely it's just the developers who try and make their game seem as realistic and brown as possible, but refuse to put any effort into updating simple mechanics still used from the olden days of video games. Perhaps old habits just die hard.
This isn't the only gripe I have with certain video game mechanics that I feel have grown outdated. But I'd rather not ramble any longer then I already have. I'm not saying developers should sacrifice Fun for Realism. I love video games that don't try and be anything more then fun for fun's sake, but I'm if your gonna make a game with realism in mind, don't half ass it. Despite what some people may think, I believe it is possible to not have to sacrifice one for the other.
Perhaps I'm over thinking things? Maybe I just can't appreciate games like a used to because I've become a pretentious prick? You be the judge.
I may be a bit late to the Monthly Musing party, but until now I couldn't think of any expertise I possessed relating to video games. I seem to be the minority that actually likes MAG. Why? Because it's the only online PS3 game that both me and my father actually both enjoy playing together. It also may not hurt that I am boss at MAG. How do I know this? Because unless the game ends withing the first 5 minutes (normal game time limits range from 20 to 40 minutes depending on gametype) you'll always see my name as top MVP on the team. Why? Because the only thing I care about is getting more points/exp then anyone else in my platoon...oh yeah, and that part about winning.
That's okay too.
How am I always outscoring my teammates even when I have the least amount of kills? "Why is this guy constantly getting more points then me when I'm doing all the work?"
Because I'm a Profiteer. Glory? Who needs it? Fair Share? Fuck that.
When I first started playing MAG I quickly realized that you could get a lot of points simply using the medic-gun to heal/raise your teammates rather then actually shooting anybody, thereby allowing me to level very quickly and unlock more equipment. I was still killing people, but I was also helping my buddies on the front line allowing us to push the enemy better. But then I realized my fighting was getting in the way of my healing, and after a while I got pretty sick of constantly running back to the fight from spawn after dieing. So I decided to change my strategy a bit, Machiavelli style. Now I work behind the scenes, healing and raising people behind cover and avoiding getting killed at all costs (time is points after all). Why should I do the fighting, that's what teammates are for right?
I use a Motion Sensor to tell me (and teammates close to me) where the enemy is, allowing me to avoid them with ease. Combined with a Sensor Jammer allowing me to conceal me and my teammates to avoid being picked up on radar, I'm merely a shadow to the enemy.
Are you hurt? Sweet. On the brink of death? Awesome. Wait, you're not hurt at all? Well fuck you too buddy!
Because I'm a Profiteer. Self-interest is my business, and I think you'll prove a valuable employee...for now.