As I continue to drift through the days of this, the final year, I find that time eludes me. Since I first committed my lovely name to the site, a great many games have seen release. All the while, I've sat idly, head tilted like some poor confused dog, wondering how it's come to pass that I am so disinterested in the greater whole of modern video games. There was a time, I recall, that I waited eagerly to get my hands on a full copy of Diablo III, but time rolled on and anticipation faded to disinterest which later turned to rolling eyes and casually willful abstinence.The final chapter in the Mass Effect Saga stopped by with much fanfare but still I waved it on - a pass entirely. Truth be told, I yawned through E3, later grazing through its tidbits of news with lazy, sleepy eyes.
I don't want more polish and shine. The thought of a new generation of consoles stirs no excitement. I shudder at the very idea of higher-budget titles and further ventures into the DRM rabbit hole. I'm simply not interested in the biggest and baddest new thing. Don't talk to me about your epic, gritty storyline. I don't want to be locked inside someone else's sandbox and offered a bucket and shovel for a few extra coins a piece. I just want to play. I want to get a few splinters in my fingers and find the crawly little bugs on my own. That nagging feeling that videogames are somehow ‘different’ now sometimes scratches around in my head.
I am certainly not alone in expressing such opinion. The place has its share of posts about disenchantment with ‘modern gaming’ and growing older and wanting more and rose-tinted glasses and so on and so. I have moments where I long for games I’ve played in what feel like previous lives. I don’t yearn for the joy of playing any superior games of old; I just want to slip back into serene moments where I could feel a certain balance in the world. There, in an earlier stage of youth, sitting in the soft glow of the television screen at some ill-reasoned hour, I could get lost in some other place, some other time - Evermore, Midgar, Hong Kong in the 80’s. On nights like that, my whole life would stretch in front of me and concerns became a distant echo on foreign shores.
When I think about it rationally, it’s not the games I miss. They’re still here. They’re in a cabinet across the room, they’re in boxes, they’re in the hands of friends. Hell, I can even make the time to play them. But even the best of them I hesitate to dust off and bring to life. A solid game is always so, but there’s no guarantee on the magic. I am not the same person as that shy, sheepish, middling teenager, so the magics no longer hold sway over me. One can never go back, I’m told.
Truth be told, video games are, in many ways, in a terrific place. Content and complexity is impressive. Indie games are a dime-a-dozen and often shockingly well-crafted. Prices are reasonable. It’s a fantastic industry for all its slime and undesirable filth. I’ve almost felt twinges of envy toward the generation growing up with today’s games, but then, I’d never trade my experiences for anything.
I love videogames more than any previous time in my life despite my massive lack of commitment to actually playing them. It’s strangely sensible to me. I’ve less free time than I did in my teenage years, more disposable income, and the ability to acquire more games more easily thanks to online distribution and patience. So I play what I want when I have the time and desire and I play how I want. If that means modding the hell of out Fallout 3 and never following the story and just stopping after a couple dozen hours, that’s fine. Playing several characters in Dark Souls all the way up to the final boss and stopping? All good.
So I hereby rescind the notion of abolishing ‘gamer’s block.’ I just play games sometimes.