This is me. Pat to some, neverfraid to others. I've been an avid gamer for close to twenty years now. I float from console to console, but I have been a PC gamer through and through. Most posts or blogs you'll see from me will be long winded rambles in hopes to reach at least one person. I've always dreamed about being in the video game industry, but mainly journalism. Canada may be cold at times, but the game industry is growing larger and larger in the great white north, but the major gaming news outlets (destructoid included) are primarily EU or USA based. My goal in life is to bring them up to the north and show them Canadian hospitality.
As E3 is rolling along there have been so many things shown off. The amazing looking gameplay from The Last of Us, the announcement of Pikmin 3, the surreal experience that Watch Dog's will most likely present, and so much more. But what is the biggest let down? the biggest folly of E3 2012? The Fans.
Never before has a medium had such a loyal and hate-filled community like the video game industry has today. E3 was a simple stock holders conference for companies to show investors what their money is going towards, and for small IP's to try and gain some investors so their visions can be brought to life. The same principles still stand, it's just become a far larger event. This conference, though great to see all the new games and tech companies are working on, are for the stockholders. The gamers are technically second. Which is why I'm confused by the acidic comments that people are saying about the press conference. Were they entertaining for the common gamer? No. I will agree with you there; however that's not who they are trying to impress the most. They are trying to show the share holders of the companies "this is our market plan for the following year to maximize your return on investment". So Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have to show off the not so crowd pleasing stuff like WonderBook, Streaming Sports, or the nitty gritty of the new system. It's not to please the gamer, it's to please the ones that invest.
It's not just hatred towards the "big three" as well, it's hatred towards companies unjustly. Why are so many people up in arms about Resident Evil 6 abandoning the gameplay of previous ones? Why are people upset about the new multi-player style of Gears of War? Why do people hate "scripted" gameplay so much? The first two are easily summed up as: fear of change. It's weird in an industry that is so rapidly moving forward, how afraid of change people are. Call of Duty is a prime example. For the most part (and I think many people will agree) it is the same game we've been playing since Modern Warfare changed the series. And people will call this out until they're blue in the face. They say they hate the game because it's the same thing. So here are big franchises that are trying to give you a whole new experience, something crafted from user requests (in an interview with a Gears creator about Judgement, the creator said that a lot of the multiplayer was created with user requests in mind) and fan favourites coming back and getting tossed into the spot light. Gamers then start complaining about the direction they're going and that it looks like crap. It's just interesting to see the hypocrisies between two franchises. It's "ok" for Call of Duty to stay the same (just look at the sales) yet when another franchise decides to change to keep with the times, it's time to grab the pitch forks? That's fun. And the scripted gameplay? God of War is one of the biggest franchises in syndication, and it's entire game mechanics are based around scripted gameplay. I don't hear people crying about that though...
Who won E3? That question is being tossed around. A lot. And that question should not exist. It's a bottomless pit. It comes down to preference of console (for the most part) rather than actual insight into the entire conference. It's like comparing apples to Jeeps. Every company went in there with the mindset of "Ok, we need to impress the Stock Holders and the Press". That's it. It's not a game to be won. Sony wont be getting an award for showing off The Last of Us. Microsoft wont be getting a parade because they had gameplay for Halo Four. Nintendo wont have a medal ceremony because of Pikmin. There is no winning or losing, there are conferences that increase the potential to bolster investors and educate the Press on their goals for the year to come, and that's. In that sense, they all "won". Everyone now knows about the titles, how fantastic (for the most part) they look, and the innovations that the companies are bringing to the table. They were all successful in that.
I'm an avid gamer. I love this industry and everything about it, but I hate the majority of the fans. These people are crafting things that they want to play. That they want you to play. They want fun and happiness. Or emotional connections to the games. If you don't particularly like a game or genre, don't play them. It's as simple as that. Appreciate the games for what they are though. I have one request: be excited for the games. Maybe not all of them, but "your games". The ones you want to play. Don't nit pick them to death before you even get to play them. Remember they're video games. And games are meant to be fun. It feels like the video game community has forgotten this, and that's really depressing and disappointing.
It was a rather dicey November 18th, 2008 up here in Canada. After a long wait the first expansion for the Lord of the Rings Online was being released: Mines of Moria. The snow had been falling for about four hours and the roads were getting fairly icy; it was the first heavy snow of the season. I needed to get to the EB Games that was a five minute drive up the road. I hopped into the SUV and began my trek.
The roads were lightly covered in snow, the semi-mild temperature was causing most of it to melt as it touched the asphalt making the road slick with a thin layer of ice. As I grew closer to the coveted store I could a car in the distance heading towards me in a line of traffic. It was swerving all over the place and tailgating the car in front of them. I distinctly remembered thinking "That person is going to hit someone." As the line of traffic drew nearer, my thoughts began to come true.
Suddenly the swerving car swung out into my lane, no less than 50 feet away. I could only see the headlights of the car as it sped towards me; instinct took over. I Tapped the breaks slightly causing the tail end of my SUV to slightly swing out and I accelerated towards a shallow ditch on the side of the road. The car heading towards me missed by less than an inch. I could've reached out and touched the driver's shoulder they were so close. They crashed head on into the sedan behind me, I skidded to a stop in a ditch. After I put the car in park and turn off the engine, my hands started shaking uncontrollably. Neither drivers of the cars were seriously hurt, just some bumps and bruises. After checking the situation and filling out the police report, I headed up to EB and grabbed my game while saying "this better damn well be worth it."
Have you ever stopped to think about the past fifteen to twenty years? How much the technological world has changed in fifteen to twenty years? CD's took over as the main audio source, as well as disappeared as the main audio source. People that have no acting talent are becoming stars just because they have appeared on game shows. Computers were breaking in as more of a luxury home item, now there are households with four or more of them. The most interesting and exciting change that has evolved in the past fifteen to twenty years is the video game industry.
It has been decades since there was a new emerging art form, or piece of entertainment that is globally accepted, praised and exponentially grew into the majority of people's lives. The previous was television, where is really began to take off in the thirties. It was an exciting time, people were able to watch moving pictures from across the world. Eventually seeing coloured video. Watching stars emerging and becoming household names; having favourite shows, and specific actors or actresses that they would follow to whatever show they were going to be on at that point. Feuding companies that fought for supremacy over their competition by producing top tier shows with all star casts and writers. The similarities are uncanny between this form of entertainment and video games.
The real explosion of the industry occurred in the past five years with the emergence of the current generation of systems, and the way they have shaped and defined popular culture with their innovations and cut-throat competition between consoles as well as a battle between developers. But the change has affected me personally differently. When I look back ten, fifteen, even twenty years, I notice the drastic change that the public has undergone. The "social out casts" are now "accepted". The thought of staying at home on a Friday night to game rather than hanging out with friends was laughed at, now it's "understandable". What?
That image is pretty much what the mindset was of the "typical nerd" before. When I say before, I mean about ten years ago. It was eerily different. Saying that you played video games was near social suicide, wearing anything that was from a video game immediately labelled you as a pariah. I hosted Super Smash Brother's tournaments at my high school quite frequently to raise money for whatever charity the school was trying to get money for. The real reasons behind it were to a) find the other nerds out there, and b) be able to play video games at school. These tournaments were laughed at and mocked. Now, I know as a fact, that these tournaments are the biggest draws for the charity, since it's nostalgic. The other flip side of the equation is that you now become the social outcast if you don't play games, mainly Call of Duty with the high school students. As an employee at a EB Games in Canada, I can hear the pleas that the kids will say to their Mothers and Fathers about how they'll be losers if they don't get it, and how all their friends already play it.
Video games are an integral part of all media now. You can't watch any sporting event without seeing a commercial for an associated sports game, or the next big shooting game. Netflix is used on all home gaming consoles, making them much more than just for playing games. There are more than double the amount of Wii's in households than there are stand alone Blu-Ray players. Some of the most recognizable characters to date are from video games (Mario, Link, Angry Birds, Sonic, etc.). Popular television shows reference the industry consistantly (South Park, Big Bang Theory, Simpsons, The Office, etc.). Simply buying a bottle of Dr. Pepper will have game references on it.
These are exciting times. We are knee deep in the development, and establishment of a new entertainment industry. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it, and I'm excited to see the feuds grows, the developers because as well known as movie directors. Voice actors getting the credit and fans they deserve, and the games will hopefully keep me as enthralled with the industry as I am right now, and have been since I first made Mario jump on the first goomba.