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Teh Bias: Apathy


As a kid I would play the hell out of any game given to me. It didn't matter if the gameplay was flawed. It didn't matter if the story was non-existent. It didn't even matter if the fundamental aspects of gameplay were beyond my comprehension as a child. I would play it regardless.

Now that I'm older, now that I'm a more well-informed, more "hardcore" gamer, I feel I have a deeper love for the world of gaming. But even though my love for video games may have grown, my tolerance for them has dwindled. I'm sure many of you feel the same. Of course I don't expect you to dig out your old games to try yourself, but I think we both know that many of them have not aged well. Not only have they not aged well but our own levels of acceptability have risen.

That is not to say that all old games are unplayable now. Super Mario World is the first video game I ever remember owning. In fact it was the only game I owned for years. And year after year I would continue playing it, in love with the characters I played as and content in my simple amusement. Now keep in mind this was before I could even read. A nice little window would pop up politely asking me if I would like to save the game and that is something I only know about in hindsight. Back then they seemed like nothing more than gibberish to my young eyes, and like that the save state of my game hung upon a coin-flip over which set of gibberish I would choose. In the same way the story was limited to what I could see.

Getting the cape and Yoshi at the same time was always my primary goal. Why? Cause that's how the cover was and the cover was cool.

Perhaps there is something to be said about the simplistic plot in Mario games. Even as an illiterate little sponge I could completely grasp the idea that King Koopa was bad and I had to save some Princess. It made sense. I rode on this dinosaur and grew when I touched this mushroom and it all made perfect sense. It was the Super Mario World I had been introduced to and I accepted the world's logic.

Even today, Super Mario World is an amazing title. Yet, today, I don't feel like I would feel very motivated to play a game with an incomprehensible save system. I just don't have the motivation to play the same things over and over again. I've tried to get all of Luigi's stars in Super Mario Galaxy oh how I've tried, but I just can't seem to care. I have other things to do.

I feel as if we live in an age of apathy now. We all want constant reinforcement. If you are reading an article you want some pictures to make the work seem smaller. You want the little prize. World of Warcraft is the obvious example of this, but all games have it to some degree. You reach a new level, your character becomes more powerful or you progress more through the story. You get a little bubble popping up saying you've achieved killing something an arbitrary number of times. Nobody wants to play some crappy cash-in game based around "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters", a game with no save system which will erase all your progress upon dieing a certain amount of times. Of course... I used to. Many people did as a kid.

I had absolutely no idea what was going on in this game.

It's this apathy we grow into. We didn't used to know so much about games. We didn't used to know what was possible and what could be achieved in this medium. Our limited understanding gave us a sort of... sweet bias. We could enjoy games for simplistic reasons. As a child maybe you preferred Sonic games over Mario. Not due to any sort of impartial rating on the quality of the games mind you, but because, well, Sonic was cool. Who needs quality gameplay when you have a totally kickass killer whale jumping up behind you for absolutely no reason. It was awesome! But we know not to fall for those types of tricks anymore.

Now we're spoiled. There are plenty of games coming out and many of us now have a greater capacity to actually acquire these new games. We acquire a new game and consume it. Super Mario World may have lasted me years but now it feels as though whenever I get a new game, I quickly finish and forget about it. It seems as though there is no longevity in a game unless it has a multiplayer component to it. I mean, it's an understandable mindset, to want to play different games and not be stuck within one game and any flaw it may present, no matter how small. Still... it's kind of tragic in a way.

I think this may tie into one of the problems I had with Red Dead Redemption. Without bias, or anything of that sort, I can say it is a high-quality game. But to me it was kind of "eh". Yeah, the physics were nice, beautiful environments, the plot dealt with the themes presented fairly nicely, yet throughout the game I had this feeling like "yeah this is a good game, I kind of don't care though". I'm sure some people loved it. They loved the idea of being a cowboy. I on the other hand was getting tired of herding cattle. Yeah, it's realistic... but it's also just work. I think this is the same problem many people have with the Uncharted series. Again, another high-quality game but still something that some of us simply couldn't care about due to a combination of our own bias and apathy. I've played the first Uncharted and have no inclination to play the second. Ok, there's a nice little set piece with a train, I... somehow just don't care.

Wait, Deadly Premonition has a quasi-realistically growing beard that you actually need to shave? That's awesome!

Deadly Premonition however, that I liked. I find the silly dialogue and crazy plot much more interesting than any of the set-pieces to be found in Uncharted. I can't say it's the better game though. I mean, without my bias, looking at it objectively, well, Uncharted is the higher quality game. The graphics and gameplay are far beyond that found in Deadly Premonition. Objectively, Uncharted is the better game. But screw that I want to stick with my bias. In my mind Deadly Premonition is the better game. Some people may think the plot is stupid. I thought it was brilliant. Now this may not make sense to some of you, but that's only because it doesn't.

Some of you will understand what I mean in my comparison between these two games which seemingly shouldn't even be compared. We each have our own biases, our own apathy. People are not logical. As children we liked certain games for silly reasons due to our own biases. Many people become apathetic as they get older and may lose certain biases, but gain new ones. I am now apathetic to many games I used to play. I am also apathetic to many sports games. As a matter of fact I am apathetic to the new release of Starcraft II. It may be the best RTS game ever created for all I know. But I don't know cause I don't care. It is a bias of mine. Instead I'd rather be talking to some old lady about my coffee in Deadly Premonition. No it does not make sense. But in my world, it makes perfect sense.
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About GoggleKnockerone of us since 10:24 PM on 02.12.2009

I was born in the last millennium in the far off year of 1989... back before the invention of such things as the world wide web (seriously).

My home is on the side of a highway next to an animal laboratory. A pregnant lady once drove into my front yard in such a way as to send my father's car flying into a wall.

She was in a high-speed chase with the cops. I once got arrested for standing in a park, with the final charges coming to disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest. Don't worry though I didn't do anything wrong... that cop was just being a real jerk.

I like video games. I really like the number 24. People in high school used to think I was always on drugs... yet I have never gotten high in my life (only on life!). I'm probably not as ugly or screwed up as you think I am. My friend thinks I am very bad luck. My grandma is adorable. My sister loves cats and wants to join the FBI and save the world (she hates bugs though). I've been to the murder capital of the world several times but don't feel much like going back cause it's kind of boring.

As a kid I used to play on my dad's Game Boy. It was not mine, it was his and he let me borrow it. He would also laugh whenever I died in Super Mario World. Blue Yoshi was my favorite cause he was always the easiest to fly. If you are still reading this I applaud you (in spirit). I apologize for my overuse of parenthesis. I have come to the opinion that many people on Xbox Live cannot read very well since the majority of them always call me GoogleKnocker.