GameSkinny

Wow, Gamers Sure Have Gotten Spoiled Over the Years

Yes, the industry has taken great strides. But one of the consequences of that advancement is a constant increase in expectations.

by

Sometimes, it makes me sick to read the op-ed headlines around the Internet. SBS (Spoiled Brat Syndrome) is very common these days, but it appears to be reaching a fever pitch among the core gaming crowd.

Hey, I love all the advancements we've made. I still remember traveling to the local video rental store in a vain attempt to locate a decent game. In the 80s and 90s, $60 for a game (which is what they cost now, people) was exceedingly difficult to handle for many parents and we certainly couldn't swing such an exorbitant cost on our allowances. So yeah, most times, we had to rent.

And the selection wasn't exactly stellar. These days, hundreds upon hundreds of new games come out in any given year. Back then, we were lucky if a few new ones dropped every month, and we were even luckier if any of them were worth playing. Without the strict QA and various testing gaming has now, video games in those days were often downright comical. How do you think "all your base are belong to us" happened?

And yet, today...

Getting all bent out of shape about delays? Really?

You could delay half the games coming out this year, and there'd still be far more than we ever saw in any year decades ago. On top of which, of the games that will inevitably arrive in 2014, it's guaranteed that quite a few will be stellar. Whether they're your cup of tea or not is irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that several will be excellent. "Excellent" games weren't common in the "good ol' days," you know. One of the reasons classics like Zelda and Final Fantasy stood out is because they were in stark contrast to the junk surrounding them.

On top of which, delays can be a good thing. Back then, developers rarely bothered with delays. Just put the game out; it's basically a toy, anyway, and if it's a little broken, so what? They didn't have the necessary resources to dive back into the nuts and bolts of the project, and it didn't really matter. As it was common for many games to be critically flawed in some fashion, that was actually part of the fun of gaming. Yes, indeed it was.

Can you imagine that now? If a game even has an awkward camera, it's getting panned by critics and laughed at by gamers. Bad voice acting? How about zero voice acting and dialogue written by the programmers? And all in Japanese to start, with mediocre (at best) translations?

What we currently have at the tips of our...uh...fingertips is insane

A cartridge, a controller, and maybe a code to put in to pick up where we left off. If you were a game magazine subscriber, you were especially privileged. That's about it. No expansion or downloadable content, no pre-ordering (and certainly no pre-ordering incentives), no day-one digital downloads, no online multiplayer, no virtual stores loaded with thousands of games and game-related content, very few accessories, no high-definition, and oh yeah, only a few of the genres we know today.

Our options for interactive entertainment today are absolutely astounding. The gigantic range of titles, from the smallest indie experience to the blockbuster AAA productions, means there's something for everyone. If you can't find something you'd like to play on any day of the year, you're not that interested in gaming. Period. You can search thousands of titles online and there are hundreds more at the game store, ranging across multiple competent platforms.

What more do you want?

Let's tone down the demands and take at least two seconds to appreciate what we have

A lot of headlines are awfully demanding these days. If they're not demanding, they're disgustingly entitled. The world of gaming has expanded at an unbelievable rate over the past three decades and in the bigger scheme of things, that's not a long time. Comparing Pong to any new game isn't merely night and day; it's a completely different world. The two aren't even comparable; they don't exist in the same universe. How we interact with our games (from 3D to motion sensing to a variety of multiplayer) offers even more choice.

The problem is that we've moved so fast and achieved so much, that the industry hasn't given us time to breathe. We've all been caught up in the bullet train that is video game progression. Of course, we shouldn't be blaming the industry; it's incumbent upon us to appreciate the strides we've made. Appreciate first, consider next, demand later. In fact, lay off the demands entirely for a while. That's my recommendation.

This is still all about fun, right? ;)

Originally Published Jun. 6th 2014

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.



Comments
  • 6
    Spyke_3447 2 months ago
    Why does EVERY fathoms article create a shitstorm of arguments?
  • 6
    Lacey_6683 2 months ago
    Contributor
    Fathoms knows how to get people riled up.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Because I know what I'm doing.
  • 1
    JalestraNiss 2 months ago
    You know though, there's something to be said for demanding better instead of just taking whatever piece of crap that gets thrown your way. While the answer may not be to whine incessantly about everything, the other answer is not "lay down and take it". I don't think I demand much....I wouldn't buy a tv that wouldn't work, I don't want a game that doesn't either. I don't mind, in this day and age, of maybe having to download a quickly released fix because of some graphics card issue that couldn't be accounted for. At the same time though, it sure wasn't fun picking up that copy of Sims 3 and finding out I had a $60 door stop because they didn't want to recognize they had a problem. Fixing through patches should not be a release goal, but it seems to be in some cases. And I'm sorry, I agree that charging $60 for less of a product is ridiculous. If you're saving money in packaging, I want to see that savings in my cost as well.

    I hate this new idea that "aww..poor game designers have such a hard job". Well, guess what, everyone has a hard job in some way, that does not mean we allow poor performance or poor products. I'd love to see someone excuse a policeman from saving a life or a fireman letting a house burn down because he has a hard job.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    You don't get a lot of poorly performing games. In fact, you don't get any as opposed to the way it used to be. That's sort of my point.
  • 1
    JalestraNiss 2 months ago
    Actually, you do. Are today's games better in a huge amount of ways? Yes. They'd have to be, it's progress. But that doesn't mean there aren't problems, or that those problems shouldn't be mentioned. Bad voice acting, while for me is no big deal (I'm more concerned with lack of captions), but it can be an issue with immersion. So what if the first games had NO voice acting, that's no excuse for bad voice acting.

    A surprisingly amount of games come out of the box broken. Just about anything from EA (Sims 3, Battlefield 4), GTAV, Skyrim (as much as I love it, it came out broke). Or DLC that's nothing more than color changes. If we don't complain and say something, then the idea is that it's ok. It's not ok. This idea that we should be silent and take whatever crap is handed to us because "used to we didn't have cars, we had carriages!" is silly and a threat to progress. And yes, we should demand, demanding is progress. If you want to complain, complain about those that make demands and want them NOW, not about the demand itself.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    No, you don't. Bad voice acting is hardly common in most games, especially AAA titles. In ALL video games in those days, dialogue was atrocious, as was the writing and just about any other qualitative artistic factor.

    Skyrim and GTAV were not broken. The online portion of GTAV had issues, as did BF4 and Sims 3, and that is most certainly not the same thing. That has nothing to do with the actual basics and mechanics of a game. The games at the dawn of the industry were often broken in terms of actual control and structure. As in, the jump might hardly work, the collision detection was so laughable you might go through the floor, or one special mechanic of sorts simply wouldn't work at all. No, there are no games that are shipped this way today, not even the worst ones.

    And yes, you can demand quality. We all do; we do it every day with our wallets. However, this is a comparison between now and then and everything you've written here proves my point that gamers are beyond spoiled because either A. they've forgotten what video games once were, or B. they've simply become more entitled.
  • 1
    JalestraNiss 2 months ago
    You're completely right. Demanding that cars don't crash simply because we should be grateful we're no longer steering horses and carriages is entitled and spoiled. And don't the cars look so pretty right before they slam into a tree?

    Skyrim was unplayable on the PS3 at release for a majority of players. It wasn't until the 1.8 patch that most of the issues were fixed; most mind you...and there were a whole slew of new broken things. Even Dice, 6 months after release, said that BF4 was "still broken" and didn't work as intended (not working as intended is broken). Which brings me to GTA5, which advertised as having an online function that didn't work when it shipped (not working as intended is broken). That all matters, because it doesn't matter how "awesome" they look if you can't see it or it doesn't work as intended. If I spend $60 for a game that advertises an online function, x number of characters, etc. I want what I paid for or it's broken.It has to actually work, the online function must be present and working,I want all the advertised characters, and I want the end game.I want exactly what I was told I would get. That's not entitled, that's not spoiled. I did my part and fronted the money, you do your part and make sure it provides everything it said it would. And yes, I demand quality. Don't cut corners on the voice acting or the costumes, or whatever. I want exactly what I saw advertised and what was promised. Entitled would be whining that all games don't give me captions and cater to me personally. Instead I just don't buy those games.

    Comparing games 20 years ago to now and calling people "spoiled" and "entitled" is silly and overly simplistic. 20 years ago we had complete games, that were a finished product and worked the day we bought them. No new discoveries or waiting for technology to catch up required. Were they glitchy sometimes? Yep. So the idea of progress should have been finished products that work the day they are bought AND have better collision and maybe the occasional download fix, as opposed to the "we'll fix it later" attitude that currently pervades. Too many don't live up to OLD standards. I don't have any new standards. I'm not screaming for 3d, I'd just like a finished game with the CURRENT capabilities that provides all it advertises at the time of purchase. No extra buying necessary to get what I already paid for. And no shorting the game so you can charge us another $15 bucks later for crap that should have been included. New stuff? I'll totally pay for DLC that provides new stuff. But recolors or things that should have been a part of the game? No.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    The car analogy is absurd. That's a matter of life and death; video games are entertainment. Yeah, you can't be too demanding when it comes to one; when it comes to the other, "demanding" makes you sound disgustingly self-righteous and entitled.

    The Skyrim point is just plain wrong. That's not even remotely close to accurate. I reviewed that game on the PS3, played it for 35 hours, and never had a problem. The MAJORITY of players never had a problem. There was indeed a glitch that would occur, only after having played for at least 35-40 hours, and even then, it was hardly universal.

    You purposely missed my point about BF4 and GTAV. The games worked perfectly fine. I played them both without any issue whatsoever. Because I didn't go online, that somehow makes them suck? Online functionality is not a CORE PART OF A GAME. The core parts of the game are basic control and movement, technical elements, audio and graphics, story, etc. All of those elements could be and often were seriously flawed in the early days of gaming. No QA, no real artists on board (they were mostly all programmers), no real testing to speak of; this leads to obvious problems.

    BF4, GTAV and Skyrim had no such mechanical issues. None. They were brilliantly created in a hundred different ways, especially when compared to where gaming once was. Whining, which is all you're doing, about their online element - completely and entirely separate from the argument of base game systems - doesn't give you a leg to stand on.

    20 years ago, the games worked the day we bought them? That's exactly my point; no, they did not. Complete? Yeah, they were basically a few hours long; the only reason they seemed a lot longer is because they were incredibly difficult, so it took a zillion hours to get through them. The "we'll fix it later" idea today is the epitome of "entitled," and completely WRONG (what gamers forget is that devs are gamers, too, and they have zero desire to produce a game that needs to be fixed "later"), and entirely irrelevant.

    DLC? Know what every single kid would've said 25 years ago if you told them Nintendo was going to add a new level or two to the new Mario game? Every single kid would be in favor of it. Every last one. So, are we - and the public in general - far more spoiled and entitled than we used to be? Of course. The more we get, the more we expect. And worse, the more we get, the more we focus on what we DON'T have as opposed to what we do.

    Rather than trying to prove to yourself and everyone else that gaming is somehow broken (and more broken now than it once was, as ridiculous as that belief is), you might want to try focusing on the advancements we've made. Maybe you'll have more fun.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 1
    JalestraNiss 2 months ago
    The car analogy points to the core issue...looking pretty and working right are far from the same thing. Appreciating a car that runs into trees randomly just because you don't have to steer horses anymore is stupid and thus is your entire argument of "oooo collision is better, don't complain about everywhere else they screw up"". Who cares if the story sucks, the concept is stupid....collision is better! As if collision is the ONLY thing that matters. If you JUST wanted to talk about mechanics, then you shouldn't have mentioned things that have NOTHING to do with mechanics. You can't pop up now and go "but I was TALKING about MECHANICS". Voice acting and dialogue have nothing to do with mechanics. You bringing it up suggested that your argument is now that it looks pretty enough stop complaining about other flaws. Those are two different arguments. If you want to talk JUST mechanics, then stick to mechanics. I 100% agree mechanics are night and day. But that's not what you said. You brought in other things and used mechanics as some kind of excuse to shut up about things that have nothing to do with mechanics.

    I'm going to assume that you understand Google and how to use it. Look up the Skyrim release, the BF4 release, and yeah, just because it worked for you doesn't mean it did for everyone. Even Dice called BF4 "still broken", so even the company knew what you apparently don't. Just because YOU didn't use the online part doesn't mean that people didn't buy that game expecting exactly what they were told they'd get: online access. They were told they'd get it, they paid for it expecting it and didn't get it.

    And please, don't give me that "if Nintendo had charged all kids would LOVE it". Kids also want to play all day and eat ice cream for dinner. I'm an adult, I'm smarter than my kids. There's a reason we don't hand children our paychecks, they don't exactly have good judgment.

    Also consider that many people expect their money to go farther. They'll hold on to it tighter because the economy sucks. To work so hard and shell out a portion of your hard earned money for crap that is so buggy you can barely play it is a slap in the face. I know I stopped shelling out my money for them. I'm not giving companies my money for shoddy products. The indie companies may not have the best graphics, but they give me what I want: a good storyline, an end game, and minimal bug fixes. A finished product. Exactly what they told me i was getting. If that's being entitled then good, I'm entitled. I'd rather be entitled than stupid.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    I don't have time to do this all day, especially with someone who at least admits he's disgustingly entitled.

    GTAV, Skyrim and BF4 weren't "broken" in the sense that a good percentage of the games were broken in the early days of gaming. You can blather all you want; doesn't change the obvious facts, as anyone who grew up in those days will tell you.

    What they were "told" they'd get is one of the cornerstones of entitlement. You weren't "told" anything; your expectations are your own business; I for one know that most online experiences are partially broken when they first come out, so I fully expect those speed bumps. You, on the other hand, desire perfection for your measly $60, which, by the way, is what it cost for our BROKEN cartridges a quarter-century ago.

    No game is "so buggy you can barely play it." None. Your lying is just boring now. The online component has nothing to do with the CORE GAME. You can keep ignoring that all you want, too, but it really doesn't matter to me.

    As for Nintendo and kids wanting DLC, fine, if adults had played games in those days (and few did), and you offered them the same thing, they would've leapt at the opportunity. People do it now. You seem to think everyone hates DLC; that developers release only partially completed games (ridiculously wrong). And yet, DLC wouldn't survive if people didn't buy it, yes? Microtransactions wouldn't survive if people didn't want them, right?

    What'd you say? Something about how only my experience isn't the majority? Hmm...perhaps your pissing and moaning about things like DLC is just "your experience" because it's one of the most popular things in the industry today, as evidenced by sheer numbers.

    You get finished products all the time. You have no idea what a shoddy, broken product is unless you were alive and playing games in the 70s and 80s. Period. I'm done now so go complain about the injustices of the gaming world to someone else.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 1
    Mathenaut 2 months ago
    Seems more like the bar has just been lowered for what passes as game journalism. Pity.
  • 9
    Si_W 2 months ago
    Seems reasonable to me, after all the bar was lowered on commenting as soon as the internet went mainstream...
  • 1
    Mathenaut 2 months ago
    Oh, the ironing.
  • 9
    Si_W 2 months ago
    You said it...
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    LOL
  • 1
    You're Old. 2 months ago
    When I was your age I had to walk fifteen miles to rent video games barefoot in the snow! Uphill both ways!

    Gaming is shit now and it was shit back then. Sure the type of shit isn't the same but does it really matter?
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Never understood why people who seemingly hate everything about games still play games. Bizarre.
  • 1
    Loki_7247 2 months ago
    Yes we should be thankful for yearly games rehashed, games ripped appart and sold to us as dlc
    main companies selling digital copies for same price as retail, i mean do they not lose disk, box and manule yet we still paying same price?

    and dont get me started on these ass hats that shove drm down legit gamers throats, because lets face it pirates get the drm right? right? force us to use garbage 3rd partie software or else cannot run our games

    oh and quanity does not guarantee quality, i played more indie games this year that out shine these garbage so called AAA flop titles that all these ass hat gamers cram down there throats and claim there 10/10s ...

    but then it does not help when you have corrupt gaming media that would suck a cock down if it meant getting them shinny coins and exlusive deals

    if anything there is just more assholes in the industry and more gamers that do not give shit then cry when they get crap boring aaa games, because most them got no self respect to boycott developers games, look at bf4 and people still baught it after the cluster fuck that was bf3

    then you get developers that try and push DRM through there console and still these scummy little gamers support there garbage pissant company.. yeah you are right gamers are brainless fucktards and devlopers have been screwing gamers for even longer
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    .....aaaaand this is why I'm often embarrassed to label myself a gamer these days.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 9
    Si_W 2 months ago
    It's an industry that relies on you buying product to keep them in business and ultimately each game you pay for at £30 or $60 dollars really works out at one person for less than the minimum wage.

    The more money they can make, the more likely that they can not only stay in business but get the funding to make more games and so the cycle goes on and on - until it doesn't.

    DRM only became an issue because of piracy and people refusing to pay those who created their entertainment. You can argue about quality all you like, but ultimately those who grafted to create items for either entertainment or to make our lives easier are being taken for granted.

    I don't like DRM either but I understand why it's there, I just think the strategy is flawed. I'm not going to whinge incessantly about it though.
  • 1
    joe_5413 2 months ago
    Excellent article & we really did appreciate every game we had a decade ago & we never knew when was a game to be released & infact never knew it was ever in development.

    I do agree that glitches we part of the good fun in the game :)
  • 1
    PC Master Race 2 months ago
    Typical damage control articles, delays are more frequent on sony platforms. That really sucks,
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 2 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah, that's what this article is about. Damage control.

    'rolling eyes'
  • 9
    Si_W 2 months ago
    Delays happen, coding is a complex task. Are you really that bothered? If so, find another way of entertaining yourself or become a software coder and engineer a way to cut out the errors or make the software more stable.

    These coders are people just like you and me. They are not infallible and they are in the most cases trying to make games, which are purely for entertainment rather than life or death, more complex to keep our interest and buy their product.

    It's not that important in the grand scheme of things.