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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.

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? ;)

Published Jun. 6th 2014
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