Tell Me I'm Wrong: There Are Too Many Damn Video Games!
I sit down at my gaming rig, hot with anticipation to frag the bejesus out of something. I open up Steam and quickly glance through my list. Just like that, I'm paralyzed. My eyes glaze over... a bit of drool runs down my check.
Do I strap on a cape and fly into Champions Online? Grab my lightsaber and force leap into Star Wars: The Old Republic? Or get all Castithan gangsta and rampage through Defiance? I only have a limited amount of time to get my game on, and MMO sessions usually take more than I have to burn at the moment. Guess I can (begrudgingly) check those off the list.
No. One does not.
Multiplayer matches are quick and dirty, so maybe some Ghost Recon Online or CrimeCraft: Gang Wars? Yeah, they're quick and dirty alright, but they're devoid of any storyline, and I want something deeper. Maybe a single player shooter like Call of Juarez: Gunslinger or Splinter Cell: Blacklist? Oh look! Portal 2 is sitting there... and I haven't played that in so long! Damn. But the new DLC for Borderlands, Dishonored, and (fill in the blank) are enticing me to come play with them.
Hold on... what's that urge? I actually want to bash a few zombies in the brain pan! Great. Should I pick State of Decay, Dead Island: Riptide, Contagion, Left 4 Dead 2 (an old one, but still a goody!), or Telltale Game's The Walking Dead? ARGH! Wait! Batman's Arkham Origins is calling me to BE Batman! But Michael, Franklin and Trevor want me to pull a fifth Grand Theft Auto job with them, and there's Skyrim to still scour, and... STOP THE MADNESS!
Which game should I play?!
With beads of sweat forming on my perplexed brow, I look at the clock and suddenly realize that what little time I had just vanished like a technologically cloaked Tom Clancy ghost. And I wasted most of it deciding on what game to play!
This would be so much tastier with a side of Sriracha sauce!
This scenario happens so often that I have to wonder if I'm the only one who lives out this hellish vid-game version of Groundhog Day.
Back in the day, we were lucky if we had a half-dozen games to choose from in any given year. But those days are long gone and the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that we now have a legitimate problem on our hands. Now, dozens of games get released every month; more during the high volume Holiday Season (which is right around the corner). And the next-gen consoles are coming out in a few weeks! It's a tidal wave of gaming goodness, but... how good is it, really?
At what point do we stand back and ask: "How many games are too many games?"
Gaming is big, big business, which means we're not about to see a slowdown in the number of games being developed. On the contrary, we're likely to see even more given how much money is at stake.
But unless you're a kid who still gets days and weeks of undisturbed vacation every year, an adult with (literally) no life, or a game journalist who plays games for a living... no well-adjusted mere mortal can play every single game they want to. It's categorically impossible. And it's not just the time sink involved!
For the sake of argument (ya, right)... let's say every game costs an average of $50 a pop. Even if you only buy two or three games a month, the financial burden involved with dropping that much coin every 30-days starts to become an issue. Don't get me started on MMOs that charge a monthly fee, because those guys make you feel ashamed that you're not getting your money's worth unless you're playing it EVERY FRIGGIN MINUTE OF EVERY FRIGGIN DAY!
By now you're starting to realize the cold, hard truth of the matter: this whole thing is one big, evil, cyclical bastich. The more games there are to buy, the more games you're forced to buy... and the less time you have to play each one. Which brings you right back to the original problem...
What game should I play right now?!
Undoubtedly, some of you are going to tell me to stop bitching. And that's a fair piece of advice. Not.
Others are going to say we're in the Golden Age (cue angelic harps and a soft golden aura) of gaming... what with all the ways we can get our games, and the rise of indie developers striking it big and what not. But how golden is it really when there are literally too many games to play?
Some true gems (Mark of the Ninja, Deadlight, Sine Mora) are, as we speak, falling through the cracks never to be noticed because recycled Triple-A Games (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Madden... I'm looking at you!), what with their multi-million dollar ad campaigns, get all the eyeballs and thumbs because gamers feel like they have to keep up with the latest and "greatest" around the virtual water cooler.
So, what's your take on this conundrum? Vote and tell me if I'm wrong...
"Tell Me I'm Wrong" is a somewhat regular rambling (weekly, bi-weekly... whenever) where I delve into a topic that I want to get off my chest. Sometimes it will reflect on my years as a gamer, or my years as a game journalist. Other times... who knows.
I encourage you to join in the madness and let me know if I'm on to something... or just bat shit crazy.