Tell Me I'm Wrong: There Are Too Many Damn Video Games!

Games are as ubiquitous as the stars in the heavens... or the trash on the side of the road. But how many games are too many 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 BorderlandsDishonoredand (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...

Are There Too Many Video Games on the Market? free polls 

"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.  

Featured Correspondent

Pong, Pitfall and Pole Position were my babysitters, which means I've been traipsing through virtual realities longer than most of you young whipper snappers have been alive. How did cutting my teeth on video games influence me? Private investigator, body guard and bounty hunter. Video game characters, right? Yup, but they're also things I've done in real life. I've also written professionally about Star Wars, video games and craft beer. --- "Save the Earth. It's the only planet with beer." "Fairy tales are more than true - not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be...more »

Published Nov. 20th 2013
  • Poetic Stanziel
    Featured Contributor
    There are too many types of jam on the market! I can't eat them all!
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    I don't agree... look at the video game crash of 1983... that was TRULY too many games over-saturating the market. If anything we're seeing systems like the WiiU starving for quality titles at the moment.

    Sure it might seem overwhelming if you're trying to play every single game released... but that's just lunacy. I think it validates the existence of Gameskinny and other sites to offer reviews and opinions to help people decide which games deserve their time. Of course we all have our back logs of shame... but usually you tackled that over the summer when the release schedule dries up.
  • Poetic Stanziel
    Featured Contributor
    The video game crash was too many poor quality games and too many consoles saturating the market.
  • Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich
    Featured Correspondent
    My back log of shame is so long it makes Santa's list of naughty kids look like scribbles on a post-it note!

    No offense, but what's WiiU? ;) Sorry, but that doesn't even register on my gaming radar. In fact, neither do either current gen consoles for that matter. I'm a PC gamer because keyboard/mouse wins over thumb controllers every time for me (my thumbs haven't evolved past the Neanderthal stage)... on very rare occasions I'll fire up my PS3 (I don't own an Xbox) to play a Rockstar game. I use it for watching Blu-Ray movies way more than I do for gaming. Which at the moment is fine, because each console has some absurdly great games (i.e., anything by Naughty Dog), and would only add to the problem! ;)

    Poetic has a point about poor quality games. But on the flipside, we basically jonesed for anything back then. It was a much different time. The game industry today is a multi-Billion dollar behemoth (that ranks up there with Hollyweird) built to satiate our recreational needs like a well oiled machine. Everyone wants their slice of our money.

    I rather liken our current Golden Age of gaming, which is flush with tons of mind-blowing options, to what I feel is a Golden Age of great television. The quality has never been better, and I can't watch everything I want to, just like I can't play everything I want to... no matter how badly I want to! It's like trying to climb up a waterfall!

    Which brings us back to the point: all this "goodness" makes choosing which game to play (or show to watch) in the limited time I have... increasingly difficult.
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    Take a look at the games on Apple's itunes store and it's basically like looking back at 1983. A lot of very similar games crammed into the same space with no real way to know the gems from the piles of crap.

    I see the current console market as something different though.The average development cycle of a high quality blockbuster game is now 3 to 4 years. Back in the 80's they could make a game in like a week. I find the REALLY good games to be few and far between. People are still playing Skyrim but everyone knows that Bethesda is working on Fallout 4... and it's going to be freaking amazing.

    I guess its about making choices as a gamer... I've personally avoided games like MMOs my entire life because of the time commitment they ask. I don't really feel like I've missed anything because the experiences I've had with the other games I chose to play have been wonderful.
  • Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich
    Featured Correspondent
    I thought that about MMOs too... until I was assigned one (City of Heroes) to review (way back in the day) and fell in love with the genre. Then it was all over but the crying (into my pint glass). ;)

    While I understand your POV, I still think there are too many great games to be able to keep up with. The scenario I wrote about in the above article wasn't a lie. And that wasn't even all the stuff on my play list! Here are others I'm still working through NOT in the article: Tomb Raider, Saints Row the Third (forget about SRIV), Dishonored DLCs, Borderlands 2 (and all it's DLCs), Call of Duty: Ghosts...

    I absolutely LOVE sandbox games, but good lord... I haven't "finished" Just Cause 2 for Christ's sake. And I could literally hop back into Far Cry 3 and still do stuff even though I "finished" it. And NONE of those are crap games. Not even close.

    I don't even wanna think about the new games coming out! Or the new games dropping with the new consoles, which despite my better judgement, I'd love to get.

    As for the iTunes games... totally agree. But like the WiiU, I personally don't consider phone or tablet games to be actual games on the same par as those you play on the PC and consoles for one simple reason: delivery method. The screens are way too small. Sure, I'm old and crotchety, and my eyes are going bad... but anything you have to use a magnifying glass to see... well, I'll pass. Lemme play my games on big, high-res screens, with banging sound any day. But that's just me... ;)

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