I don’t get gamers…

by Christopher David Lawton

I used to consider myself a core gamer. I would buy games and play them all night, forcing myself to beat them, no matter how much I hated them, because I guess I had something to prove to my Playstation.

Of course, with verifiable Achievements and Trophies, there’s much more at stake than there used to be. Think of it! How would I possibly deal with the unspeakable humiliation, if someone, who has way too much time on their hands, found out I didn’t beat such and such game within 10 hours? My E-Penis size would never recover.

But, that’s not me. About a year ago, I came to a conclusion that my time is way too valuable to spend sinking hours into a game that’s not engaging me. And that’s not a statement of arrogance, either. Okay, it is a statement of arrogance, but rightly so. The fact of the matter is that if you want my time, you need to earn it. I work two jobs, I’m trying to get my writing career started and I co-own two independent comic ventures. The time I reserve for video games is very, very small.

So, I need to be very discerning in what I play during that time.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog post: Limbo. This little arcade title dropped a couple of weeks ago and, basically, kicked me in the balls and called me “Sally”. Not because it was hard, or because it redefined anything. But, rather, because it was just THAT engaging!

Everything from the amazing monochromatic graphic design, to the unique puzzles and simplistic gameplay, this little 4-hour venture filled me with such awe, I couldn’t even believe it only cost me 15 dollars.

Wha?! You paid 15 dollars for only four hours?! That’s a rip-off!

After I finished the game, I went online to see what people said about it. A good portion of gamers had discovered the experience I had, and had nothing but good things to say about it. But, also, a good portion of gamers have reacted to the game with the opinion expressed in the line above.

Their main point is that 15 bucks is too much to pay for only 4 hours of gameplay. To this, I ask: When did we, as a group, get to the point where we measure a game’s worth, based on length? By that yardstick, every RPG would be worth way more than COD: Modern Warfare, since RPGs tend to be about 4-times longer. But, I can tell you, right now, I’ve played a crap-ton of RPGs that don’t even come close to the feeling I got when the nuke was dropped.

Their other point of dispute is that a puzzle game should never cost that much, because once you figure it out, the experience is over. Again, to this, I would ask: So? I pay 15 bucks when I go to the movies and, once the credits roll, the movie is over. That 15 dollars is no longer offering me any physical or mental stimulation.

Why are games held to a different standard?

I’ll tell you why. Because, gamers are, on the whole, dicks. They are complete and utter dicks, who spend their entire time crying for innovation, but spit in the face of the innovators, because they don’t want to pay for it. They funnel 60-dollars into the latest sequel, while games that attempt to push the bar on storytelling and experience (*cough cough* Alan Wake *cough cough*) are cast to the side, because they dared to take on a blockbuster.

What’s really funny? Those same people who skip the original title for the sequel usually head directly online to complain about how the sequel is exactly like, or worse than, its predecessor.

(Now, to be fair, there are exceptions to this. Alan Wake went up against Red Dead Redemption a game that is, admittedly, far better than its predecessor. In fact, it’s actually a better-made game than Alan Wake, even if it isn’t quite as innovative of an experience.)

And what’s even more frustrating is that companies look at these sales numbers and say “Clearly, they don’t want original IPs, they only want sequels!” And that’s what they get. And then those same gamers that chose the sequel over the innovative game will go online and complain about how all we get is sequels.

And that’s just hilarious.