Just a heads up – there is a naughty profanity in this piece…somewhere. Don’t remember where though.
Has it changed? Well, you be the judge. What was once a rather unpopular industry is now incredibly well known, with more video games purchased in the US than movies in 2010 alone. I find this to be quite the figure, for it is far easier in my opinion to purchase a film, especially one that is pirated. Now, I ain’t admitting to anything, so any law enforcements officers reading this post should not take my words as those of a person incriminating himself. I am but saying that the copyright protection software on movies is pathetic when in comparison to that which is used for games, with far more in depth programs needed to get past the protection on each disc. So when the statistics say more games were purchased, I find it to be quite the statistic.
Then again, 2010 was a big year for games; Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Bayonetta, Metro 2033, Halo Reach, just to name a few. But this is beside the point. The main issue I want to talk about is the popularity that has exponentially increased over the past few years. Now, more game companies have emerged across the globe, with more and more people from producers, directors and developers all realising the sheer potential behind the gaming market and all vying for the ability to be involved in the business. With more popularity means more customers, which in turn means more profit.
Who can remember when a video game was less than one hundred dollars? (Oz prices) Less than fifty? I remember when my family and I purchased Doom 2 all those many, many years ago on our trip to America, the game then being thirty six dollars if my memory serves me accurately. Thirty six dollars? That is American of course, but in a time when most games start at around one hundred and most leading retailers go all the way to one hundred and seventy five with their prices if it so happens to come in a shiny tin with a couple additional features, which is purely ridiculous for a special edition DVD usually costs fifty dollars, if that, I feel the price to be exorbitant.
On top of that, what you are purchasing has decreased as well. Now yes, I will admit, the graphics are flawless in comparison to where they once started and the experiences are just as incredibly fun, if not more so, with vibrant storylines and fantastic characters to lead you into the fabulous world of the game. However, what once left you with what could have been up to twenty hours of gaming, if not more, is now less than ten, and sometimes six. It took me four hours and thirty six minutes to clock Home Front on hard when it was released in 2011. I completed it the day I bought it. Now, what kind of deal is that? I spend one hundred and six dollars on a product that was yes, entertaining, challenging and engaging, but so short? I just got started and was beginning to enjoy myself when everything was cut short, and so soon?
I remember in 2007 when I played Crysis, I was disappointed that the game did not end the way Far Cry did. Far Cry had twenty levels of mayhem – Crysis, only eleven, with no visible ending in sight. Of course, if it had ended then Crysis 2 which in my opinion was a totally friggin’ amazing piece of gaming would not have been invented, so I guess a ‘thank you’ needs to go out to Crytek for doing what they did, and the franchise would additionally not be continuing on for a third time next year.
My point? And I do have one, is that what once was gaming has changed. This change is not as elaborate as the updated graphics or the famous voice over actors or the change in developers or even the wild and frantic fun that occurs during game play. No, it is money, and I do not mean the large allotments that we, the gamers fork out every year. With Darksiders 2, Far Cry 3 and halo 4 I’m looking to lose two hundred and seventy five dollars at the least, but that is not what concerns me. It is the greed of the industry that does. I remember once, which seems so long ago now, when I could walk into a store, pick up a game box, shake it up and down and hear the disc and the booklet jiggling around on the inside. Now, when I pick up a box and shake it – all I hear is the rising and the falling of the dividend.
Also, many games don’t even come with booklets anymore, another feature gone. Some companies might say they are saving the lungs of the Earth, but what they are really saving is the money they have accumulated from such a massive market.
Adjunctively size, and I do not mean yet again in the length of the game, but the amount of bytes it takes up on your machine as dramatically changed. I remember back in the day with Quake and Hexen which were unanimously a couple MEGABYRES each. I remember how I was unsure at the best of times as to what storage device to put them on – My Documents? Or C? Back in the day the computer only had a 1 gigabyte system so every megabyte spent actually meant something. Quite ridiculous when I come to think about it cuz now a days games are anywhere between 16 to 24 GIGABYTES each! To think back in the day I had to delete one of my games as to have the other installed onto the system cuz there just wasn’t enough space. Now, I have a cool terabyte of space and a portable terabyte which can be used to install all manner of programs onto, so space is never an issue. Back in the day there were around maybe three games on my computer at any given time. Now, there is at least twenty times that amount on my gaming computer alone, not to mention the amount of titles I have on XOBOX 360 and PS3.
Additionally, I remember when gaming was considered weird. Back when the first game was developed by some ‘nerd’ some might say, who thought ‘you know, I could write a program for that computer’ people probably though him to be insane (there was only one well known woman involved in gaming back all those years ago, so calling the guy a ‘him’ is not maliciously sexist). The gaming companies were tiny, I mean, look at Id! What was it? Between six and twelve people were involved in developing Doom, which is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in gaming history – the game that changed it all. Now, there are hundreds of people per company, not to mention everyone else required for the job. And those who played them? Who were they? I’ll tell you! Freaks! Losers! That is what I was branded by my peers and I’m sure others were too. Only a select few participated in playing games back in the early to late nineties. I played my first game was I was only three, when many of my peers were running around the backyard slapping the tap with a plastic spanner, hoping to be the next best plumber. I graduated from learning games like Chess to Heretic, then to Doom, Doom 2, Hexen, Hexen DK, Quake, and so on and so forth. I remember playing games at school, where the teachers prowled the arenas of the learning environment with massive sticks up their arses, hoping to catch that bad student and really make ‘em pay! Right under their noses we played multiplayer matches of Quake and Doom, and later Heavy Gear and Alien vs. Predator. Then in High School, we graduated to playing Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament and Counter Strike, kicking ass in the computer pod, and as soon as the teachers arrived like clockwork, so friggin’ predictable they all were… we had already minimised the game and proceeded with the boring assignment we had been tasked to complete. I remember the girls shaking their heads at us, incapable of understanding how we could be enjoying ourselves whilst staring into a mindless box, whilst now a days they play COD with their boyfriends, well, when their boyfriends get bored from dying so friggin’ often of course. But not all teachers and students were so defiant in their beliefs that we were the freaks. I remember by Media teacher in Year Eleven, he comes in – and he busts us for the first time! He yells at one student, telling him to go back and slave away on his project, and once the student leaves? He sat down in his spot and began to play Counter Strike with us! He had no idea where to put the bomb, and it was funny to call him a ‘dumb cunt’ and have him not know who said it. But it was in this same period of time that others began to play, and play, and play, and as the more gamers entered our world and crowded it with their desires, the game developers began to change the way they made them; they became shorter; more expensive; and money and big business inevitably destroyed the one organisational organism that was yet to be touched by the hand of organisational greed.
‘So long’ I said to my first great, faithful love, of whom I had plucked from my desk when I was but three and had grown to make sweet, passionate love to on a frequent basis. ‘So long my lovely. I will miss you.’ And just like that, like the many women who had broken my heart over the years, the one I had loved the most was gone – replaced by the new and considered ‘improved’ version, who wanted money and lots of it in replace for a shortened amount of fun.
So is it really a good thing that there are more gamers? If gaming was still unpopular amongst the masses do you think games would be so short and expensive? Or was it but an inevitability?
I prefer the old ways. But the graphics of today and the experiences we have, with characters the likes of Commander Sheperd, Master Chief, the Little Sisters, Alma Wade, Captain Price, Sergeant Fenix, all of it, are absolutely irreplaceable.
So is it a case of take the good with the bad? Perhaps. But like I said, I only wish that maybe it were still less popular. Now, there are so many gamers, and the time when I stood alone in a room, knowing I was unique and different because when I got home I would kill hordes of mutants and horrific alien enemies intent on our destruction – whilst everyone else would go play backyard soccer and maybe even work and do other, you know, boring things. That time has passed, I know, and I have adapted, but the pain is still there.
Damn the changing gaming industry. I only hope you continue to make me happy for the rest of my life. Unlike all the other people I love today (excluding my parents) from my Celeb crushes, to the young woman at university I wish I could confess my feelings towards, you might be the one I will never fall out of favor with, as long as you never fall out of favor with me. I love you with all my heart video game world. Now please, do not break it once again, for if you change again, I only hope it is into something far more beautiful than what you are now. Hugs and kisses to you.
This is Naughty Nefarious, signing off.