Ever since I started playing video games way
back in my youth, I knew that I would always be playing games. My first system
being a SNES when I was seven or so simply added fuel to the inevitable fire
which was to burn in my soul for all time. Of course, I consequently bought a
Nintendo 64 and GameCube, but recently I donít find myself enjoying games as
much, a saddening result of my aging self.
The most obvious theory to my not enjoying games as much as in the past would be
that my tastes have become refined over the years Ė I can tell the difference
between an innovative genre-bending title and a cheap rip-off. In the day of the
SNES, everything was in 2D, and most games (to me) dealt with shooting while
platforming. Looking back, most of the games I enjoyed were essentially the
same, while a couple stuck out (Contra, for one). These days, other than the
games I buy (which are worth playing), the ones I rent arenít half as fun as
those of the past Ė I can smell garbage before laying my hands on the
controller. Perhaps Iím too picky, or perhaps Iím an educated gamer, but it
certainly hurts my gaming experience on a whole. Playing games for review, or
basically for a living, may sound amusing at first, but the concept is for the
most part a painful experience Ė imagine wading through game after game, each
letting you down one by one. Of course, there are a couple pearls amidst a sea
of despair, but they simply do not outweigh the pain of playing through
countless games simply not worth my time.
Playing games over so many years has obviously fine-tuned my gaming abilities. I
can bust out some sweet combos in Killer Instinct or Street Fighter, or race a
record lap in Mario Kart. The downside to all of this is that I blast through
games much too quickly. Coupled with my limited attention span, a game that
would have warranted my gaming dollar when I was seven could now only be worth a
penny or two. Who would buy a game that could be beat in five hours the first
time through? Itís especially tough with developers cranking out estimated
play-through times, some being as ridiculous as 30 hours for Luigiís Mansion.
Games need to constantly introduce new techniques, enemies, characters and
basically anything to keep my attention. They also need to be long Ė and more
importantly the ride should be enjoyable, as in NOT a couple hundred random
battle sequences that have me mashing a single button, or playing through a game
23 times to unlock all secret characters.
Another problem with aging is that I have much less time to play games. School,
especially, taking up the majority of my attention limits my playtime. I rarely
get a whole day to myself, my ĎCube, and a fine game. I donít necessarily forget
about what games Iím playing, but I certainly do lose interest as I play less
and less due to interfering responsibilities. Sure, thatís only during the
semester, but during summer a job certainly hurts, in addition to non-gamer
friends wanting to go out every night. Still, it is possible to play games
regularly, but like an ignored girlfriend, she slowly slips away, and in turn my
gaming backlog has outgrown any hope of being resolved.
Like insecure women worried about their looks, what can gamers do to turn back
the clock? After much thinking, I have come to the conclusion that there is no
real cure Ė all I could recommend is to stick with a healthy diet consisting of
great games of varying genres, and feed regularly. Have faith, gamers.