I spent this past weekend post graduation at my friend’s house waiting for a Monday job interview. This of course means that Sunday night was a rare chance for me to play some 360, and this time there was only one choice as to what I was pulling off his his bookshelf; Gears of War.
What I played of the game was pretty fun – I think – but that’s not what I’m here to discuss. The thing on my mind is page one of the instruction manual. You probably don’t know what I’m talking about, even if you own the game (no one reads manuals but me right?), but it contains an introduction to the game by Cliffy B. He goes on about how it has great AI and physics and graphics, but mostly discusses what he did to create a truly “next-generation” game.
This little, one page essay genuinely bothered me. I’m sure it got a lot of gamers excited to play. After all, for once someone’s talking to us. Someone in the industry understands what we want!
But really I think it’s part of the problem. The same problem that creates all of those “hardcore” gamers who are scared of casual players and simple games, the problem that creates films like Grandma’s Boy and people who use the term “SKU” but don’t work in inventory. It creates an inbred, festering hive of a community where no one outside of it knows what the hell is going on. If we really want people to understand our hobby, is it really a good idea to use a term like “next generation’ in the documentation for an actual game?
If a popular movie came out on DVD with an insert that discussed the wonderful use of mise-en-scene, and a bunch of film majors started lauding the decision and the product, we’d laugh our asses off at them.
What makes gamers any different?