I was asked to write a retrospective of sorts, about myself as a gamer. How I have changed in my time as a writer for this site. It isn’t terribly easy, as at first glance it seems to me that nothing changed at all. I still play a lot of games, of many different genres. But I have changed, most of it in the last year. It has been slow, but certain, and I know that it is only going to progress.
I’m not sure if I like the future gamer that I will be. I’m not sure I even like the gamer I am now. Maybe talking it out will fix things (or maybe I’m just becoming a gurrrrrrl).
When I first joined vl, my company allegiances were something along the lines of “Love Nintendo and Sega, like Microsoft, grudgingly forced to follow Sony.” Now, it would look like “Like Nintendo, frustrated with post Dreamcast Sega, love Microsoft, like Sony two out of three times.” To put it the long way…
– I still don’t know how Sega screwed up so many great opportunities.
– A year after the Wii, I am not completely convinced. I’ve played an average of one Wii game every two or three months, and that’s not enough. I know I would have played more if I had more money to spend throughout this time, but it would have mostly been thanks to the Virtual Console, and that isn’t exactly why I bought into the dream. I still believe it will get better in 2008, but this wave of shovelware is as about as far from the Nintendo Seal of Quality as I ever would have imagined since the days of the NES, the last time that it meant so very little.
– Microsoft really followed through. The 360 is everything that is wrong with gaming once you see its marketplace advertisements as soon as you boot up the console. Then you have to decide just what it is you want to play, and you realize that it is also everything right. It has changed what I expect from a console.
– Sony could have avoided their entire PS3 fiasco with just a few small changes and just a little bit of humility. I have no sympathy for their end results. At the same time, I am impressed with how well they managed to do with the PS2. My library for the console is as good as for any other. And I honestly enjoy the PSP as much as the DS, and it pains me to see every snarky comment about how the handheld has no games. Whether it be their own doing or the market power they have, Sony is still able to provide quality games for their consoles, provided they make a platform for a reasonable price and modest developer support. In these last few years, we didn’t lose Sony, but they were knocked down a peg after years of seeming invulnerability. That’s pretty good in my book.
My tastes in gaming have done something of a 360, and I do mean to use that measure of degrees. Before, I liked both Japanese and Western games. These days, I like Japanese and Western games. The difference comes in what I peruse from each side of the pond. I used to love the Japanese blockbusters, but I found myself changing from absolutely loving the biggest games from Nintendo and Capcom, to just liking them. Instead I opted for more and more niche titles, such as God Hand (not a Capcom blockbuster), Bumpy Trot and Persona 3. At the same time, I stopped looking for small time western games (mainly on PC) and embraced the blockbusters. Halo, Call of Duty, you name it. If I had to explain the change, it is that Japan’s niche games often best exemplify the creativity and hidden depth of Japanese design, while the best of the West have a better chance of giving me a AAA experience without hassling me. They both get it wrong sometimes, but all in all it has worked out.
My tastes are still shifting and narrowing. I love fighting games more than ever. I have a growing love of ‘schmups. I have experimented with racing games, and started playing online some more. I am tired of hype, tired of fanboy reactions to hype (both for and against it), tired of Nintendo cruft on their premiere games. I don’t understand how dumb online news and online gaming have made people. I am starting to dislike my favorite companies (ie Harmonix), and come up with strange reasons for judging games.
I’m starting to not give a shit about the constant news barrage, the politics, and the pissing matches. I want to play a handful of great games and leave it at that. No matter how much I say this, I cannot stop.
I used to think we should all share ideas and leave it at that. Now there’s a good chance I might just think you are flat out wrong.
What have I learned? I like this hobby way too much.