As I mentioned in my post about the 3DS, I feel as though my interest in video games has sharply declined over the past year. I recall feeling the same way a year ago, as well. However, when Final Fantasy XIII came out, those feelings went away. Why? It was probably because I found something that I wanted to play. However, that cannot be the correct answer. I own several games that I want to play (Tales of Vesperia, Eternal Sonata, Fable II), but can’t bring myself to play them. I think that this may be due to a general lack of interest in modern gaming.
I say “modern” gaming because, well, I find that I do not have an issue with wanting to play older games. In fact, I’ve been playing through Final Fantasy VIII with my wife over the past couple of weeks, and am planning on playing Final Fantasy VII again sometime after that. And, before Final Fantasy VIII, we played Final Fantasy IV (original SNES version) as well as various old PC adventure games (Kyrandia series, Tex Murphy series, and Space Quest series), all over the past six to twelve months.
So, while I say that my interest in video gaming has declined, I suppose the more correct statement would be to say that my interest in modern gaming has declined. Of course, there are some exceptions to that statement: first-party Nintendo titles, various Wii games, DS games and 3DS games. I find that Nintendo’s systems and games somehow still keep me interested. Is it because Nintendo’s games are generally made to appeal to a younger audience? Actually, while most people think this, I tend to believe that Nintendo’s games are made to appeal to everyone, not just kids. So, this could be an explanation as to why Nintendo’s products are still appealing to me.
Another reason why modern gaming isn’t appealing to me is because of the online aspects of modern gaming. Most games released these days have a major online/multiplayer component. I grew up playing almost entirely single-player games, with the exception of Super Mario Kart and Super Bomberman versus modes. I found the versus modes in those games to be a blast. However, a big reason as to why I found these versus modes to be a blast was because of who I was playing the game with. I could see how online gaming could be fun if you played the game with someone in the same room, but then you would require TWO consoles and TWO copies of the same game. Does local multiplayer even exist anymore in most games? I know that most Nintendo Wii titles have local multiplayer. I suppose just don’t feel like playing a game with someone whom I don’t know or can’t see. This was also a big issue I had with World of Warcraft; while I loved the game (at the time), I just couldn’t get into raiding, which is the major multiplayer component of the game.
The last reason as to why modern gaming isn’t appealing to me is because of the games. Most games that are released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 these days are violent single-player action games or first person shooter games. I actually hesitate to call these titles “games” because, to me, they aren’t real games. I can’t understand why anyone would want to waste their time and money playing them. Take Homefront, for example. The game got mediocre reviews at best, yet everyone on my Twitter feed was rushing out to buy it. Why? Because it’s a first-person shooter? How does that justify buying a mediocre game? And, after playing the game, they usually complained about how short the game was and how they wished they would have just rented the game. Why is it that crappy first-person shooter games like these sell, other than the fact that they’re popular with the kiddies? Why do people like these games in the first place? I just don’t get it.
I’m an RPG guy. However, I believe that that term has been confused and transformed into something else in modern gaming. Most so-called “RPGs” these days actually aren’t RPGs. Mass Effect is considered to be an RPG. In reality, Mass Effect is simply a third-person shooter with a leveling system. Dragon Age is also considered an RPG when it is actually just a crossover between a hack-n-slash and a real-time strategy game. And Fallout 3/Vegas? Also not an RPG. Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist when it comes to RPGs, but when I think of RPGs, I think of old-school turn-based games like Dragon Warrior/Quest. There’s actually only one modern game that I can think of that has actually been worthy of the RPG label: Lost Odyssey on the Xbox 360. This game is a shining example of how modern RPGs should be made.
I suppose I have made my case as to why modern gaming is not appealing to me. Based upon the current trend in modern gaming, I most likely will not be purchasing the next Xbox or PlayStation console. I most likely will purchase the next Nintendo console, but probably not on launch day (like I did with the Wii, DS, and 3DS) unless there is a game that I have to play.
TL/DR version: Modern gaming sucks (except for Nintendo) and older games rule.
This ends my rant (or whatever this is). Thank you for taking the time to read it. :)
EDIT: ChocoboMoshpit (Twitter, Tumblr) pointed me to an article at Gizmodo that was posted today. The author, Leigh Alexander, discusses the reasons why she no longer loses herself in games. It’s a great read, and she actually hits a few points that I missed when writing this post. You can find the article here. (I had planned to write more in response to this article, but I don’t have the time right now.)