Gaming Cynic – I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. My usually jovial self will be taking a mental health day. Instead, I’ll be looking at everything in my life through a half empty glass. I’ll get over it, but my pissy mood wants to burn some bridges first.
Ok, I get it. You’re really excited for the unbelievable game that’s been in development for years. You’ve followed all the news, created a fan page or two and planned your vacation time around extended game play sessions. The release of this “Golden Game” is finally going to bring meaning to your life, assist you with finding your soul mate and help your parents to finally “get you.” Congratulations, it’s great that an entertainment medium can do so much for a person, too bad all those things can’t be achieved through other means.
Once the game is finally in your hands, you rush home, pop it into your favorite system and embark on the most anticipated journey of your life. However, something is wrong. The controls don’t feel right or the graphics are a bit “last generation.” Perhaps the game is made “unplayable” by bugs and glitches that were missed by what you feel is a lackadaisical testing process, more than likely a result of money saving activities connected to corporate greed. At best the game will require a couple of patches released over a course of a couple of days or weeks, at worst it was just a crappy game to begin with.
You mean there’s more to life than games?
In the real world, rational people deal with disappointment by sulking for a bit, realizing they probably shouldn’t have put all their eggs into one basket and then move on to something more important such as fostering children, earning money or helping the homeless. Gamers, on the other hand, are more heroic than rational people because they will never let anyone forget the travesty that is a disappointing game release. I mean, id shouldn’t be able to get away with releasing a game that didn’t quite meet expectations! That’d be like the southern states being allowed to continue hosing minorities. If no one stands up to these horrible developers and their over-hyping of games that they probably know will suck, then we might as well just give up our freedom and move to the USSR (hopefully the sarcasm has been spread thick enough, I know how you all like the jam to ooze out the side of your PB&Js, so I didn’t skimp in this metaphor).
Games, like movies, politicians and children are going to disappoint you at some point during your life because there is absolutely no way for anything to please everyone at all times (there are people in this world that hate cake, proof enough, my friends). The fact of the matter is, disappointment is a problem that is the result of your own frame of mind in relation to a product, person, etc. That’s why cynical people are actually a lot happier at times, their expectations are always met and/or exceeded.
You made me feel this way you corporate slimeballs!
People love to blame a publisher for false advertisement or over-hyping when the reality of the situation is that you’re stupid for buying into a product before you’ve had it in your hands. I know that money is tight for some of you, which is why it does suck when you’ve saved the little bit of scratch you do have for something that lets you down. The thing is, a bit of patience can go a long way. Despite how awesome your friends or forum competition thinks it is for you to own something on the day it’s released, you could easily wait a week for more varied reviews or a few months for the game to go on sale. People were up in arms about the Homefront review embargo, but being an intelligent person should have lead you to rethink a first day purchase on that game (I know that wouldn’t help pre-purchasers, but that purchasing strategy itself is pretty idiotic despite how many cool costumes you get for buying it early).
The funny thing is, this article wasn’t born of the games that were incredibly disappointing but of the ones that were off just a bit or were unfairly compared to other titles. This is best illustrated by what I refer to as the “Post Apocalyptic Expectation Theory,” which states: “any game with a post apocalyptic setting should have all the good qualities of the Fallout series without any of the bad ones.” Borderlands didn’t have a deep enough storyline despite having far better shooting mechanics, Rage focused too much on graphics even though that was the major complaint in reference to Fallout 3 and New Vegas (even those games were attacked for doing away with the turn based game play of their forefathers).
I’m more than happy to critique any of those games because they had their issues, but I also went into them with realistic expectations, as in: I didn’t assume they would be perfect. None of the aforementioned titles were horrible games, but you’d think they were by the reactions they got. Perhaps the game is more linear that you’d like, but does that make it a crappy experience if it is still fun? Either way, you’re spending precious gaming time to whine and time is money. No, you’re the wasteful one.
Social network uprising
I love to read complaints about games and the devastating effect it has on gamers because it makes my life look so much more fruitful (plus, Twitter and Facebook would probably have to rely solely on people describing their daily routines without that slice of whiny gamers). I mean, are you really that upset or are you just looking for attention? Being a person that is constantly in need of attention, I understand the feeling but there are better ways to achieve this and NOT look like person with an incredibly uneventful life (try a Michael Jackson dance off in a crowded bar, it works well as long as you can dance).
If we take all the time and effort we put into forum posts and comments on gaming sites, we could build another Great Wall or cure some kind of wide spread disease (assuming, of course, that the people complaining are doctors or architects). Here’s some advice: take the game that isn’t as good as you thought out of your gaming system, put it back in its cover and insert a game you do like. Problem solved.
I’m not perfect, I’ve probably gotten way too upset about a game but that is usually the result of alcohol or the mental illness that is slowly warping my perception of reality. Your life will not end because a game undershoots its goals and, if it does, then it’s probably for the best as you probably aren’t contributing much to humanity anyway (6 billion strong, we could use the extra oxygen).
Giant Bomb (images)