Everyone has that list of things that bug you about video gaming, the sequel syndrome, DLC overflow, etc. Having been a part of the media side of the industry for a while now I’ve developed a few of my own. These are things that I just can’t stand, and I’ll wholly admit that I might not always be fully educated on all the matters, but I think making five changes can help the gaming industry and community for the better.
Enough with the zombies
Ugh, I’m so tired of zombies! I’ll give one game free license to continue it, and that’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. It does it with style. But good grief, is there no other way to convey a sense of horror? As a programmer myself I’m pretty sure one draw (besides the easy money) is that zombies are dumb. Dumb zombies = simpler programming. Zombies don’t snipe you from across the map, they don’t have to drive cars, they don’t use jetpacks or solve puzzles. They just know one thing: braaaains! The idea of shotgunning the undead can be fun, but the market is outright over saturated right now.
How utterly childish. What are you teabaggers? Like 11? If you are, then you need to grow up. If you aren’t, well, grow up. I don’t know what goes through their minds; do they think it’s some sort of domination or defamation? Sorry, it just makes you look like an uneducated fool. And what most teabaggers don’t realize is that not every game syncs up ragdoll bodies over a network. So while on your machine you’re showing off your manliness, on mine you’re crouching on air. I know it’s falling on deaf ears, but it’s still an idiotic thing to do.
Terrible preorder bonuses
I’m realistic enough to realize that they’ll never go away, but sad preorder bonuses aren’t going to push me over to a day one purchase if I’m not sold on the game itself. A few good examples come to mind: Halo: Anniversary, which is just a Master Chief avatar outfit and a game-changing skull. It’s not that it’s unappealing to everyone, but enough of us, myself included, feel like half of that bonus is lame. I’ll be trading the avatar gear on Twitter, thank you. Forza 4 is another example. Even though it comes with five cars, only two interest me at all. How about five cars and an extra 50,000 in in-game cash so I can buy a car I actually want?
Frustrated XBLIG community
I understand that XBLIG devs work hard. I respect that, and appreciate everything they do. There are plenty of great games on the market, and they’re all 400 MSP or less. But it just irks me when the XBLIG development community gets upset about not making money. I know everyone wants to live out their dream of paying the bills as an independent developer, but the channel was never intended to be a money maker. The original name of the channel tells all: Xbox Live Community Games. It’s just an opportunity for weekend warriors to make a fun little game. What other console plays to your Average Joe any better? You can run your code natively on a stock 360, no devkit needed. Now I love Nintendo and Sony, but I don’t know of any sanctioned method of doing that on the Wii or PS3. I guess what I’m saying is that XBLIG isn’t, and never will be, a place to make enough money to pay the bills. It’s not intended to be that.
“Bobby Kotick (CEO of Activision) is evil!” “Microsoft is only about money!” “They purposely left [x] out of the game just to force us to pay for DLC!” Yes, yes, we get it. You’re mad at the world and you need someone to take it out on. I’m not knocking the occasional complaint–we all do that. It’s those people that jump on the popularity train and rail on “the man” in ignorance. For instance, is Kotick evil? No. Is he a shrewd businessman? You bet, that’s his job. Other people focus on actually making the games. As far as leaving something out for DLC later on, remember that games are sometimes completed months before release. What are the devs supposed to do until the next contract comes in? Twiddle their thumbs? Nope, they get to work on more content in the hopes that you like the core game enough to buy it.
Yeah, I know I’m complaining a bit myself. But I’m doing so in the hopes for something better. Maybe it’s because I’m over 30 (32, actually), but I remember a more blissful gaming populus back in the day. Is it the fact that I didn’t play online back then? Is it that sense of entitlement everyone seems to have? I don’t know, all I know is that it’s not surprising that we gamers are looked at as childish, bitter know-it-alls. Aren’t we better than that?
Images courtesy of Leicester ‘Zombie Walk’, The Simpsons, YouTube