A Personal Paradigm Shift
I’ve noticed it before. Heck, I’ve even casually mentioned it here before, but last night slammed me with a full realization about something that’s changed in my life.
I used to play virtually every “really good” game out there. That’s across most genres; I never really got into sports games (how shocking), but most any other game genre I enjoyed playing. If you go to any reasonable list of the “best” games of whenever (1980s…90s…2000s…ever), I’ve probably played 90% or more of the top 10.
My point here isn’t bragging rights; it’s about my motivation. I liked to play games – any game – every game.
Something’s changed, though. I’ve said before I’m not really that interested in games any more that don’t offer some form of co-op. During the Steam Sale, my buddy and I found that every game he’s willing to play (his tastes are much more narrow than mine) that had a co-op, we already owned. I ended up buying 2 sale games: RAGE and Metro 2033. Both have interesting settings that would normally intrigue me greatly, but as neither have a real co-op mode, I just can’t get into them.
Whether or not a game has co-op and how well designed it is often occupies my first interest when reading a review. Before I even look at how fun a game is, I check its co-op. This behavior is really quite telling.
Last night, though, I got the proverbial fish-slap to the face. After “suffering” through the first part of the week, when people’s schedules were quite incompatible, everyone in my gaming group was available to play The Secret World at a reasonable hour. We did a couple of missions, and then got the notice that the servers were going down for three hours. We groaned and bitched and moaned, but it’s not like there was anything we could do. Instead, we just hung out on vent and chatted about a variety of topics, searching the Internet for sites and looking up topics of discussion.
One of my buddies mentioned a card game “Cards against Humanity,” which is like a crude, offensive Apples to Apples. Let me warn you it’s both probably not safe for work as well as potentially offensive if you have issues that you get offended about. We spent about half an hour in the “card research lab” just reading combos over vent trying to make each other laugh.
Clearly, TSW was just a reason to get together and hang out. That’s a big change from my WoW raiding days, a big change from my Star Wars “get to max level and finish it” days. Even my buddy, I think, is beginning to slow down and not rush through the content. I talked with my other friend about that, and our theory is that since the only real “finish” to the game is getting every single ability, which takes about 10,000 ability points, our buddy simply can’t process a number that far in the future and is stopping to smell the secret roses.
It’s a nice change, I guess, but I wonder what really precipitated it. I wonder if it was just a loss of interest in end-game due to over-saturation in WoW. Perhaps it’s just getting older, but there’s plenty of hard-core gamers at my age, so that doesn’t feel like it holds much water. Perhaps it’s just my time in video games, which is easily 20,000 hours (I did the math in another post, but now I can’t find it). Maybe it’s moving away from NYC and not getting to see my buddies in person very often any more.
Likely, it’s a combination of each, but whatever the case, single player’s just not holding my attention any more. I’ve mentioned before that I’m excited to see what new genre pops up to replace MMOs (not that I’m rooting against them – I’m not, but the future is so exciting). We’re past due, if you look at the development of new genres in video games (it’s a new genre sweeping the world about every 5 years*), but I bet it’s going to be a multiplayer-inclusive genre, as well. That’s the thing about new genres, though; you can’t really predict what they’ll be like.
How about you, dear reader; have you found your gaming paradigms shifting?
Stubborn (and sliding)
*This is a totally made up number based on my impressions of how often new types of games (arcade/text, platformers, Rpg/point-and-click adventure, FPS/4x, MMO…?) come along.