the games scene

I’m kind of over the games scene. I don’t play really play any major or AAA games anymore, and I have been thinking lately about why this is, and why it’s starting to not bother me anymore. I have pretty limited time these days with a job and family, so gaming has been put on the back burner. I absolutely do not have time for MMOs or any competitive online games, so there’s two entire sections of gaming that I just can’t participate in. I really enjoy RPGs, and they have been some of my favorite games growing up, but usually these games have 50+ hour time commitments just for the main story line, and can be in the hundreds of hours if you want to complete everything there is to do. At least these games are single player and can be tackled on my time frame. I do try and keep at least one RPG going at all times, even if I only get 30-60 minutes a day to play.

AAA games, and the whole industry that goes along with it, has started to feel stale to me too. I see why…it is a huge commitment for companies and studios to make big blockbuster games, and if they don’t succeed then they stand to lose a lot of money, possibly even facing closing down. So they don’t take risks, and reuse ideas and tropes that they know have worked in the past. And this works for most gamers too, because they get a product that they recognize and they know they’ll have as much fun with it as they did with last year’s version. I just don’t get the same satisfaction from it anymore.

Now here’s what I’m still trying to figure out for myself, since it feels a bit hypocritical: ‘stale & boring’ rehashes of last years AAA games are really un-fun for me. But recent indie games that capture the essence of games I played when I was a kid are some of my favorite games. So why do some games that borrow from past ideas feel boring and unimaginative, while others feel inspired and magical again? I guess it’s just your personal frame of reference as to what types of games you enjoy. The best example of a recent game that embodies past classics, to me, is Shovel Knight. I absolutely fell in love with this game, and didn’t even realize until a few levels in that it is Mega Man, for all intents and purposes. The core mechanics and structure of the game resemble on of the best series of games ever made, but brings it to the current generation with all the niceties we have today. I’m actually having a hard time finishing this post because I want to pick up my Vita and play more of this game…

I really didn’t want to write this much, but I have one more point I would like to bring up, and mention how this whole mindset affects me as a ‘developer’. To repeat what I have said before, game development is a hobby for me. I am not a great programmer, or designer, I just love games and love figuring out how things work. Being able to look at a game, figure out how it works, then try to rebuild it for myself just scratches an itch in my brain like nothing else. I love it. But I don’t see myself pursuing a career in games. Not only because I’m 31, which is ancient in the industry, and untrained, but because I wouldn’t want to lose the love I have for games. I think the most fun part is learning how something works, and my biggest struggle is coming up with an original idea. I feel imposter syndrome rear its ugly head from time to time. I also fear facing the wrath of the bad side of gamers. I have seen developers respond to the entire range of gamers, from those who love and appreciate the craft, to the entitled masses who demand everything for free. I don’t know if that’s something I want to face head on…

I’m at this perfect spot where I can just tinker when I want to on the projects that hook me at the moment, and I can dream about making a few bucks of something that I put out there. And with the wealth of self publishing tools out there today, it’s actually something that’s within my reach, even if it’s just a dream.

Written on June 27, 2015
Tagged: dev, rant