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Old 10-03-2011, 10:27 PM   #1
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Gaming Cynicism - Where did our Enthusiasmn go?

Just cutting to the chase here, in the last couple months it seems like the number of people crying out in despair over the gaming industry and everything it does is growing into a tide of almost unbelievable proportions. An almost fanatical hatred crops up the moment a game is announced that doesn't fit exactly with some phantom expectation. It is not criticism that seems to be occurring. I myself hammer some games, even ones I love. Its the ultimate overload of cynicism that is present and pervades many posts.
Where did our enthusiasm go?

We live in an incredible time.
I will repeat that, we live in an incredible time. For the first time ever 3 consoles have achieved phenomenal success, PC gaming is arguably on a dramatic rise, streaming game services offer people PC-like experiences on home tv's, and digital distribution unlocks us from physical media like never before.

Yet even in the best of times, we are drilled with posts of people watching a video for a game and saying "it sucks", reading that the next big game won't have multi-player and its terrible, finding out that a developer moved away from a team and "its over".

Of course for some things we have a valid reason to complain and be critical. Large companies do things we don't like and are not fair, DLC is a key and not data to be downloaded, beta's come out that are ultimately not what we expected. But these are at least concrete things that can be seen and pointed at and experienced. Rightful of all criticism we unleash at them. Yet we consistently complain about the unknown, about the far future, about a game release that doesn't fit our naming convention. But is that the majority, is that enough to NOT be excited?

I saw a post from Heretic Machine about going to a midnight gaming release and encouraged him to go. Its an amazing thing that games have achieved book/movie status in that way.

Now I admit I like some shitty games so all this could be in my head. I can name probably 100 that received 60% or less on some random dudes scoreboard. A random dude who's only difference from me is that he has a website and probably is even more jaded. And there are indeed some bad games out there, some dirty deals, and some rotten to the core people. But it sure does seem that for many the hope is gone, that expectations of the terrible outweigh hopes for the awesome.

So what say you COG?

Where the fuck did the Enthusiasm go? Why are you jaded? Why do you think you are not? What are you expecting from big companies realistically? Why do you think we live in an excellent, or terrible, time?

FYI, this is something I have been thinking about for months. Nothing recent brought it on but time, and cleaning up my desk so I could post in the "Mancave" thread.

Good night all.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:30 PM   #2
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I'm not jaded. I'm just poor and sour grapes is the easiest way to get over the fact that I can't buy all these great games.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:32 PM   #3
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This is a fascinatingly useful argument for feeling better than other people, but not particularly convincing beyond that purpose.

I criticize bad things because they are bad. It is as simple as that.

Without criticism, there is no change. If people like you ran the world we'd still be living in mud huts, because hey, life is pretty great, no one has died of parasites in at least 4 years!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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This is a fascinatingly useful argument for feeling better than other people, but not particularly convincing beyond that purpose.

I criticize bad things because they are bad. It is as simple as that.

Without criticism, there is no change. If people like you ran the world we'd still be living in mud huts, because hey, life is pretty great, no one has died of parasites in at least 4 years!
Criticism is wonderful. But before the game is out, before anything is known...As I stated, hands on is different than a random trailer. If you are able to find out something is bad before touching it...that is a unique trait, but not wholly what this conversation is about, though a piece.

But thanks for the pleasantness!

If people like you ruled the world you would dose it in water just because you were worried about fire. See, the same goes both ways.
I am sure you can see a middle ground yes? Additionally, if you read above, you would see I said that if something is bad it is bad. As evidenced by people's experiences with it.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:42 PM   #5
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Criticism is wonderful. But before the game is out, before anything is known...As I stated, hands on is different than a random trailer. If you are able to find out something is bad before touching it...that is a unique trait, but not wholly what this conversation is about, though a piece.

But thanks for the pleasantness!

If people like you ruled the world you would dose it in water just because you were worried about fire. See, the same goes both ways.
I am sure you can see a middle ground yes? Additionally, if you read above, you would see I said that if something is bad it is bad. As evidenced by people's experiences with it.
It is perfectly acceptable to criticize known details if those known details are worthy of criticism.

You have also failed to understand the argument. I am talking about progress.

Humanity exists as it does now because of it's relentless dissatisfaction with the state of the world. Nothing is ever good enough, because perfection is impossible, and that is a good thing. It is what prevents us from ever settling for "good enough", what prevents things from worsening, and what drives us constantly forward.

Barring some unfortunate lulls in human development, it has almost always been a truism to say that mankind is better off now than it has ever been. That's called progress. Which is precisely why using this very fact as an argument against criticism is so hollow.

You are using a truism that is founded on that criticism to condemn it, which is as silly as it is paradoxical, and hardly sufficient grounds to stand in judgment and superiority to your fellow man.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:48 PM   #6
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It is perfectly acceptable to criticize known details if those known details are worthy of criticism.

You have also failed to understand the argument. I am talking about progress.

Humanity exists as it does now because of it's relentless dissatisfaction with the state of the world. Nothing is ever good enough, because perfection is impossible, and that is a good thing. It is what prevents us from ever settling for "good enough", what prevents things from worsening, and what drives us constantly forward.

Barring some unfortunate lulls in human development, it has almost always been a truism to say that mankind is better off now than it has ever been. That's called progress. Which is precisely why using this very fact as an argument against criticism is so hollow.

You are using a truism that is founded on that criticism to condemn it, which is as silly as it is paradoxical, and hardly sufficient grounds to stand in judgment and superiority to your fellow man.
I didn't fail to see the argument, I just wasn't clear why you had not fully read what I wrote and that you had actually agreed with me on various points but seemed to want to turn it all into an all or nothing deal. Which anyone can see it is not, and I wrote clearly the positives and negatives of the situation.

But its obvious where you stand and I am all for free thought, whatever that may be. I will let some others get in and post their ideas.
Thanks it was good to hear your opinion.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:51 PM   #7
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I'm not jaded. I'm just poor and sour grapes is the easiest way to get over the fact that I can't buy all these great games.
I will admit that some of my dislike at first for the SNES was this
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:56 PM   #8
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My apologies, it's just that "we live in a fantastic time" thing really bugs me because it gets things so fundamentally backwards. The Louis CK quote people like to sling about kinda pisses me off. Yes, it's important to maintain perspective, but that doesn't mean just clamming up and keeping your head down.

I might also suggest that any particular rise in criticism might just be because things actually do kinda suck right now, not just in gaming, but in the real world in general, and that general mood bleeds through.

People are broke, annoyed at their government, depressed, disenfranchised, and on top of it, it seems like the last couple of years the people who run the mainstream part of this industry have spent more time and effort finding new ways to rip their customers off than on their actual games' development.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:09 PM   #9
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Information overload, extended lead times, competition and, most of all, HYPE. The Internet being a breeding ground for whining doesn't help either.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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I think there is some middle ground to be had. Pretending the bad doesn't exist is foolish, and pretending it's all bad is equally foolish. We've had some phenomenal games recently and some terrible ones. Though focusing on what you enjoy is certainly more likely to make you happier. I'm not advocating sticking your head in the sand, criticism and dissatisfaction can be wonderful motivators for change. When all you do is complain though, you accomplish nothing and feel like shit to boot.

You should call things like you see them, but try to keep in mind that you might just be crapping all over someone.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:38 PM   #11
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I don't know, man. I was always critical about games, yes, but I wasn't always so cynical. I used to play all sorts of games and look for the good in the bad, and now I just use the bad as an excuse to save myself some time. I guess I grew up, got a full time job and aspirations to go to grad school and then lost the luster to blow free time on video games at some point. With the luster went the enthusiasm. And now I just find it easier to complain about video games than actually enjoy them.
I can see that actually being a pretty heavy motivator, time, family, and so forth.
I guess for me, I just have to experience it myself. A trailer can't sell me, or not sell me, a story from someone can't totally sway me or not totally sway me. But when I make a decision to rent or buy, my experience and review of something is based on hands on experience. Seems like so many websites, so many people, are just LOOKING to crush things instantly without having any experience with something at all. I admit I am critical about many games I love, but not cynical about them, despite their issues.

I admit I just love games so there is that too. A bit childish? Oh absolutely, and I really would not have it any other way.

As J said, the world is a pretty depressing place and in a pretty depressing time right now, and that spills into everything.
For some reason instead of letting that bleed into games, they have become this awesome place where, when I find one I can enjoy parts of, its fucking just insane happiness man.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:39 PM   #12
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I don't know if this was Karak's intent, but I don't think the problem is criticism. It's the utter cynicism. The vitriol that comes with the criticism. It's the complete pessimism shrouding every announcement. It's not just a wet towel, it's shitty.
It is actually. And I am editing the post to reflect as much. I sort of stated it a couple times but the two words, for many people go hand in hand without any gates to stop them. I thought it was clear but its for sure not.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:40 PM   #13
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We live in a time of such dishonesty and stupidity that just about everything is going backwards, rapidly. Were it not for digital distribution and the boon it's been for smaller devs who give a shit about what they do we'd be living in a wasteland of broken software and cheap knockoffs of already terrible committee made games.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:51 PM   #14
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I'm still into gaming and, hey, the Vita looks badass. Plus the PS3/360 still keeps me pretty satisfied on that front. I am becoming increasingly cynical about touch screen gaming and the iOS space though.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:53 PM   #15
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I think a lot of it has to do with aging. We, as a community, are pretty mature. Some of you are downright hickory smoked.

When we were kids, picking something up because of box art and playing the shit out of it happened. I don't care what era you grew up in, it's something we all did at one time or another. TV spots, magazine ads, all of these things fed into our decision making process.

Now here's the twist: I don't think it's the internet that changed everything. I think we just grew up a little.

Go into a Gamestop and wait long enough and you'll still see kids pick up shitty games because of box art or a friend told them about them. And they're thrilled! And if the game doesn't suck on top of that? It probably just made their week. I think growing up changed has changed our expectations about things.

Edit: I may be a little naive.

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Old 10-03-2011, 11:57 PM   #16
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I'm jaded, because in the old days, games were a thing of wonder (more or less). As a kid, I couldn't think of anything more neat than the fact that my father's copy of Ultima VI came with a moonstone and a cloth map, on top of the manual. Buying a new game was always a great adventure, because you didn't really know what to expect. The internet wasn't so easily accessible, and information about video games was almost always word-of-mouth.

Now, we're just absolutely drowned in a sea of information. Project confirmations, official announcements, the first few rounds of bullshot imagery, rumor mills, teaser trailers, official trailers, launch trailers, DLC announcements, and then the drama that comes from warring publishers, piracy, etc.

Not to mention, that the quality of the user experience has all but evaporated. When I was seven, a moonstone and cloth map inside of a video game box was cool as hell. Most of the manuals for my NES games were fully illustrated, very explanatory, and written in a way that says "We made this game for you to have fun, it was an endeavor of love." Game franchises these days are nothing more than metaphorical sponges -- how much money can we physically wring out of this property before we reach the point of diminishing returns? It's less about making a really great game, and really satisfying the people who play our games than it is about telling you how much you want to buy our game. And we want you to buy it every single year for the next several years. Oh? You're tired of paying $60 for a simple roster update? Tough cookies. Do you want to be the only kid on the block who isn't playing the newest edition? What are you, gay? Your friends will think so unless you drop $60 for something that is 95% unchanged since the last time you bought it.

The last game I bought had a slip of paper, an advertisement for something I don't care about, a six-page manual whose sole purpose is to provide me physical instructions on how to use it as well as my CD-key, and the disc itself.

Then there's the fact that there are so many horror stories of people actually working in the industry.

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Old 10-04-2011, 12:10 AM   #17
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I think a lot of Karak's point is that while everything you talk about is the case...there's also all this OTHER stuff. Not every game is Madden or CoD. In fact, it's safe to say that with all the amazing games being released now/early next year...games like that are not in the majority. So why focus on all the awful stuff when there's all this great stuff over here?
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:16 AM   #18
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I used to be with it. Now what it is is strange and frightening to me.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:42 AM   #19
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I think a lot of Karak's point is that while everything you talk about is the case...there's also all this OTHER stuff. Not every game is Madden or CoD. In fact, it's safe to say that with all the amazing games being released now/early next year...games like that are not in the majority. So why focus on all the awful stuff when there's all this great stuff over here?
Because a few years ago, it was expected that you pay $60 for a console game, because of licensing, or whatever. Now, the trend has moved towards most "blockbuster" games being $60. Because Activision got away with it with MW2 (I think, I don't really remember), everyone else thinks they can, and nobody complains.

How many of the amazing games being released now/early next year are new IPs? The gaming market is pretty stagnant.

Just because there are some good games does not mean that the situation is at equilibrium. I don't like that the general attitude of the gaming industry is to treat their customers like a group of thieves who will rob them blind given the opportunity. I don't like a lot of the mindset within the gaming industry at all. People like Activision's main talking head are just proof of what is wrong with the video game industry.

It doesn't help that I grew up, and no longer have the time to compete with 12-year olds in first-person shooters, nor the patience to deal with the fact that at any given moment, every single person in a game is having sex with my mother. I don't remember most gamers being complete assholes when I had more time to spend video gaming.

Oh, and another thing that completely grates on my nerves: retailer specific pre-order bonuses. I remember looking through a list of equipment for Mass Effect 2 (which, strangely, was actually really thin on equipment), and a shit ton of what was in the game was only available as pre-order bonuses from like, three or four different retailers. Fuck that with so many jars of shrapnel.

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Old 10-04-2011, 12:49 AM   #20
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I don't give a fuck that Prey 2 is a sequel, because it looks like everything I ever wanted in a video game as a kid. I will be buying it day 1 because it looks so good, and I don't care that it's 60 bucks.

I disagree that it's stagnant. There are so many leaps and bounds being made in gameplay, and you see a lot of it in sequels because devs have had time to work on the game and hone it. Look at all of the Assassin's Creed games! Look at how they changed the way characters in so many games get from place to place. And every iteration of the game gets better, and gaming as a whole is served because of it.
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