The gaming world has changed: videogames come on round, shiny things called ‘discs;’ a small Korean child playing thousands of miles away can whip your ass at Starcraft II; Resident Evil is now an action-packed, bullet-soaked extravaganza; HD graphics have rendered the outside world obsolete; gamers now love EA and hate Activision.
Yes, sir, the world has changed, and you can either nobly roll with the punches and embrace the future or sit in your favorite comfy, moth-bitten chair and bitch, bitch, bitch. These are some of the topics in gaming today that make old people feel cold and frightened.
New-Fangled Watchamajig: Dark or desaturated visuals
Curmudgeonly Gamer Says: ‘’I demand all adult shooters, survival horror and post-apocalyptic games cease using dark or oppressive color schemes because it makes me feel sad.’’
Above: Fallout 3 by Rare
Open-Mind Gamer Says: Just as they do with sound design and voice acting, game developers use art direction to evoke in players the appropriate emotion. Yes, a lot of recent games have trended towards grimy, gritty and grey-ish color palettes, but only because they are grimy, gritty and grey-ish experiences themselves. Would Fallout 3 be effective if it looked like Viva Pinata? Should Megaton’s Nuke explosion have resulted in a billion candy pieces raining from the sky? Actually...
New-Fangled Watchamajig: Premium content
Curmudgeonly Gamer Says: ‘’Back in my day, we took a belt to the boy who bought clothes for his doll like you young-uns do with your avatars.’’
Above: This house belongs to Brian, aged 44
Open-Minded Gamer Says: Paid-for bonuses that unlock, for example, all of Skate 3’s features immediately (the ‘Time is Money’ pack) or let you deck out your Oblivion horse or Mass Effect 2 love interest in garish apparel may be tittersome attempts by publishers to supplement their product (at best) and tasteless grabs for our cash (at worst), but we sure wouldn’t like to live in a society where choice is discouraged. If premium perks someday gave online gamers an edge, favoring the man with the most money, we wouldn’t complain; isn’t that what life/WoW is about anyway?
Above: World of Warcraft gold farmers – what life is about
New-Fangled Watchamajig: Gamestop/Gamestation Pre-Order Exclusives
Curmudgeonly Gamer Says: ‘’You can’t bribe me, Mr. Retailer. It’s my choice if I want to dedicate the spare change I have after buying computer games on liquorice and trouser braces.’’
Opening-Minded Gamer Says: In a competitive market, rival companies compete for consumers’ money by offering incentives. This is true everywhere, from supermarkets to phone tariffs. Why do we feel threatened when game retailers start following the same practices? Rather than see pre-order bonuses as content you’re getting screwed out of if you don’t put your name on a list, see it as that – a bonus. And if some golden-Lancer-wielding Gears of War 2 soldier makes you ashamed of that rusty shit you’re holding, guess you should’ve pre-ordered it.
Above: ‘’I SHOULD HAVE PRE-ORDERED IT!!!!’
New-Fangled Watchamajig: DLC
Curmudgeonly Gamer Says: ‘’Used to be, games ended when they ended. Spend my pension on post-release content that the developers devilishly cut from the product? Good day, sir!’’
Above: ‘’Hmm, what to charge for Halo Reach’s next map pack...’’
Open-Minded Gamer Says: God forbid the people behind games plan ahead. Mass Effect 2’s excellent story-led missions like Lair of the Shadow Broker, or Halo Reach’s multiplayer map packs weren’t afterthoughts, appearing as sudden brainwaves in the hive minds of BioWare and Bungie as the game was sent out to retailers - that sort of lackadaisical planning would prevent DLC arriving for about a year after you’ve finished with the game. Fact: All quality DLC is pre-conceived.