Last updated: May 2017
From my well-known article "The "Gaming" Scam" (2015) and "Why Games are a Ripoff" (2016) comes this article, and it's all about video games' communities, marketing, and quality...or the severe lack of such.
As the years have gone by, games these days have become more and more uninteresting. Oh, alright, maybe I'm just an old fart, at least as far(t) as opinions go, but that's the way I see it. Even
two three four years ago, back in 2013, I was hesitant to buy games on Steam, because I was worried I wasn't going to like them. More on this coming up later.
Today, though, "hesitant" to buy games would be an understatement. Now, "opposed" describes me much better. The sad thing is, most people don't even seem to care about the quality of games declining. Instead, they continue to play games, buy games, and pre-order upcoming ones, only to be disappointed, and yet, somehow, at the same time, a lot of us remain oblivious to the fact that games' general quality is going down the drain.
Just like "smartphones", video games are an oversized market, containing an ever-increasing amount of flaws, that people attached to them simply ignore or deny. What's even more depressing, is how people fight over games to such extents, and people who judge others based on what games they play, or how well they play it. That's one thing that makes it a pain to play games, without keeping it a secret from everyone. Heck, worse yet, there's people who judge others on the fact that they play any game.
Are you calling me a hypocrite? If you are, then you missed the point of the article. I'm not calling out on specific people for playing any game, I'm calling out on how low-quality games have become, and, non-specifically, to people who deny this.
To survive in today's world, you need to be wise with your money, which involves avoiding unnecessary purchases. Are games necessary to purchase? Well, not as much as food and drink! This leads us to something else, though.
Just about anyone knows what at least was the perception of video games for so long: "they're for kids." This perception has slowly dissipated as the years have gone by, but, even if it's now largely overrun, the stigma still does exist today.
Kids have more free time than adults do, and games are suitable for spending (or wasting) free time. Thus, you're gonna see youngsters playing the most video games. That's all it takes to explain that factor.
However, newer generations being raised early with technology have been taking over, with video games becoming more widely accepted, and that's why we see this stigma from the older generations going away.
But amongst the moving ocean waves and beach sands, representing the new generations' swifter adoption of technology, the nearby large rock formations stand tall and firm, resisting the change. These rock formations have been here for centuries, and yet they still remain.
These rock formations represent a simple fact: to live a life, you need to make money.
Extending from this, we also have these facts: to make money, you need a job, and in order to have a job, you must spend time. You also can only spend time if you have time to spend, and no Earthly creature has an infinite amount of time to do so.
Any independent person should understand this, and should also understand that nobody's life can be based solely on video games, much less an independent person's life, who almost, if not ever can even have a life mostly about video games, forget solely.
Now good golly, let's get on with this. I've got some cooking instructions for you! Get out your favorite pot, and pour two cups of water in it. Take the last several paragraphs I typed up on my
eight-and-a-half-year-old almost-ten-year-old laptop, stick 'em in a pot, plunk that pot down on top of the stove, and crank that baby high. Wait a few minutes, and you have the words: "video games are for kids." It's very unspecific because of how well we boiled it, but if you read those paragraphs, you'll understand how it came to be.
Again, the fact of the matter is that, while society's perception of video games has become more positive, the underlying facts haven't changed, and it's for that reason you cannot base your life on playing video games.
Very simple definition: "one who plays games." While that's really it, this term has seen a huge amount of use across the Internet, and this means that the term has been blown out of proportion...horribly so.
I tell you, this term really unnerves me, and if I can rightly assume that you read the previous section, then it is very easy to explain. People left and right are calling themselves "gamers", for the sole reason that they play video games.
Now explain to me why this term was necessary. It's somehow supposed to sound "cool"...euuugh! Gosh, the only "cool" I get from that is that it makes me want to shiver...but with disgust. Or is it just too "cool" in here?
Yes, general terms do, and should exist for types of jobs that people do. Say, mechanics repair cars, programmers write programs, so on and so fourth. However, playing video games is not a job, it is a hobby since it fits perfectly with the definition of a hobby. Hobbies are not jobs. However, certain jobs can start as hobbies. On the flipside of this, though, is that playing a game isn't a job.
With this all being said, the term "gamer" falls under the same class as "couch potato": one who is addicted to watching television. I'd willingly wager that the majority of those who call themselves "gamers" are ones who are the game equivalent of a "couch potato", let alone "heavy gamer". If you encounter a "heavy gamer", that's a big ol' sign that says:
This is potentially hazardous, as well. If you've spent all of your younger years playing video games, once it's time for you to get a job for yourself, what will you do? Will you have any experience for a job? Video games mean nothing on their own in this situation.
One might mention "video game development", but that's like saying driver's ed is all you need to become a mechanic. You need to know how to program, and that, in and of itself, is unrelated to playing video games.
It's as if video games are an undercover scam. One who unreasonably plays them is deceived into thinking that they are getting things done, and using "gamer" as a cover term, to pretend as if they're not doing anything wrong.
The only way to mitigate this scam is to keep gameplay in moderation (or even out of the question). If you can, don't even treat games as a primary hobby, but no matter what, never, ever pretend that it's a real job. Playing video games is not a job.
If you're either avoiding video games entirely, or playing them in moderation, as well as maintaining other interests, then you're doing things right. Never let video games take over your life because it isn't life. Lastly, if you wouldn't call yourself a "couch potato", then don't call yourself a "gamer"...and that's why this term is sickening, these people are practically taking pride to being lifeless.
Oh boy, oh boy. This one.
Have you ever wanted to know what makes my blood boil more than an AMD FX-9590 overclocked to ten gigahertz at twelve volts with no heatsink in Death Valley at twelve noon with the sun burning down like Java is pouring out of it?
The word "gaming".
Because it is a buzzword.
Just like "gamer", this term also sickens me, because, short of being a dumb word for "playing a game", it's nothing but a trashy marketing term. "Gaming" is slapped all over computer hardware in a sore attempt to sell more hardware, and guess what? It works, because people are stupid enough to think that "gaming" means it's good for games.
There is not one unique product or type of product that is most effective for games. What is best for games? It is what is best for you. The only way buying a new keyboard (or mouse, uuuuuurrrrgh) will help you, is if your current hardware is worse than your skills. If your skills are bad, then better hardware won't make you magically improve.
For example, many people say "Cherry MX Blue is bad for games." This is not necessarily true; it is only bad for games if you do not like how it behaves under your control. It's subjective, and everyone knows that. Similarly, a lot of people also say that "Cherry MX Brown is good for games and typing", and guess what? I find both playing games and typing to be a better experience on Cherry MX Blue switches than Browns! That is proof that it's all subjective.
Cherry MX switches are badly designed, anyway. Since their attachment is so cheap, I went through three keyboards with those switches, and they all broke in some way, and that's not subjective.
Things make even less sense once we look at motherboards. "Gaming motherboard"? Be quiet, that makes no sense. Does that dumb G-word give it an FPS boost, or is this marketing trash? Don't answer that question, for we should all know the answer.
Now let's see how an example of this logic looks.
If you're familiar with NewEgg, you'll understand that this isn't fake. Just tell me with a straight face that this doesn't even have a hint of looking ridiculous. Separate blasted categories. Okay, so it's either a "keyboard" or a "gaming keyboard"?
NO, it is not. That's outright absurd! It's a keyboard no matter what kind of appalling switch these companies put under the keys! I don't care if it's a
ten- two one-dollar keyboard (you have no idea how good it is), or some overpriced abomination from Razer, it's still a keyboard!
It only gets worse from here on. If you browse this category, you'll see that the "Keyboards" category contains mostly non-mechanical, non-flashy keyboards, while the other category contains mostly flashy mechanical keyboards. Okay, so that means a "Gaming Keyboard" is a flashy keyboard? That's basically what it appears to be...but they're both keyboards! There is no difference.
I can explain it all. It's meaningless marketing trash, just to sell poor-quality products. I should know; I've been ripped off several times before like I mentioned with the Cherry MX switches.
Most likely, the majority of custom computer builds people do, is for the sake of games. Now, don't get me wrong, this is fine. It's up to the person for what they want their computer for. The thing is, though, you need to realize how much your games are actually costing you. It may not necessarily be linear, but the price typically will rise with system requirements. If your system requirements raise, then that means you'll want better hardware, in order to run that game optimally. This means, not only are you paying more for your game, but you will have to upgrade or replace your computer. Is it worth the cost to you?
Another factor is the platform that you get games on. There are many digital game distribution services, and, by all means, the most common on PCs is Steam. Although I am computer-centric, I never used Steam for years, until November 2012, when I got Steam for the sole intended purpose of playing Garry's Mod.
With the games being digital, this means, in order to try out a game, you can't simply borrow it from a friend. Thus, there is no way to legally try a full game before buying it, unless someone just so happens to have "shared" it with you via Steam's (poor excuse of a) "sharing" system.
That is awful.
Oh, yes, Steam's refund policy? That doesn't really fix the problem. All Valve did was put duct tape on one of Steam's biggest flaws. Once you've bought the game, if you've either played it for two hours, or "owned" (more like "are licensed") it for more than a week, then you can no longer get a refund on it. You're stuck with it for life, and you can't get your money back. Shame.
Oh, and what can people do if they've already got a game library full of disappointments, from before Valve kludged Steam? Oops, you're out of options! Shame.
Now, consider this. A digital object is more flexible than a physical object; you can easily clone a digital object, whereas, with physical, it's far more difficult and involved. Despite this, digital games are less flexible than physical ones, thanks to Steam's restrictions! They actually take the advantage of a digital object, and twist it into a disadvantage! Shame!
That's one, two, three strikes of shame, and they're out!
Now, let me tell you a story about trying out games.
Back in August of 2012, I had a Sega Dreamcast that I had purchased the previous month. I had heard about Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. I didn't know if the games were any good. I checked Amazon for prices. Sonic Adventure was about $15, which was a little more than I cared to spend on a chance...but, worse yet, Sonic Adventure 2 was about $50! No way was I going to pay that much money for something I didn't even know if it was good or not!
Not very long afterward, I met someone (not online) who had both games and a Sega Dreamcast. We were talking Sonic, I showed him my Sega Nomad and such, and he was telling me about the Adventure games. He told me that he'd get his discs, and lend them to me.
Not long later, likely 8/22/2012, he showed up with the discs, and I took them home. I got to try the games out, and I eventually came to love them. Sonic Adventure 2 became my favorite Sonic game, and I played it a ton.
Now, how about if it was a digital game? Well, my friend would not have been able to lend me the game at all, and I could not have played it. Shame.
Oh, wait! There's more! As if all of these risks aren't enough, there's also a bad consistency; there are often only five kinds of games these days, and it's a shame. We have these types of games:
Despite their huge marketing, will you remember them in the end? These games, for whatever reason, try to be like a movie; they have you go from point A to point B without much interactivity. Also, my goodness, do they have such a limited color palette. For both reasons, these May Haswell be on the Philips CD-i!
These are based on the old ploy you see on "smart phones" all the time, where when you die or whatever, you can't play until you either pay up or wait until the next day. It isn't even just that, but microtransactions are everywhere. It's just a ploy to turn games into money-making machines, and it reeks of it. A game shouldn't remind you how desperately its maker wants your money!
Basically, these are games that go to humorously-bad extents of looking serious, resulting in the players doing the same thing. Basically, it defines the word "gamer".
You know, all those games that capitalize on being "retro", when they just aren't. They might talk the talks, but can they walk the walks? Nope, and that's what makes 'em fake. What people miss is the quality of old games, not the lack of graphical detail!
Lastly, we have the mostly-indie games that are either a "Walking Simulator", or something that simply reeks of trying to come up with new ideas that no one gives a rip about.
Have we really forgotten about the Proper types of games? Games need interactivity, or else they're movies. They must not reek of old-and-tried marketing ploys. They must not be trying to be "retro", it should be good. Lastly, they shouldn't be a bad attempt at some idea.
The truth is, a good game is one that is highly replayable and memorable. It doesn't need to be very long, as the replayability takes care of some of that for you. You need fun characters that you'll know forever and a storyline that keeps you entertained.
On top of that, where's the memorable music? Is there even a single game that was made post-2009 that you can remember the music of? Why is everyone obsessed with graphics, and no one cares about the audio? I'm the opposite! Good graphics are nice, but it's the music that sticks if it's any good.
Even after years, I can still remember the soundtrack from the old 16-bit Sonic games, and I first played those when the first game was a few months short of 20 years old! Graphics-wise? Hah, I liked the graphics, too! Probably most people my age would say "how do you enjoy such an old game?" Well, how do they enjoy such new games!?
There you have it, all the reasons why video games are the ultimate scam. Let's go over them again real quick:
Whatever you do, no matter how much you like or despise video games, don't, just don't buy into the marketing. Better yet, don't indulge yourself in the marketing and buzzwords whatsoever. You were made for a better purpose than being a couch potato, and you aren't going to convince me otherwise.
Me, personally? Gosh, I was already unhappy with the way things were going when it came to the fact that trying out games was a pain, but all those other things? Bah, I give up! It's not like you even usually get money for doing it, either, so that's out the window!
Additionally, it doesn't matter what product you're considering, whether it's a keyboard, or a computer.
If you're considering buying anything technological, then either conduct Proper research to know what's the right product for you while avoiding ripoffs, or have a knowledgeable person recommend you something that they have a good experience with.
And unless you think being a couch potato is a good thing that you take true pride in,
Don't call yourself a "GAMER".
That concludes this article.