Is it worth keeping up with the video game Joneses?
March 28, 2011 2 Comments
I posed a question a good while ago to my friends who do video game reviews. I wondered if they felt compelled that they had to review every hot new game that was being released? I’m sure that if you want to be somewhat relevant in the world of video game journalism, you have to be able to write about the hot new blockbusters that are scheduled for release. It’s great to get inside access and early betas of games that everyone is clamoring for. And the reason I even brought up that question was because I was wondering if good independent games were getting overlooked because every major outlet (and even some minor ones) were too focused on making sure they got the hot coverage of the new hot game.
I’m more inclined to support publications that did just as much to focus on indie games as they are on the major blockbusters. Most indie games don’t have the luxury of star power or marketing muscle that could put them in the forefront of everyone’s mind, so it’s great when websites take the time to point out some of the great sleeper hits and give them some web space to make their case.
I mean, hell, I do this with music. I like spending my Tuesday going through new releases and seeing what’s available, but I try not to overlook any new underground music that’s being released as you tend to find great gems in the music that everyone’s not paying attention to.
But really that’s not what this post is about.
I wanted to discuss this topic from the game players side.
You know, I used to hate Tuesdays. Whenever I turned on my XBOX 360 and looked at my friends list everyone was playing the hot new game of that week. 9 out of 10 had the new game and were already either halfway through or deeply engaged in some multiplayer action. I felt like a has-been whenever I would put in a game that wasn’t even last week or last month; more likely last year.
Case in point: Everyone is now enthralled with Crysis 2. I’m sure it’s a fantastic game, judging by everyone’s reactions on Twitter and such. Me? I’m engaged in Borderlands. Yes, Borderlands. That game is old and everyone has ran roughshod through it and I’m just now starting play. I actually enjoy the game quite a bit, but shouldn’t I be current and playing Crysis 2?
No, not really.
I’ve come to realize that gaming really isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about just keeping up with the current. It’s nice to be able to play at the same time as your friends, striking the gaming experience while the pot is still hot and being able to share in the experience roughly at the same time. But honestly, I may get around to Crysis 2 and that could be around the time Crysis 3 is hitting stores. And I’m fine with that.
I’m now starting games like Dead Space, Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed (all part 1, mind you) and I’m finding these games to be great. I may eventually get around to their sequels but I’ll do that on my own time, at my own pace.
If the mindset is to play the new hot game just so you can be part of what the cool kids are doing, then you eventually end up really missing out on some great content. I used to think that being current is what’s key, but it’s more like making sure that you enjoy *your* gaming experience. If you find yourself involved in a great game from 2007, then make that your great game in 2011. If you find an awesome game in 2011, nothing wrong with coming back to it in 2012.
I’m fine with letting the Joneses go right on ahead of me. There’s plenty of flowers in this garden that I have yet to (and would like to) smell.