Before anyone points out the similarity in titles, this piece is inspired by – indeed, an answer to – the excellent Kotaku article by Kirk Hamilton; “What Video Game Shit Are You Too Old For?“
As an unemployed 30-something living in a new city over a thousand kilometres from friends and family, I spend an awful lot of my time playing video games. Nonetheless, I’ve reached an age where even a man of infinite free time such as myself has to draw a line and say, “Basta!” Enough is enough; there are certain gaming habits that I will no longer consider. What gaming habits, you ask?
I’m glad you inquired, Billy-Bob Strawman…
I’ll level with you; I only ever pre-ordered a game once, it was Grand Theft Auto V, and I only did it ‘cos I was trading in a ton of Xbox 360 games & could get more value with a pre-order than simply taking money or an exchange. Also, I got to feel all smug & superior on the day it landed, as cashed my Golden Ticket while empty-handed simpleton suckers were turned away, all sad-faced.
What was I saying? Oh yeah… See, no other industry does this. Not really. You could make the case for music, as you might buy a gig ticket without really knowing how good a band might be live – but that’s unlikely, and even if you had no idea you would still have their back catalogue to tell you if their sound is any good. Films? Trailers & word of mouth. Even if trailers are of dubious reliability, at least they take footage from the movie involved – game trailers frequently rely on ‘vertical slices’ that deliberately mislead consumers and, frankly, lie about the content that can be expected. Do films even have ‘review embargoes’ to the same extent that games regularly do?
Buying Upon Release
Time was, I had no problem with this. Time was, you might have a demo to get some semblance of an idea regarding the reliability & enjoyability of the finished product. Time was, we didn’t have day 1 patches.
I recently started playing the infamous Assassin’s Creed Unity, and it was remarkable how polished & uncontroversial the playing experience actually was, (the historical inaccuracy was a bucket of reactionary jizz topped up with a fucknut foam of counter-revolutionary propaganda, but that’s for another day); I have zero doubt that this improved performance was down to the years of updates released since the game shipped. In short, games that buy upon release are broken – not ‘occasionally’, not ‘quite often’, not ‘frequently’…always. They are always broken.
That’s before you even get to the cost of the games, and how quickly discounts occur. I can’t remember the last game I bought at full price, and given my economic circumstance I can’t imagine myself ever again forking out €70+ for a single game. Why would I, when it will inevitably be an unfinished, unreliable, unexamined mess?
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…