It’s okay to love popular things.
My library of games is rather sickening. Not in the sense that I own too many, or that the ones I do own are of poor taste or quality (though there are some of those). No, instead it’s the sheer breadth of which my library of games covers. I have everything from Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, to Gone Home and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I have games that I’ve played once and felt like I got everything I needed out of it, as well as those games which I’ll revisit time and time again.
I honestly feel like I’m living in a golden age of gaming. Sure, there are a ton of games on the market which drive me up the wall over how immensely mediocre they are, but the swath of options I have available to me whenever I turn on my PC, PS4, Switch, or Xbox One is astounding.
I have hundreds of unique experiences to boot up, and more on the way. Furthermore, every one of those games, regardless of their developer, publisher, budget, or genre deserves its place.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
That idiom about variety is remarkably famous, stemming from the poet William Cowper. It stands true, in my eyes, to this day. Not only in everyday life, but also when talking about games. I used to be much more focused in the types of games I would buy. Not only because I had a much more limited budget, but also because I didn’t want to take risks with what I purchased. I settled for “sure things”, like the Grand Theft Auto‘s and Fallout‘s, with the occasional venture into playing games like Bioshock or The Indigo Prophecy.
Now I’m lucky if I can go more than a week without hearing about a game that piques my interest. With the rise of indie studios in the games industry, I’m finding myself exposed to far greater numbers of games that capture my imagination. That doesn’t mean I’m not partaking in the blockbuster AAA games anymore. Instead, I’m just finding myself playing a wider variety of games.
I feel that’s the key to gaming as a whole. Not that everyone should play everything… I feel like I’ve hammered that point home enough already. I just mean that there’s room in the games industry, and in consumers’ libraries of games for everything. AAA and indie games alike, from all kinds of genres.
Woe Is Gaming Today
I know it can be easy to feel like games have changed so much over the years; in fact, they definitely have. We’re long past the days of the NES, SEGA Genesis and Dreamcast, and PlayStation 2. It can be easy to lament how AAA games have seemingly become largely homogeneous and focused on the bottom line. However, I’d like to make an argument against many of my previous posts, potentially contradicting myself.
I just don’t have the time or energy to read through my old stuff. I have to go to work soon.
Let’s look at movies. No, not watch a movie… though we could do a movie night sometime, I can make the popcorn. We’re going to need to watch The Martian at least once though.
Look at the film industry. Ask just about anyone, and you’ll notice something. People watch all kinds of movies, including some that may surprise you. The person you’d figure to only enjoy watching romantic comedies may have a soft spot for niche horror movies. Another person who talks endlessly about anime probably loves seeing every new Transformer movie that releases.
Gaming is no different. Tastes are complicated, and very rarely will you ever come across someone who has extremely refined and restricted tastes. Almost everyone has that “guilty pleasure” game. Something that they know isn’t going to challenge their thinking, but they find enjoyable nonetheless. Looking back at movies, the equivalent is the Marvel movies like The Avengers: Infinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re aimed at a wide audience instead of a niche group of hardcore comic fans. They’re the junk food of movies.
That doesn’t mean they’re bad necessarily, though superhero movies can be bad. That much is certain. The same could be said for video games, of which AAA game function much in the same way as superhero movies. They’re largely enjoyable experiences; entertaining to say the least. Not what I, or many others, would consider to be groundbreaking or thought-provoking, but enjoyable nonetheless.
The key is that every game has its place in the medium, whether it’s a bombastic romp through the bowels of Hell, or a thoughtful representation of mental illness. There’s nothing wrong with playing games that are purely for enjoyment, so try to remember that it’s okay to terrorize Los Santos or bolt around yet another representation of Nuketown. Hell, even if that’s all you enjoy, that’s good. You don’t need to be a connoisseur of games, partaking only in the highest of quality and taste. After all, there are enough pretentious douchebags in the world as it is without adding to the colossal dumpster fire that is crammed with self-important gamers, contrarians, and games journalists. Many of those people are fanboys (or girls… Fanpeople? Fanpersons?) anyway, and nobody seems to like those people.
So enjoy your niche games, but remember that just because you call Call of Duty or Minecraft your guilty pleasure game, that doesn’t mean you should seriously feel guilty for liking it.
What’s your take on the variety of games today? Gaming isn’t as bad as folks (myself included) often make it out to be, right?
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