I once called a person a “hippie” in a somewhat negative connotation and received a lecture on how being a hippie is not about the clothes one wears, the drugs one abuses, or the politics one spews. No, being a hippie is a mentality and a way of life. I thought this description was actually quite profound in that this is how I view Gamers and Geeks. What separates Geeks and Gamers from those who like geeky stuff or like playing video games is the person’s mentality and way of life.
Someone who spends almost every waking hour playing Call of Duty, Madden, or Candy Crush has probably never experienced the rush of receiving a Nintendo Entertainment System for their seventh birthday; felt accomplishment on beating their first game, Super Mario Bros 3; watched in awe of the first Lion Heart limit break performed; or skipped their Senior Prom to attend a Halo LAN party. All of these events have fashioned me into a Gamer like so many others who have similar experiences and carry the same mentality. This is why with great regret, I have realized that the current video game culture is leaving me behind.
Much of the reason I am not keeping up with the current trends and games is because I have a lot going on between working full time, grad school, and research. However, I would still find time to play games as I did in undergrad if there was anything worth making time for. The fact is that current trends just take the fun out of playing games. I would like to mention the three main factors which have ruined it for me.
The Companies. Video game companies are helping to destroy the business of video games while making massive profits off the trends that are ultimately going to doom us in the end. I am a Capitalist and I have no problem at all with companies striving for profits, but that is not my point. My point is that the companies are allowed to get away with screwing gamers on a regular basis because the masses which play the most popular games don’t seem to care.
Electronic Arts (EA), which was recognized as the worst company in America, is one of the greatest offenders as they make gamers pay for extras which used to be included in 60 dollar games. I remember turning on Madden and having to pay 800 Microsoft points just to play online and get updates. EA is hardly the only guilty party as many people are okay with paying real money to dress up avatars online or pay for necessary advancement in mobile games. The key to all of this is that companies will only go as far as the public will tolerate and, sadly, the public is just fine with being charged for every little thing as long as they get to scream epithets at someone living half a world away which brings me to my next issue: the players themselves.
To be continued in Part 2...