First off, I am not a gamer of any note at all. Discord, Twitch? Those are disagreements with others and what my right eye begins to do when a staff member enters my office and says, “So you think we’ve seen everything? Wait’ll you hear this…”
I am a longtime, mediocre at best, game player of many decades. When Pong came out I spent many hours bouncing that square “ball” between stick “players” at a neighbor’s house. I’ve watched game play change while owning Atari, Sega, Nintendo, and PlayStation consoles. In order to snag a PlayStation 5 I signed up for Tweets whenever the system was dropped somewhere and eventually scored one through a Best Buy in Green Bay (an hour and a half drive south from our home in da Yoop—worth it!).
After all those consoles and who knows how long gameplay, one might think I wouldn’t suck at playing the games…but hey, one might think that a “professional” organization such as the Detroit Lions wouldn’t suck for over half a century at putting together a football team! So it must be ok to suck at something one endeavors to do well, but does not. Gaming is not a profession, but a pastime for me.
I am fascinated by the level of creativity and visual advancement I’ve witnessed since being entranced by Pong right up until now with the games I’m enjoying on the 5.
As a member of what must be the leading edge of the generation that grew up with video games (as a Gen Xer I was in elementary school when Pong came out and at my most brainwashable/impressionable), I have hopes for the industry as it moves forward.
First, I hope that the industry better begins to recognize that there are and will be a growing population of gamers who are not children. I hope they continue with their advancements in allowing games to welcome all levels of gamers by allowing folks to play games at their own level and even allow for the fact that maturing gamers will lose both the time to commit to mastering a game and suffer the inevitable slow down in reactions from when they were young.
I am further intrigued by the storytelling elements of what are the best games available now. I think the best two games that represent this have been the two The Last of Us games and Red Dead Redemption.
By the end of The Last of Us 2 I was so engaged by Ellie’s story and her degradation into the dangers of revenge, that I considered just stopping my gameplay where Ellie should have stopped and enjoyed having both a family and all of her fingers. I even tried to let her die during her battle with Abby, mainly because Abby had grown and matured as a person and Ellie had not.
In Red Dead I knew what Arthur’s fate would likely be, so I slow walked finishing the game and tried every option I could think of to avoid what I knew the ending would be.
That’s a lot more emotional engagement than Pong or any of the stories sort of told by any of the many Mario games I enjoyed. Kudos to those game developers! I look forward to more games where the gameplay involves decision making that is engaging along, character development and are fun to play.