5 Gaming Complaints That Literally Make No Sense
Nobody hates video games more than gamers. If you listen to the forum posts and mouth-frothing Reddit rants, that is. In a way it makes sense -- the people most passionate about a thing are also going to be the most pissed off when something goes wrong with that thing. To a normal person, a game offering downloadable horse armor is kind of ridiculous. To a gamer, it's a sign the shadowy horse illuminati that secretly runs Bethesda is upping the schedule on their bid for world domination. Here are the ones I just don't get:
DLC That Comes Out Too Soon After Release
Don't get me wrong: I totally understand people being upset when a title releases and it's clearly not finished, then starts charging you for DLC that already should have been in the game. But if the game is a relatively complete experience with DLC that comes out somewhat soon after release, I don't understand getting mad about that. In fact, I love it. If anything, my biggest issue with DLC is that it takes too long to come out: when a game sucks me in, I spend days getting lost in its world. My hands develop the necessary muscle memory to pull off the moves, I memorize the character's cadence and reaction time, and I become one with the controller. Ellie barely has time to scream before I've leapt over the wall to bash that raider's face in with a brick, dropped a smoke bomb, and disappeared into the night. When the dust clears, the other raiders look down to find a grenade oscillating on the ground atop a crude sketch of me giving them the finger.
But it takes time to immerse yourself that fully in a game -- that's why there's a careful progression in difficulty from the early levels through to the end. When I finish a game and forget about it, only for the DLC to come out eight months later, everything is thrown off. Joel is no longer a grizzled heap of man-steak pile-driving fungus zombies onto landmines -- he's fumbling about while I try to remember which button makes me cry in the corner. Then I get stuck on a rock and a raider kills me out of a mixture of disgust and pity. If I finish a game only to find out that DLC is being released a week later, that's awesome. It means I'll leave my last impression on the game world as a whirlwind of justice, not a staggering idiot hucking dynamite at his own feet because square was the reload button in the last game I played.
The Death of Couch Multiplayer
Isn't it a shame that modern consoles did away with in-person multiplayer? Those were, without question, some of the most fun times I've had while gaming. I still have an annual Blitz night, where all of my friends come over, I plug in the N64, and we think up creative new swears for each other. Here's the bill for the last one:
The whole evening is capped off with some ill-advised betting, a sprawling fistfight, and lots of inappropriate sobbing. It's the best time I have all year. But, as gamers love to point out, the practice just doesn't exist anymore -- everything's online, and getting called racial slurs by strangers just doesn't have the same appeal. You really have to look into a man's eyes when you tell him that he sucks dog cocks for pesos in Tijuana, otherwise it comes across as an insult.
But anybody that complains about the death of couch multiplayer is missing one very big, very obvious thing: Nintendo.
Every time you lament the lack of couch multiplayer in modern consoles, Nintendo sheds a single lonely tear and retires to a brightly colored, mushroom-shaped shack to dry their eyes with tissues emblazoned with cute little cartoon penguins. Nintendo has always been the best at in-person multiplayer, and it's still like 90 percent of what they do. If you miss couch multiplayer, buy a Wii U. At some point during Blitz night, everybody gets too drunk to read what the plays are, and we switch to the new Mario Kart so we have a reason not to talk to each other for another year. You measure a really good in-person multiplayer gaming experience in scars and ruined friendships, and the Wii U supplies plenty of both.
Such a good game. I don't talk to my brother anymore. Blue shell motherfucker.
It's true that PlayStations and Xboxes don't have much in-person multiplayer, but most of those games are first-person shooters. Do we really want split-screen back? Before you answer, plug your old gaming system into your fancy new flatscreen and fire up a split-screen shooter. Give four-way GoldenEye a shot -- it's damn near unplayable now. I don't know if that's because of something in modern TVs, if we've just gotten used to being able to actually see what we're doing, or if it was all down to the ol' whiskey-vision, but split-screen multiplayer shooters are damn hard to get back into. Do not mourn their passing because you had fun with them in the past -- at one point you had fun playing in your own feces, but you outgrew it.
Stop decrying the death of couch multiplayer, and give Nintendo a call. They're so lonely. They can only cuddle up with that Luigi body pillow for so long before they start wondering what a shotgun tastes like.
Hating a Game Because It's Not What You Wish It Was
I recently got sucked way the hell into Destiny. It was billed as something between World of Warcraft and Halo, and neither of those descriptors interests me in the slightest. But then it was on sale for half off over Christmas, and I will apparently buy Ebola if you discount it more than 30 percent. And so Destiny sat on my shelf, unopened, while I spent hours chasing bunny rabbits in Grand Theft Auto. (Seriously: that's how I spend my time plugged into the world's vastest virtual crime simulator, because I'm apparently a Care Bear trapped inside an insane hobo's body). Finally, I had frolicked in so many meadows that frolicking itself held no more joy for me. Reluctantly, I slipped Destiny into the PS4, only to find that, despite the word-of-mouth, it's actually a really good game. It ain't perfect -- no bunnies, for one -- but lots of fun.
Then I made the mistake of looking up people's opinions on the Internet. If your WiFi is down and you're ever curious what the Internet thinks about something you really like, just lean your head way back and spit upwards as hard as you can. Try to catch it in your open eye, if at all possible.
Gamers fucking hated Destiny like it nova-bombed their grandparents on the eve of their 50th wedding anniversary. And here's the weird part: they despised it not necessarily because it was bad -- everybody freely admits the mechanics and atmosphere are great -- but because it could have been way better. There's an imaginary game of pure potential that exists only in gamers' heads, and Destiny is not that game, so Destiny is a piece of shit.
"So what if Peter Dinklage is your sidekick and Nathan Fillion is your guildmaster --
The Speaker should be Morgan Freeman. 0 stars."
To be fair, maybe some of those people are disappointed in what they got when compared to what Bungie initially promised. That's a problem with gaming in general. Look at Peter Molyneux's anything. The dude's next game is always the messiah, here to deliver our free time from the stench and stagnation of mortal gaming. Complete freedom! Long lasting consequences! AI so good it will gain sentience and end mankind! Then the game is released, and it turns out you get a virtual dog.
So Bungie promised us a solid gold rocket car, then delivered only a regular rocket car. That's still pretty slick -- I mean, nobody's kicking a rocket car outta bed -- but, uh ... can't help but notice this spoiler is carbon fiber, and what is this steering wheel cover made out of, pleather? You fucking con artists.
Criticism About Social Issues
I'm not really interested in critiquing games based on social issues. Not because I think it's bullshit, or because gaming is some sacred space that needs to be immune to college-freshman-caliber criticism. Since Just Cause 2, the only thing I really want to know about a game is whether or not I can surf a jumbo jet into a confused and terrified rice farmer, so 2,000 words about Minecraft's portrayal of sexual politics isn't super relevant to me. That's why I threaten to rape the authors and try to trick police into shooting them in their own living rooms.
Oh wait, no. I just don't read the whole article.
That's way easier.
Don't worry, I'm not getting into the whole Gamergate thing. Especially since it's like three months late, and all the dead horses we've been beating have long since decayed into nutrient-rich soil. There are now pretty purple flowers growing where the horse corpses once lay -- so let us frolic through them, you and I.
Look beyond the violence and explosions -- that's me, playing hopscotch in the background.
I just don't understand why gamers get so upset when people talk about social issues in video games. I get why they may disagree, or find it uninteresting, or not buy the argument -- but that's not what happens. Nothing triggers gamer rage like somebody in a scarf trying to analyze Donkey Kong's imperialist undertones.
You know what else gets that kind of criticism?
Fuckin' everything! Movies, literature, music -- critics have always analyzed media and discussed its influence on society. So what if some of it is bullshit? For a college course, I once wrote an essay about the role Perfect Strangers played in the first Gulf War (Cousin Larry's apartment is clearly a thinly disguised analogue for Kuwait) and nobody tried to SWAT me. If anything, gamers should think it's awesome that games are finally getting this treatment. It means they're being taken seriously as a medium. Most games -- like most books, movies, and albums -- aren't high art, but some absolutely are and need to be discussed as such. If that means some 24-year-old white dude with one-third of a haircut finds it sexist that Bayonetta has to suck off the Cosmic Phalluspire to beat the end boss, oh well. That's just a consequence of the fact that we, as a culture, are finally accepting enough of gaming to be kind of snotty about it. Gaming has risen to the cultural relevance of black-and-white Swedish films and obscure indie bands with too much whistling.
The Console/PC War
I don't understand the tribalism around gaming platforms. Maybe that's because I am both a filthy console peasant and a member of the glorious PC master race. On a console, I don't have to deal with shit: I drop $400 and, for the next six years or so, I will be able to flawlessly play every single game that comes out for it. No doling out more money for hardware upgrades, no pretending to understand what the guy at Fry's tells me about the different kinds of RAM (just tell me which one lets me see my enemies' brains the best, Gary). Consoles are plug-and-play. That's a huge pro. But then the PC nerds see them and screech, "These games run at 720p and 30 frames per second?! What is this, fucking Syria? My grandfather didn't die in a trench in the Ardennes so I could virtually reenact his battle with anything less than optimal settings!"
Until a few years ago, we all lived with most games running at 30 frames per second and our old TVs were -- man, I don't even know how many "p" CRT screens had. Like four? It was survivable then, and it's survivable now. It's not ideal, of course -- don't start with that "the human eye can only see at 30 frames per second" stuff -- games obviously look better at high resolutions and with higher frame rates, but just because the thing you have isn't the absolute best doesn't make it automatically garbage.
I also play games on my PC, because they look better, sure, but mostly for the mods. You just haven't played Grand Theft Auto until you've played it as a murderous horse in a whimsical flying car. But here's the thing, PC nerds: some console gamers don't give a shit about the mod scene. If you told them that you could turn all the dragons in Skyrim into Macho Man Randy Savage -- as unbelievable as this may seem, they wouldn't do it.
SNAP INTO A REDGUARD OH YEAH!!!
"You don't understand," you'd say. "They're still dragons, only with Macho Man's head, and they scream OH YEAH when they breathe fire!" Even still, some gamers would just be like, "Why would I want that? That sounds weird."
They won't even care when you point out that you put photo-realistic tits on all of the orcs. As impossible as it is to understand, people just prioritize different things.
To be clear, I am not at all excusing cross-platform games that put a cap on graphics settings because they don't want the PC version to look better than the console. That does happen, and it's some Harrison Bergeron bullshit that we should not stand for.
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And also check out 4 New Video Game Realities That Will Kill the Industry and 5 Things All Games Could Learn from 'Saints Row IV'.
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