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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Patience in Gaming, or Where Is My Mind?

     According to the NPD, some big high muckity-muck of statistics, the average age of a core gamer these days is 30 years old. I'm what you might call 'in the average age range' of a gamer. I've been gaming, in one form or another, for most of my life. There's an odd pattern of what *kind* of games, though, if you track from beginning to present day, and it tells a story that I'm not entirely sure what meaning I should take from it.
     A few times in my life, I've owned various consoles, and for a while I even LARPed, playing Vampire: The Masquerade with groups of friends. As I understand it, V:TM doesn't even exist anymore. I think I've done most kinds of gaming short of your regular table-top stuff. Which is really a shame, as most of my associates and close friends over the years have been into table-top RPGs from dungeon crawling to urban fantasy. Sometimes I felt a little left out, but I never really took an interest in it anyways.

     There's a pattern I've noticed since settling in on the PC gaming side of things. It was around the time that the Nintendo 64 was winding down and I was starting university. I'd spent a while playing games on PC before that, but aside from a love affair with Carmageddon, mainly I downloaded shareware titles and played until I got bored, only to start the game over next time and never actually finish it. I started Hexen more times than I can remember, but I'm not sure I ever finished it. Then I got my hands on a copy of Command & Conquer.

     C&C was one of the first great Real Time Strategy games, and probably the second-biggest name in RTS behind Starcraft. I remember sitting above the battlefield and directing troops to victory from start to finish. Then came Starcraft. Not only did I play the campaign missions start to finish, but I got into the multiplayer, as I got my copy around the time I had access to my first high-speed internet connection. Protoss, turrets and carrier ships. Hours and hours sunk into it.

     Within the last few years, though, I've noticed a shift in my tastes that I can't explain. As I've grown older, I've gotten into more and more action-oriented games. Whereas when I was in my early 20s I would have been happy to play match after match of strategy games, now I see more and more of my Steam friends list playing Civilization 5 and I just can't be bothered. My Steam profile tells me that I've spent 824 hours playing Borderlands. 648 hours on Borderlands 2. 604 on Killing Floor. 776 between the two Left 4 Dead games. I have Final Fantasy 7, considered by many to be one of the greatest RPGs of all times, on my Steam account. I've played 45 minutes of it. On the other hand, the more action-oriented Fallout New Vegas had be for 275 hours. I seem to be leaning, to a scary degree, towards games where I can just turn my brain off and react, and I'm not sure why that is.

     I fear, possibly, as I've grown older, I've grown less patient. Perhaps I should look for this characteristic in other parts of my life as well. Introspection, ho!


  1. Seems to happen to us all at some time or another.

    When I was but a lad, I had an astonishing amount of patience for games that needed a lot of setting up; somewhere in this very room is a Warhammer army of hundreds of individually-based dudes that took at least thirty minutes just to get out of the case and onto its movement trays and assembled ready for a game where the first two turns would be cautious edging forward and jockeying for position and it might be anything up to an hour and a half before anyone actually wanted to engage.

    These days I seem to be favouring the "whap out two dozen models at most and be done in ninety minutes" scale of tabletop gaming. More difficult and more engaging as games, but quicker to set up and tear down and resolve.

    'Growing less patient' sounds like a rather negative way of looking at it though, a kind of self-admonition. I prefer to think of it as 'recognising the value of my leisure time', or possibly 'being too old and tired to spend half an hour just getting ready to play'.

  2. "I have Final Fantasy 7, considered by many to be one of the greatest
    RPGs of all times, on my Steam account. I've played 45 minutes of it."

    No offense, but Final Fantasy 7 was only groundbreaking because it took full advantage of the hardware opportunities the Sony Playstation offered. The translation was originally a mess, and honestly it's a straight up linear JRPG with fairly uninspired characters save for a few bright spots.

    As far as I'm concerned, Baldur's Gate 2 beats up FF7 regularly and steals its lunch money.

    I guess in general it depends on my mood. Sometimes I wanna play Minecraft or Civ V and build things. Sometimes I just want to shoot things in the face, so I play Left 4 Dead 2 or Payday. Occasionally I like to stab, so there's Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.

  3. Vampire: the Masquerade did go away for awhile when White Wolf came out with World of Darkness 2.0 in a move largely aimed at not having to pay the original creators royalties (example: it's not the MalkAvians, it's now the MalkOvians. I'm not making that up). Sales tanked, and they've since brought back the "classic" WoD books. To make you feel old, there's a 20th anniversary edition of Vampire: the Masquerade, which is basically revised edition with the errata built in.

  4. Can't say I'm surprised. Although have you ever seen the nWoD fangame 'Genius: The Transgression'? Interesting mechanics and setting for science. MAD science.

    "IT'S ALIVE!!!!"

  5. Play World of tanks, quick and easy. Went from a 2 account having WoW player to WoT. I can agree with ya regarding the age factor. Have no patience for any game I cant just hop into and out and have a good time any more.

  6. Yeah... of course, White Wolf did a damn good job of self destructing for a few years.


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