Considering the amazing number of devices most of us have access to these days, including smartphones, tablets, consoles, set top boxes, and computers, I'd be curious to know how everyone goes about playing. Do you stick to a handful of devices (and if so, which ones) or do you like to sample from everything that you own? What if you're like me and also have a collection of vintage platforms to choose from as well? There's a point where you have "option paralysis," of course, where you have so many gaming options to choose from that you tend not to play much of anything. Have you reached that point?
As for me, I find my habits fluctuate greatly. One week I might be on a vintage platform kick, while another I might exclusively game on my tablet or PC, while another still I might pick a recent console. Other times I want to play multiple things on multiple systems and end up not being able to choose or be limited by real world demands on my time (or energy), despite my enthusiasm otherwise. I suspect this will get worse as the two latest consoles get released this November and interest in the previous generation of systems wanes and we have to start making decisions about what to do with these now "legacy" consoles. Of course, that's to say nothing of things like low cost Android devices and even the upcoming "Steam Box," which will add further options (and confusion) to the mix. All these choices are truly both exciting and overwhelming.
So, what's YOUR plan of action?
I was intrigued by an article mentioned on Dan Carlin's Common Sense Show about Gerald Celente, an analyst who studies big trends. You can read about his views here, and I'll post a fun video below. But what really stood out to me was his view that "the youth of the world" will unite--using internet and web 2.0 tools (Wikileaks, etc.) and overthrow the governments. Why? Because we're sick about all the debt and inability to get clear of it.
I'd like to tie this more into gamer culture in particular. I plan to explore this topic in more depth in the next podcast, but wanted to get your opinion on it. Do you get pissed off that our governments seem so corrupt, inept, and unconcerned about you--and feel that it's getting to the point where it's time to do something about it? Perhaps you've considered turning to cybercrime?
I think there's something about the gamer (some might call it a "hacker") mentality that encourages us to see even big problems like debt and joblessness as eminently solvable and not just inevitable. We also don't tend to trust authorities and feel that we could get in there and fix it ourselves if we had access to the information (transparency) and means.
I've formulated a few of these beliefs or attitudes that I think all serious gamers (or at least Gen X gamers) share. Please let me know if you don't agree with one or more of these points and be specific.
I'm certainly not the only one who has ever wondered why so much of modern gaming (and, if we look back, past gaming) is so focused on graphics. Surely, there are more important issues at stake when we discuss a game--for instance, its rules, setting, story, modes, and so on. There is a reason why so many people still enjoy Tetris, for instance, whereas games whose major appeal was graphical (such as The 7th Guest) fade quickly after the initial blitz. Most people who bother to give it much thought will quickly come to the conclusion that graphics have much less to do with their enjoyment of a game than the marketing seems to suggest or even insist.
I have given the matter much thought over the years, but keep coming back to marketing. The reason why graphics continue to dominate most discussions of game quality is that so many of us depend on them to learn about new games. In particular, I'm thinking of still shots--screenshots that can be put in a magazine review or advertisement, the back of a game box, a website, and so on. It's enlightening to look through a stack of 80s gamer mags and see "eye-popping" screenshots of games that look woefully crude to us today. It has always been easy to put these images on the marketing materials and use them to lure gamers. It is something that gamers can see or glance at, then make a snap evaluation of the game's quality. The fact that this evaluation is so often wrong does not seem to deter gamers the way it should.
While we tend to shy away from overt political opinions here on Armchair Arcade for obvious reasons (i.e., some people can be extremely sensitive about certain topics), I just wanted to say that I really felt good about Senator Obama's big victory last night, both as an American and as someone who has a generally positive outlook on life and the future. My network of choice during this historic Presidential run has been CNN in HD. They've become a bit infamous for their overt use of technology during their coverage, particularly for their "magic map", which is a type of multi-touch device that has all kinds of nifty features to dig deeper into the data. What caught my eye in particular last night though was their use of a pseudo-hologram technology and placing an animated, 3D capitol building on one of the conference tables. I don't have a link to the 3D capitol building, but I did find some instances on YouTube of the other technology that they've been using.