Grumpy Old Man

I am 32 years old. I play computer and video games, in some form or another, every single day. I do this because they give me a feeling of accomplishment, they make me feel like I have skills that can be applied successfully, and certain games enable a social aspect which I find hard to maintain away from a computer. I am 32 years old, and I am starting to think that I want more.

Half Life 2: Episode 2. A series which has threatened a few times to kill someone off finally did it, and it wasn’t who you thought it would be. I cried like a fucking baby, because of a game. A fucking game.

I’ve cried at films (and a certain Japanese cartoon about catching pocket monsters) more times than I care to remember. I’ve cried at games twice, maybe three times in my life? Games have been cribbing from films for fucking years now. It seems like they’ve nicked everything except the emotional connection. How come there’s only a handful of developers which are capable of this?

The point I’m trying to get to isn’t that games should make you feel like crying, it’s that they should make you feel more than they currently do. I’m bored with shooting people to forward a plot I don’t give a shit about, that’s the same as any other game made in the last fifteen years. Let me choose to not shoot sometimes. Let me pick my own side. Let me choose a way of playing the game that is comfortable. And then, when my expectations are set and I’m getting into it, surprise me. Make me react, make me feel angry, or sad, or anything. Something.

There is a game which already does all this, and it was made nine years ago. And I’ve played it for a few hours, six years ago, and lost it, and never got round to giving it another go. And now that I’ve realised all this, I’m going to buy it again and see if it was as good as I remember it. And I’ll also see if it can surprise me.

(Deus Ex, by the way)


    Great one Ben. Alistair just showed me this cos I wrote something similar this week over on my blog:

  • Cheers! I didn’t want to gush on your blog, but I’ll do it on mine – reading your blog entry made me realise you’ve called on a few points which in retrospect are glaringly fucking obvious, and yet I’d never have realised myself. Also, the fact that whereas you use precision, I use rants and emotive whinging and blunder my way to some kind of point. I like your way 😀

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