Monday, June 28, 2010

Explaining My Hostility

First things first, maybe it's purely anecdotal personal experience but it feels like the defenders of casual gaming are a lot more hardcore about their gaming than I am. And, in theory, I'm one of those hardcore-Halo-playing-gunjocks (side note: fucking hate Halo). I honestly don't get in the requisite time to finish a Mario game these days. Maybe that's why I never got into Super Mario World; if I wanted a platformer, I could beat MegaMan X in about an hour. Super Mario World was a backtracking project. I had RPGs to soak up hours, I didn't need a platformer to do it. I think this issue somehow goes back to my argument that it's not casual versus hardcore, it's accessible versus impenetrable. Grandpa will never play Zelda. Ever. Chad from the basketball team will play Call of Duty. And probably stuff you in your locker, but that's besides the point. Somehow the game that the traditional non-gamer is playing is hardcore, while the game that the non-gamer will never play is casual. Go figure.

Meanwhile, I'm almost sorta nerd raging over the 2.5-D thing. Which is weird considering my undying love for Street Fighter. I continue to blame nostalgia. It's like those guys who look back at high school as the best years of their lives. Yeah, I was an unemployed virgin without a car. Good times. Everyone always likes to think about how things were better back when we were younger. My problem was that I had an unhealthy interest in the gaming industry when I was younger. Not just the gaming, but the actual industry. So back then I had some pretty good ideas of what I wanted to see in games to come, and looking back I have a clear vision of how we got here. Remember when we loved 3-D? Technology is always advancing, and back then the limitations of gaming were limitations of technology. Of course our games were 2-D, we didn't have the tech for 3-D. But someday, someday we would. And then that day finally came, and an army of nerds simultaneously creamed their pants when we saw Super Mario 64. It was Mario, in 3-D! At the time this was a clear and unambiguous step forward. To my mind, it still is. But for some reason we're retreating to the 2-D again. We're fleeing from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

It's all the difference between looking back and looking forward. I've explained my evolution before: Contra to Metal Slug to DOOM to Gears of War (and, as a Mac user, a few years experimenting with Marathon). I remember sitting at home playing Contra 4 on my SNES and thinking "Gee, wouldn't it be awesome if this was in 3-D." And then Gears of War came out. And then about half my generation decided the 2-D was better. If this was purely emotional, I could get it. If all the involved parties just said "Yeah, it's nostalgia because you think everything was better in 1988" I'd call you an idiot, but at least you'd be an honest idiot. But this is argued as the intrinsically superior game design and I don't get why. What were we waiting for all those years? Were the rest of you sitting at your gaming consoles thinking "I hope nothing ever changes for 25 years"? From my standpoint it looks like Gradius->Colony Wars->Ace Combat 6->Oh-Jesus-it's-scary-I-want-Gradius-back! Someone explain!

If I seem hostile it's because I'm opposed to nostalgia on most levels. It's like how everything was better in the 1950's. We were young and happy and there was never any crime in our neighborhoods. And black people knew their place. And you don't have to give gay people rights if you pretend they don't exist. Weren't the 1950's great? Here's an idea for a retro game, Star Fox. Yeah, it's great because it was on the Super Nintendo, then it was on the Nintendo 64. And it's great for retro-gaming because it's big selling point when it first came out was that it's in fucking 3-D! We are now what gaming back then was striving to be. Don't let a generation worth of effort go to waste.

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