The State of Gaming

There’s no secret at home that my gaming habits are shifting drastically. With balancing time between work, writing, art, and other hobbies…sitting down to play a 40-80 hour video game simply takes way too much time. Despite my attempts to cut down my gaming into small manageable chunks, the release of many big titles this past year, my backlog has grown into astronomical proportions.

Then last week happened. After several particular stressful weeks at work, I came home eager to continue my game of Assassin’s Creed Unity; but the bugs and glitches reminded me of a sour experience with EA last year (during their SimCity debacle). It had everything going for it: Great setting, great story potential, and refined gameplay. Yet it was marred by bad design decisions (microtransactions?), glitches, bland story, copy/pasted characters. As much as I wanted to enjoy the game, I simply could not.

It’s easy to find yourself immersed in the world of gaming. Most of us have grown up in an era where consoles have grown from a faddish electronic children’s device in the 1980’s to a competitive form of immersive entertainment, dominating even the film industry. Conventions such as PAX, E3, Tokyo Game Show, among others are always a hot topic in the tech world, and your rife to see cosplayers dressed in costumes from Bioshock, Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy.

Yet I’ve grown somehow disenchanted with all of that. Despite the inescapable presence of the regular Steam Sales, I traded my powerhouse Asus laptop for an inferior Apple. While most of that decision was so I could apply simplicity to my workflow, I found my interests in gaming simply pressed more towards consoles and mobile devices.

Yet the hype doesn’t hit me as it used to:
Smash Bros for the Wii U – Mehh…
Pokemon Alpha Omega – More of the same…
Farcry 4 – Ehh I’ll skip it…
Borderlands the Presequel – Another Borderlands shooter :/
GTA V (for PS4) – Didn’t I just buy this last year?

Then there have been a few titles I’ve been surprised about. Dragon Age Inquisition was a game I swore I would never get, especially given the previous title’s blandness, and Bioware’s association with EA…but it’s surprisingly one of the best games this year. Bayonetta 2, Project Diva F 2nd, Samurai Warriors 4, Persona Q, and a few other quirky Japanese titles are also sparking my interest. Perhaps it’s just that they are different than the mold of domestic titles that have come out.

More and more, I’ve been shifting my attention towards mobile platforms. Perhaps it’s the low software prices that grab me, the many different functions of the iOS that push it beyond just gaming…but with games such as Monument Valley, Baldur’s Gate, and a few “Free to Play” high quality titles such as Terra Battle or Brave Frontier…I just don’t feel the urge to go out and splurge $60 on a gaming experience when I could enjoy a “casual” gaming experience for $5 or $10.

Will there be a quality title such as Dragon Age Inquisition or Bayonetta 2 on an iPad? Probably not…but in the meantime I’ll be spending less on disappointments such as Assassin’s Creed Unity and more on simple games I can play in the toilet at work.

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