Used to be Hardcore

I’ve been wondering lately if the X-Box 360 is the last console I’m ever going to own.  I have to confess to a lack of enthusiasm over the X-Bone and the PS4, and it’s mainly because of the sort of gamer I have become and the sorts of games that are marketed as console games today.  The idea that I would fail to keep up with console gaming is a little disturbing to me, since I have continuously owned a console of one sort or another (sometimes more than one) since the SNES.  But there it is.

I talked here about how, as gaming becomes a more integral part of our way of life (what scholars call the rise of ludic culture), different kinds of games seem to be connected more tightly to different mediums of play.  Cross-overs do still happen of course, but it’s becoming common for a game, for example the up-coming Dragon Age: Inqusition, to have its main iteration on one device, and then supplementary games on other devices, tailored to those devices and the way people use them.   Console gaming for example has solidified into “hardcore”, a certain family of games aimed at someone who thinks about themselves in a certain way.

The only modern console games that can really hold my attention over a long period of time, and thus the only ones I consider worth playing, are fighting games (and more specifically, Street Fighter games), and sandbox games (again, more specifically, Elder Scrolls games).  I have a love-hate relationship with Elder Scrolls games though: I love the freedom and the ability to tailor your character, but I hate the clunky combat.  Hate it.  Why can’t it be good?

I don’t care at all about shooters any more, if I ever did beyond a party game with my friends and family.  Borderlands is fun for solo play but I lose interest at about level 20.  I like to think I like C-RPGs with good stories, but apparently I actually don’t.  I haven’t got past about seven hours of play in one since Dragon Age: Origins, so let’s be honest here: they interest me at the beginning but can’t hold my attention.  Never cared about racing games (I can’t drive, remember?), or sport games.  Annualised franchises make me feel rebellious.  Oh, you expect me to buy that just because?  Good luck mate…

So am I really going to buy a five to six-hundred dollar console, that spies on me, just to play the next generation of Street Fighter a few times a year?  That would not be a very wise thing to do, and I am at least trying to get through my life a little wiser than I was at the beginning.

Till next time, have a safe and happy holiday, if you have a holiday.  In fact how about I just wish a blanket safety and happiness to everyone?

James

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6 thoughts on “Used to be Hardcore

  1. SinSynn says:

    I’m not really sure which way I’ll be going this generation. I’ve owned a console every generation since Pong.
    Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, Famicom and the supernintendo, playstation 1 and 2 and 3, Xbox, Xbox 360 and a buncha gaming PC’s.
    I actually think this generation will see some major changes in gaming formats- will we see the end of disc-based games? A move to free-to-play, micro transaction games? Lots of DLC games?
    I dunno, but I think it’s gonna be very, very interesting…
    Still, I’ll prolly buy a PS4. The XBone looks too wacked for words. No one wanted a Kinect, so naturally they’re forcing it on everyone.
    Yeah, that always goes over big.
    -_-

    • beat ronin says:

      Hey Sinsynn, yeah I agree there could be big changes in the air. The way things seem to be going though, the next gen consoles look to be more of the same in terms of the kinds of games they’re offering.

      I read something over the weekend which was an article about an eighty-year old game designer (he’d been in the industry since the beginning) who reckons that a disaster is coming for the video games industry. They’ve been too complacent for too long and it’s only indie developers who are even trying (and not very hard, he thinks) to think up new sorts of games. It was interesting in light of the proposed catalogue for the next gens, which to me looks like “more of the shooters and other franchises you love! And different shooters! And new franchises!”

      Blah.

  2. Rob F. says:

    Funnily enough, I’ve never been a major console gamer. My first console was the first Xbox, and I got that mostly for Halo. But I’m in a similar mood to you; $600 on a new console really seems like a waste of money I could put to lots of other things.

    I’m also giving up on the idea of the console as a party device, which I think is the other main thing I got a console for – I bought three extra controllers for my original Xbox with the idea of Parties At My Place, but very rarely used them. Nor was I much for LAN parties. Now, at least, letting go of that idea is helping me relax around other people instead of trying to just get games with them.

    • beat ronin says:

      Hi Rob, yeah, I gave up on the party thing too. That era has passed. If it’s not online multiplayer people find it too hard logistically. I also suspect that when you do actually get a bunch of grown-ups in a room (which is hard to do with lives and families and all that), the last thing they want to do is sit in front of a screen together.

      I could maybe see it working in a share-house of young adults, but even then, most games are designed these days for that sort of play to be impossible anyway.

  3. Bush Craft says:

    Although I’ve always had a strong love for consoles I’ve never owned one. My dad had the classics when I grew up (Atari, intellivision, etc…) and my friends all had SNES or N64 or whatever through highschool. After that, my roommates had PS2 or Xbox. I’ve been strongly considering getting one for home when my boys get older but where’s that leave me? The Wii, I suppose. Ewwww. One of the milestones of modern parenting, after potty training but before the minivan. I’m surprised you’re not considering the same thing, I think our kids are about the same age right? Super Mario Olympic Games for life, bro. Wii Bowling is HARDCORE.

    Only after you make it through that do you get to crush them at Super Street Fighter XXII Turbo when they get older 😉

    • beat ronin says:

      Hey BC, I’ve never even seen a Wii in person. I’m not familiar enough with it to be comfortable getting one. Hey, maybe I’ll just wait and see what my son and his mates are playing in 2026, and fiddle around with that?

      “Move over boys, I used to be a gun at SF. Now, let me … what the? Ryu is a girl now? Why are they moving so fast? Just let me – AH GODAMMIT!”

      Then slink away, stage left.

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