Hardcore gamer knows best

  • Hi I'm sn00zer, figured I'd patron up after following for...I dunno.....long time...

    Been thinking about this quite a bit since delving into games years (decades?.....jeebus) ago. There has been a sentiment that games have gotten worse over time due to hand holding, simplified mechanics, etc. and that the hardcore audience has largely been left in the dust with the exception of Souls and [insert the franchise you like here].

    But really, you've just played too many games. Way more games than 99% of videogame consumers. The hardcore audience today has probably played 200+ more games than the hardcore audience 10 years ago. You might think the latest Batman game is lame because "its too much like the last three games" the thing is, most people havent played the last three games. That box puzzle in INSIDE you've seen a hundred times before most people have only seen once before at most. When you've replayed Wolf Among Us for the third time only to realize the decisions don't matter and are saddened by this, remember that the intent was to play it once, because that's how most people play it. Most of your perception of games comes from a place far far outside that of the average player.

    It's made me realized the "hardcore" audience who knows best is probably the worst sort of person to get a good idea of what gamers want. Looking down from an ivory tower of game knowledge of "that game you like actually sucks" or "how could that developer have such an easy puzzle" is such a poor way of looking at the gaming landscape today. You have to realize that tutorials and "been there done that" gameplay scenarios aren't for you, they are there for people who genuinely need tutorials and a basic explanations of how gaming rules work.

    Point is, being a hardcore gamer doesn't mean you have a good perspective of what gamers want, it gives you a great perspective on what you want. Let people decide for themselves if they are enjoying a game and nudge them in new directions instead of stopping them on the path they are currently on. So much negativity due to having so much experience, when you can have a much better time sharing your experience with others.

    This isn't aimed at anyone really, just aimed at the sentiment that's easy to fall into. Looking down on certain games and people who play them when you should be looking outwards at all the wonderful new stuff we got alongside the well trodden paths.

    I know I've fallen into the trap of grumbling during a tutorial or the 5000th time Ive slowly pulled a block from one room to another, but hell, if it means someone out there is learning how to use a stick or discovering the joy of pressure pads for the first time, then I guess I'm ok going through it one more time.

  • I do feel that this is directed at someone (just through it's use of language, the frequent 'you's), though unlikely anyone on here or a member of EZA. It's pretty specific, and assumes a lot of a pretty large portion of people.

    That said, it's an interesting read, and if I could pair it down to a thesis, it seems to me that you're talking about authority vs elitism. That gamers who are knowledgeable/well-played are either seen or see themselves as people who know better than others, and then the others' reaction, or perception of this leads to the other either appealing to their 'knowledge' (authority), or being put off by it (elitism).

    This isn't something that's specific to games of course. There's a reason why critics and audiences are referenced as different opinions entirely. There's the researched/person who has experienced similar things many, many times, the critic, and then there's the general public, the audience.

    I think your point here: "Point is, being a hardcore gamer doesn't mean you have a good perspective of what gamers want, it gives you a great perspective on what you want." is really all that can be said. Even the opinions of someone who hasn't played a game isn't a perspective of what gamers want. There isn't really a correct perspective of what gamers want, because it's a vague term that's technically hundreds of millions of different people.

    When it comes to what you think of games, all you can really do is speak for yourself.

  • I like your point of the authority v. elitism and other's reaction to it. Although I think the other's reaction comes from the presentation of that knowledge rather than just leaving their reaction decoupled from the presenter.

    I am EXTREMELY put off by the "this game the worst" or "this game is the best" that has been popularized with youtube and thus gaming culture in the last few years. I like EZA and the general community of positivity because they talk about games they like and don't like, and don't too often say a game is just bad, usually its just not for them. Its something that's weirdly become absent in recent years in general discourse when EZA becomes the exception rather than the rule.

    So I guess the "you" is the negativity I fall into sometimes when when disappointing game announcements come out, or that game I've anticipated for years isn't quite shaping up, or when I'm pushing that block for the billionth time. And its the "you" I feel like its easy to fall into this day in age when negativity in the gaming community is on full blast all the time.

    So its actually kind of nice when there is a community out there that actively avoids this

    So no EZA dudes and dudettes, its not you, you guys are great. :)

  • Global Moderator

    Interesting read!

    I do think one of the "problems" are as well that once a medium, like gaming becomes larger and larger, more people get interested in trying it. If all games then would just aim towards "us hardcore" the gaming industry would scare off a lot of newcomers and loose input and value.

    The problem with getting more people into it, as well as having access to the internet all the time is that it also attract all kinds of people. Someone said ones "People have always been this stupid, its just that before we didnt have access to internet so we actually could see it".

    Also when you care about something, have a passion, like us with games, it is very easy to get into a "safe zone" where we got what we like, how we like it and if it changes we rather yell at it than try it, change is hard for a lot of people. Also as mentioned, once we have seen same things over and over and over, we get tired of it, but we need to remember that the game we are playing might be someones first game ever, then we can't scare them away just because "we want something new".

  • I don't think "negativity" is a problem—far from it. "Jadedness," sure. "Reactionary behavior," definitely. "Vitriol and hate speech," for damn sure, but not "negativity." Never the blanket statement that homogenizes and marginalizes less than sunny-side-up perspectives and worldviews." "Negativity" promotes caution—the opposite of reaction—as well as diversity and discourse. The other side of the coin from this jaded "hardcore gaming" culture, is the zeitgeist of conformity: You have to like the games other people like and hate the games other people hate. This even extends to game features: Dialogue choices, good, story/characters written one way, bad. Open world, good, linear game, bad. Dark Souls, good, Ubisoft game, bad. Thing I like and know, good, thing I don't like or don't know about, bad.

    And, let's be honest, the people who espouse the virtues of "positive thinking" sound alternatively like the kind of anti-vaxers who want to talk to you about your "energies" and the prosperity doctrine preachers who want you to buy them a jet. But I guess that's just me being negative.

  • @sn00zer_neo Like the post. could make for a good opinion piece with going into more depth.

    I think sometimes ppl can be to critical because of the nostalgia they have for games they got to experience during a time in history where everything we saw in games was new. I say this because I know Ive been guilty of it, but also when I'm looking at a games user reviews specifically with the resurgence of cRPG's. The negative reviews are usually from ppl that are comparing every detail to the old versions and go on about how it's watered down and it's not as complex etc. Not that their criticism isn't valid, but experiencing a open world with complex decisions the first time isn't the same 18 years later after thousands of game releases.

    A lot of serious gamers are trying to recapture their favourite moments.

  • Something I've been annoyed with modern games is the importance of game length.

    I understand that games are expensive and people want to get their money's worth. But I feel that there's some unwritten rule that games must be at least 12 hours in length otherwise they will be slammed for being too short.

    I'm afraid the solution is just more padding. I hate padding. There are side quests that feel unnecessary and more of a chore rather than playing a game. Games should be fun, not work. I get that pacing must be considered and a good ride has ups and downs.

    But do I really need to keep tapping X or A to open this damn vent cover or door? I don't feel like I'm relating to the character struggling to overcome this obstacle. Rather, it has the opposite effect on me. It completely removes me from the game and experience when the game takes a second to stop and to tell me exactly what button I have to push and when I have to push it in order to execute something. I don't know if this is a product of padding or the need for immersive experiences, but either way they need to cut that shit out.

  • @matt said in Hardcore gamer knows best:

    Something I've been annoyed with modern games is the importance of game length.

    Yes. Two recent examples come to mind. Recore and Hyper Light Drifter. Hyper Light Drifter was a very tight package that didn't have a complex about the experience it was going for. It wasn't a huge game by any means, but it was a quality experience as a result. No glut, no worthless time sinks, no annoying content padding. Perfect.

    Recore on the other hand could have been a similar experience however design choices seem to indicate the game wasn't happy with presenting a tighter package and suffered for it. It had this AAA complex even though it tried to distance itself from the $60 model.

    In fact the $60 model is something I would like to see change. If publishers could value their products as they saw fit, and then demonstrate that value to the customer I think we would see better quality and fewer sacrifices. Delays, cut content, compromises all result from a resource crunch that is dictated by release schedules and the known price point. There are already some creative ways around this, but the $60 shackle needs to break at some point, especially when there are so many ways to make games interesting these days. I would have paid $110 dollars for A MGSV with no micro-transactions and a completed chapter 3 for example. Who knows if Konami was invested in making that product though.

    In regards to the original post, a subsection of impassioned fans (for which there are groups for almost every pastime out there) will take things too seriously. However, it's impossible to be right or wrong on opinions on the state of gaming today. We are all fans, we all choose to dedicate time to an activity we enjoy, and we all participate in the market that makes up this picture. Some games are too easy, some games hit the right notes, there is progress in areas, and there are practices that crop up that are unpopular. There are also people like us, who spend a lot of time playing, discussing and interacting with games outside of our monitor time. The important thing is to ensure we vote with our money and our time in the things we do enjoy and hope that a market remains for those things to be created. I would argue that the hardcore audience is better informed by investment alone. Does that invalidate the opinion of someone who's only gaming knowledge comes from playing mobile games for 5 minutes a week? No, but it sure will make it different.

    Being a hardcore gamer doesn't mean it's impossible to have a good perspective on the market and what people want. Not being able to look past our own preferences and tastes and acknowledge that people are diverse in what they like, that is what makes a good perspective impossible.

  • Very good read!

    I do agree with a lot of your points, but I want to focus on "being a hardcore gamer doesn't mean you have a good perspective of what gamers want, it gives you a great perspective on what you want.". This is absurdly true.
    We mostly only see the hardcore gamers on forums, because those are the ones that seeks them out wanting to discuss and talk about video games. We discuss on forums with people who are passionate about games, we get our news/impressions from people who are passionate about games.
    It's not hard to see why one can easily think that a vast majority of people who play games are serious about it.

    But there's a reason why Candy Crush has generated billions of dollars while games like Persona 4 Golden didn't even break 1.5 million copies sold. There's a reason why Pacific rim was outdone in the box office by Grown ups 2.
    There are so many unheard voices that simply doesn't really care about the games industry, this can be applied to any industry really. While we might care about the concepts of deep mechanics, audiovisual correspondency, ludonarrative dissonance, well written characters, high frame-rate etc. etc. a hell of a lot of people, obviously don't.

    It's always gonna be someones first time experiencing a game series, game genre or even video games itself. You can't place someone totally unexperienced with games infront of Dark souls and say "This is the best! I love this game". They probably don't get why and it might turn them off video games for good. The first time you ever watched a movie, I bet you didn't think "This cinematography is atrocious!", and it's the same thing with video games. It might not be a game you like, but if they enjoy it, it might just be their gateway into this fantastic medium we all love hold so very dear.