Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Static

It finally happened. After an entire year of regular posts as a result of fairly consistent game consumption, I have hit a bit of a wall. The three games I have at home, Venetica, Majin & the Forsaken Kingdom and Create, do not inspire the sort of avid attention I would normally give more desirable titles. Truthfully, I am suffering from media overload and taking a bit of a break from the noise by catching up on some mindless television via Netflix, reading a lot of graphic novels, such as Fables and Sandman, and making plans with friends. I think it’s mainly because I don’t really care about any of the games people in the ever-streaming video game journalism world are currently chattering about. The EA/Bulletstorm controversy seems old and stale – the product of a high-fiving marketing team of dudes facing a finger-wagging group of concerned parents, psychology ‘experts’ and the ever-alienated ‘girl’ gamer audience. I watched the trailer and thought it looked hilarious, but then again I am less sensitive to these overarching political ‘issues’ that people love to drag to every table as though making a negative point about something will somehow lessen its marketable value. People love extremes, so if Bulletstorm is judged based solely on its playability and fun-factor and turns out to be a terribly executed game, it will still be purchased and rented by the millions so a whole bunch of hardcore gamers can nonchalantly say it’s nothing special. That marketing staff, while under fire in the public world, is still high-fiving behind closed doors. And it’s boring. Yes, video games are violent. Yes, sometimes they are sexual. So are books, movies, music, etc. The difference continues to be that parents don’t seem to be held as accountable to the rating system of games as they are to other mediums, as though keeping your child from seeing a NC-17 rated movie is excruciatingly more difficult than keeping them from playing a Mature rated game. I remember getting into passive aggressive arguments with parents while working at Blockbuster:

Me: “Just to let you know, the game your ten year old picked out, Grand Theft Auto III, is rated M for Mature and is recommended for people over 17 due to mature subjects such as violence and sexuality.”
Parent: “Whatever, they will just play it at their friend’s house anyway.”
Me: *shakes head in revulsion*

I am an adult – I understand that shooting bitches in the face is only acceptable when it is simulated in a heavily animated, completely fantastical format using a controller. As a twelve year old I understood this as well, but lucky for me my mother paid avid attention to what I was reading/watching/playing and kept me flush in puzzle games, Zelda and the Baby-Sitters Club books so I wouldn’t even be tempted to search out my own instruments of media terror. Oh, and she played with me. I remember watching her march through Hyrule to rescue Zelda just as clearly as I recall doing it myself. I have fond memories of pills falling from the sky in Dr. Mario and marveling at her color-matching skills. I hate these arguments so much. Parents need to parent. Media needs to be kept uncensored but rated accordingly.

*steps down from soapbox*

Anyway…I’m semi-interested in Dead Space 2, but not without finishing the first one, which right now I have no desire to do. If while reading this you think I am being grumpy, I am not. I am just uninspired and in need of a break. I have fallen victim to too many announcements, editorials and controversies in the video game journalism and promotional world due to a devout attention to Twitter feeds and an overload of Google Reader subscriptions. I joined Twitter to find people to play with and discovered just how much I love playing alone. My devotion to this interactive, virtual world is very personal and intimate. By listening too closely to everyone else’s opinions to try to ferret out ‘information’, I started to feel less connected to playing and more paranoid about how my opinions would come across in the grand schematic of journalistic networking. My original intent when I started this blog was becoming lost in outside voices and I needed to take a huge step away from it all in order to gain some perspective and remember that I started this simply because I love video games. From Tetris to Assassin’s Creed, I have been interacting with games since as far back as I can remember because I love the feel of a controller in my hand and the sense of adventure and accomplishment when progressing through the digital landscape. I read a lot of books, I see a lot of movies, and I play a lot of video games. And right now I am working on getting back to my roots by disconnecting from a large portion of the world of press releases and opinionated chatter and focusing back on writing about personal reflections and experiences while simply playing.

So if February starts to pass quickly by without a lot of regular posts from me, just know that it’s just because I am a little burnt out and in need of a breather. If anyone who likes graphic novels hasn’t read the Fables series, I would highly recommend it. In anticipation of our trip to Boston for PAXEast in 28 days, I logged in to Orbitz and reassigned our airline seats (it’s the little things). I will probably leisurely play Stacking, Double Fine’s newest downloadable, in the next week. I continue to play Chime because it’s magnificently beautiful and incredibly useful for mindless video game meditation. Oh, and speaking of sex and violence, I finally preordered Dragon Age 2, the one game coming out in the next month that I am truly excited about:


And, somehow, taking a break now, after my 100th post, seems quite fitting. See you soon.

http://www.itallstartedwithchronotrigger.com

3 comments:

Nick Cummings said...

I've been there a few times. Sometimes you need to disconnect, decompress, and spend a little time on some other things.

I know it's trite, but there's a saying that...well, I totally forgot it, but basically: It's really hard to write when you're not being inspired by the things around you.

Looking forward to reading more once you're in the mood to write again!

Klopzi said...

If you'd like something to cleanse your gaming palate and perhaps renew your love of gaming, might I suggest You Don't Know Jack?

It's a silly little quiz game that offers a lot of content. It's cheap - only $29.99. And it is the funniest game I've ever played. I can only think of a couple of jokes in The Curse of Monkey Island that even come close.

Of course, spending time with friends is not a bad thing either...

Jessica said...

Thanks for the suggestion -- that's a really good idea. :) I haven't played a YDKJ game in a long time. Come on, tax refund!