New Consoles and Why I Finally Feel Old.
Before I start getting into the meat and potatoes of this post, let me state one thing at the outset: Blair and I will be hosting (along w/ some of your other fave peeps) Microsoft’s E3 coverage. Keep in mind however, that I truthfully have only as much info on what’s going down as you do. This post is 100% MY OPINION only and based on nothing more than what I saw today. So take that as you will by the end of this post.
Let’s get to it. Time to be controversial.
Despite popular opinion, both from video game media outlets and consumers, I - for one - enjoyed the Microsoft announcement. I went into the whole thing expecting the reveal to be all about the hardware and a few game trailers. Would I have liked to have seen more games highlighted? Of course! Would I have liked more details & clarification on the Xbox One? Of course! Am I disappointed by what I did see? Not at all. And here’s why:
1. Maybe it is just me, but I always expected this to be a bit of a “sneak peek” and not the whole enchilada. After all, E3 is just 19 days away and they have to have something to surprise you with from the show. Why blow your load at the get-go? This presentation was actually a BRILLIANT maneuver, because when E3 comes around all eyes will be on Microsoft to see what their games line-up will be. And as far as the, “Well, E3 isn’t open to the public,” argument goes. True. But there is a ton of live coverage via video, live blogging, live tweeting, and articles all over the ‘net.
If after all that, you’re still struggling to find out the news in a timely manner - then you’re doing it wrong.
2. Lack of backward compatibility: While I understand the knee-jerk reaction of “No backward compatibility - WTF!?” from a consumer standpoint, let’s be honest: how many times have you REALLY gone back and played old games on a new system? My guess? Not very often. In fact, in my case, I always made a big stink over it and….never ONCE played an old game on a new system. NOT ONCE.
That being said - I DO agree that there needs to be some sort of management system in place, especially now that everything is starting to go cloud & streaming based, that keeps track of the games you buy and allows you to play/access them on any compatible gaming system that you have. There is absolutely NO REASON why you should have to buy the same title over and over (unless you choose to do so for some sort of beefed up re-release. In which case, that’s your own prerogative). This goes double for games people DL from XBL Arcade. While I might not play my Xbox360 triple-A titles on my Xbox One, I will 100% want to replay indie games like FEZ/Super Meat Boy/Minecraft on my new system and do not want to have to repurchase them to do so.
3. The Kinect is the Big Brother of 2013: I can see why most people are freaked out a little by this. “OMG. The Kinect will be able to watch me masturabte on my couch!” First of all, On your couch!? Are you watching porn on your TV or something?! What the Hell? You should be getting it free off the internet and relieving yourself shamefully in the bathroom with your iPad like the rest of us!
Ha! Seriously though, while I don’t know for sure, I can’t imagine that there’s not some sort of “off” switch or privacy/sleep mode that they’re going to implement in with the Kinect. Hey, look at the bright side - if nothing else you can prove that that your college nickname is TOTES TRUE,’Y’ALL! (Or untrue. I suppose it depends on how fortunate or unfortunate you are). 8=D
4. “This is nothing more than a home entertainment system that happens to play games!” Aaaaannndddd…what’s wrong with that? Are you telling me that “core” (whatever the Hell that term means anymore) gamers don’t watch movies? Or TV? If that is so, then I don’t want to see ONE SINGLE EFFING “CORE” GAMER tweet/blog/Tumblr/FB update or comment on the new ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT season that’s coming up on Netflix (which you can watch on all 3 current systems FYI). I’m sure you’re too busy being hard core and playing games all day to care what the Bluth’s are doing anyhow. You’re banned from Game of Thrones too. Personally, I am looking forward to seamlessly maneuvering between my game play/ TV shows and music via voice command. It’ll be a lot better than using my WiiU as my exclusive Netflix controller.
Here’s an eye-opener folks: The MINUTE the PlayStation 2 started playing DVDs is when this market shifted from only games to home entertainment.
Listen. Let me hit the point I’m trying to make before I get hormonally riled up: I am JUST as excited for the PlayStation 4 as I am for the Xbox One (I do find it terribly funny that I haven’t seen any mention of the WiiU in this console war. Remember - that’s Nintendo’s next-gen offering). I just didn’t speak up as much about the PS4 because I was about to squeeze a person out of my vagina in a few days and my priorities were elsewhere. Go figure.
I am excited for GAMING. Not just one system over the other. And this next statement is the whole point of this post and why “I feel old” is in the header: I grew up with my first system being an Atari 2600. I remember what it was like to think PONG was the shit. To have your mind blown when games went 16 bit. If people didn’t like a game, guess what? They just DIDN’T BUY IT. I remember being stunned that I was able to play a fishing mini game in LOZ: Ocarina of Time. Thinking that I could easily teach myself martial arts by watching the Soul Calibur characters go through their forms. Accessing the internet with my DreamCast. Shitting myself while playing Silent Hill on the PlayStation. Playing co-op online with the Xbox. The list of awesome gaming experiences I have had throughout the years could go on and on.
And THAT is why I am always stoked during new system launches and cycles. I said it in a tweet earlier today and I’ll reiterate it here: Maybe it’s because I can remember back to when home console gaming was practically nothing. When no one took gaming seriously, “nerd” was still a put-down rather than the coolest kid on campus and being a “gamer” certainly wasn’t a lifestyle label. That’s why when I see gaming moving forward through graphics, story, voiceover, entertainment, immersion and interactivity I get all tingly inside!
I’m not a Sony/Msft/Nintendo fan girl. I’m not a “core” gamer. I’m not a casual gamer. I’m not die-hard PC only. I’m not disappointed by seeing hardware be the focus of an event, or pissed off that I have to wait 19 days to hear about a game that offers mages rather than football as a choice…
I’m a person who plays games for fun and gets excited for cool new shit. Because I remember when we didn’t have any of it. And thus, the age gap has finally reared its ugly head at me and I feel old.
In closing - here’s the last of my two cents - take it or leave it as you will: Educate yourself on these new systems as much as you can. Read/listen to what the gaming media is saying but also do your own research. Seriously think about your own wants and needs in a system and what it is that will fit into your entertainment/gaming style. Don’t just go for something because everyone else is saying you should or that it’s better.
This medium is costing serious money nowadays and it’s coming out of YOUR pocket: not IGN’s, not Machinima’s or Kotaku’s or anyone else’s. So don’t just jump on anyone’s bandwagon because they’re screaming the loudest. Do the best you can finding out the info you need and be OPEN MINDED until you get as much information as you can.
Because at the end of the day, whether a presentation was flashy enough or not, whether this reviewer liked it or that one didn’t, whether the a-holes on Twitter call you a moron for enjoying something they thought was stupid, whether you prefer Sony or Msft or Nintendo… none of us, and I mean none of us, knows how well these systems will work until we get them into our own homes and use them.
And remember to have fun.
(PS: This blog post has taken me from 3:00 till 6:38 to write. During that time I have changed 4 diapers, made 3 bottles, burped, wiped chins and gotten tons o’ smiles. Being a video game mama isn’t the easiest in the world but it certainly is the best gift I’ve been given. I can’t wait till my little nugget grows up and I can tell him about the “olden days.” When games were only in black & white, you had to change the source on your TV to switch between a show and a game and that there used to be video game stores that you physically had to go to. Ahhh..how fortunate and how spoiled we have all gotten).