My Gaming Diary for Saturday, June 20th, 2015 - The sad thing is that much of my gaming that was supposed to occur over the past two days has been derailed. One by a late night at work and an early evening in bed. Last night and all of this morning, I was agonizing over my next round of hardware upgrades (an Asus ZenFone 2 and LG Watch Urbane are inbound as a result). It is now midday and I am just getting myself organized for the next bout of gaming.
One small dip I did get into my gaming life was on Thursday night; the recording of Episode #10 of the Band of Gamers podcast. Part of my GWW off-duty activities, it’s a group of friends from an online gaming club who do a few bits, mainly for that club’s membership. While my two co-hosts were pretty up on this year’s E3 overall, and especially on Microsoft’s keynote, I was pretty underwhelmed. There were just very few things in this year’s conference that appealed to me. As I thought about our conversation on the show over the next day, I realized that I just wasn’t in love with anything going on in mainstream gaming. But I am also not very interested in the indie scene, either. I think I am realizing that I am still in the same gaming mode that I was in during my recent time in grad school. And maybe I never left that zone.
I still wind up being highly concerned about the potential return of fun per minute I invest in a game before I decide what to fire up. Racing games still deliver the highest ratio in that regard. I am pretty much guaranteed a solid fun quotient when I choose any system to bring online and start a racing game. But much of the other genres in the gaming space are not so much a sure thing. While the overall game experiences out there might be great, I am still highly dependent on a game being able to deliver steady fun in 15 - 20 minute increments. These are the joys of being a father and husband and dog owner. I never know when my game time is going to be interrupted.
However, this does not mean that I am looking for non-complex gaming experiences. This is often a misperception when the gaming master race regards gaming on mobile. I want equally satisfying tactical and strategic wargames, racing games chock full of cars and familiar, real-world tracks, and titles with beautiful music and story. But…
I need flexibility. I need a racing game that allows me to get under the hood when I want to, but also allows me to quickly hit the track and be 2 or 3-wide in a turn in two minutes or less, for example. And I find the friction in speed to immersion in today’s higher computing games often so much that it impacts that ability to engage in a satisfying gaming experience that can span 15 - 20 minutes or 2 hours. And I find it on both PC’s and consoles. Delayed installs, incomplete and disingenuous “installation complete” notifications, minimum event and task requirements before entering multiplayer…these are the current banes of 21st century console game and system design; factors that are far more prevalent on consoles than PC’s, in fact. There is also a cultural schism occurring in console online play where I typically feel like I am in a scene from the Walking Dead when I enter an online game arena, because everyone is in their own party chat and no one uses the public multiplayer channel.
I WANT to be back in love with gaming again, and universally across all of my systems. I want to feel that itch to sit down at my gaming laptop, hooked to a big screen and connect my Belkin n52 Gamepad, my Zalman GunMouse and the other peripherals in my Weapons Locker and game big on my high resolution displays with a pair of excellent headphones on. Or do the same on my Xbox One or PS4. But those gaming platforms have not been turned on in over a month. I love gaming on Android and iOS, but I do not want that to be all that I love.
Something’s gotta give and I’m not sure just what. I love Destiny, which I have for both the XB1 and PS4, but I feel like I can play that whenever. And the lack of saves and the outlawed right to pause in that game are not conducive to an interruptible gaming environment. While I deride the percentage of this generation’s game offerings that are made up of remasters, I guess I am happy for the multiplayer ones. They’ll give me a chance to reconnect with people on my Friends list who I played the originals with. Kind of like a gamer’s high school reunion. Maybe that is all that I can hope for until either the gaming industry changes or I do.
Is this my version of MacPherson’s Lament or is it MacPherson’s Rant? You decide.
Be sure to share your on lament, rant, or warm hugs in the comments below. I am very interested to hear everyone’s introspective thoughts on how you regarded E3 and how it left you feeling as a member of the greater world’s gaming community.