Sunday Thoughts: Apathy

Sometimes it’s hard to care. In fact not just sometimes, most of the time it can be hard to care. This week, in the UK, there were several elections that took place. In Brighton we had local elections and the national referendum on whether or not we should change the voting system. 39% of people in my area turned out. It really is very easy to just not care. It’s pretty easy to care too much as well, we’ve all had that thing someone said that really hurt more than it should. The only hard thing is caring just the right amount, perspective is a hard thing to find.

Sometimes I find it hard to care about the games that come out. Oddly it’s not the bad ones that are hard to care about. They’re actually pretty easy to care about, by their very nature of being bad. They get under you skin, they make you shout and scream and want to put your controller through the wall in frustration; particularly when you have to review them so you can’t just stop playing. However, the good games, the games that you know are going to be good can be hard to care about.

[drop]Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. There are good games that I can’t make a connection with, but I mean more the games that are good enough, the games that sit around the 7 mark, the games that aren’t bad but aren’t great either. Games like Prototype, which I really enjoyed at the time but can remember almost literally nothing about now. I guess I drop-kicked helicopters a lot? Oh and you ate people. I think. That’s about it.

Now there was nothing bad about the game, it was actually pretty enjoyable at the time. I’m almost certain I had fun with it, or I would have stopped playing it. Given that I have no attention span something has to be fairly good for me to pay attention to it for more than five minutes. However, it just never grabbed hold of me and left a real mark; it just didn’t make me care.

Surely I can’t be alone in this? The gaming industry’s ramped up so much in recent years that it’s impossible to care about everything, even stuff that’s good or looks interesting. Take L.A. Noire. It looks good, in fact it’s one of those rare games that looks like it might actually live up to the mound of hopes and expectations piled upon it. And yet somehow, for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to get excited about it in any way. I’m sure it will be exceptional, and is probably going to be very positively received. There’s just something about it that’s missing, some undefinable quantity that makes you care about x rather than y.

[drop2]I mean there’s no good reason I should care about Halo more than Killzone. Some of you will say that’s because I don’t own a PS3, but I care about some other franchises on Sony’s platform. inFamous has managed to grab hold of my attention with an iron vice and even Uncharted, a series that I’d previously felt remarkably ambivalent about, is holding my interest this time around. Apparently Naughty Dog have found the secret sauce that makes me pay attention. It’d be nice if I could figure out what it was.

Perhaps it sounds harsh to say I don’t care about some games. There’s some nagging bit of my brain, probably my conscience, that tells me I’m supposed to care about every game equally, to give them equal weight in my mind. I mean I write about this stuff, I should at least try and be fair to every single game that some poor developer somewhere has sweated over, has poured their sweat and blood into. How can you not feel guilty when you know what goes into producing a single moment of a single game, let alone the experience as a whole?

Sadly I’m just human for now. Maybe one day I’ll be able to move up and care about everything equally, or just not care about anything at all. Or perhaps I should just accept my own apathy and get a little perspective.

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13 Comments

  1. I’m struggling to care about any game except Uncharted 3 that’s coming up.

    So many other games that have been hyped over the last few years have been a total waste of my money as I simply haven’t played them. I sold MGS4 after playing half an hour of it. I played KZ3 for about 2 hours and it’s never gone back in the playstation. Shift 2 held my attention for around a week. Blops had far less playtime than the MW2 or MW. F1 2010 I didn’t even finish a season.

    Uncharted 2, Gran Turismo 5, CoD Modern Warfare 1 & 2. Those are the games that have held my attention this generation.

  2. I think it is on a very personal level that we truly care about games. If you’ve always wanted to be a detective then LA noire will strike a cord with you, a cowboy then Red Dead Redemption, a gear head then Gran Turismo. Other times it can just be a good story that connects to your personal life or ideals that makes us take note, that is generally what happens with me.

    • I think that’s exactly right. I’m desperate to get my hands on Mortal Kombat (hopefully next pay day) and I think a lot of that is because of the memories of playing it as a kid.
      Equally, I’m a petrolhead so I love GT. Games like Mass Effect or LBP, although excellent, just don’t grab me the same way

  3. When you say care about a game, its something i dont really understand tbh, the ones i care about are the ones which grab my attention, unique and the ones not given a lot of credit

    i played prototype for roughly 5 mins, got bored took it out and gave it back to my friend, i do not care for that game then :P

    Well as owning a PS3 and have been loyal to Sony for many years i will always be interested in what exclusives they have coming out next, e.g. Uncharted 3, Resistance 3 are all grabbing my attention at the moment. However, the likes on Infamous, LBP 2 never got or have my attention and i really dont care about the games, i loved the first on both series but theres just something about them which doesnt make them interesting to me.

    Its the unique games that come out which i really care about, Demon’s Souls, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, Assassin’s Creed series are games i really enjoyed and id never played a game like them before which made them very memorable for me. As for LA Noire it looks like it will give me the same feeling which makes me very excited for it.

    Then we have the games which get no attention from the media or many gamers in fact, these include the likes of Mx Vs Atv Reflex, AVP, Castlevania, Enslaved etc. which are all good games and ones i care very much about.

    hope this makes sense lol

  4. Kinda know the feeling, I’ve tended to buy for the mp online game but with the obvious current events, I’ve been going through the single player games I’ve got.
    Red Dead Redemption has got me by the curlies this time, seriously enjoying it, I’ve played through all my cod games as I’d only previously done MW all the way through.
    Played socom & motorstorm too, which I enjoyed. But I kinda wonder that most of us buy purely for online to play with mates and neglect the sp modes?

  5. I have to say I feel similar. The sheer apathy towards games that I have at the moment means that I don’t seem to want any more games. I’m bored of my current games but can’t seem to want any game enough.

    • I know how u feel. I have a boatload (roughly 10 or so) games on my shelf to actually start and quite a few I have yet to see the ending of. Then there are the few that need cleaning up (finished the main story but still got side quests to do). Thing is I just can’t be bothered to do any of it. With PSN being down that also limits what I can play in terms of cleaning up and that makes me care even less.

      The thing that bothers me is that i’m kinda stuck in that the games I have I want them all but can’t bring myself to actually get around to playing them. There was some point in time where I wanted the game so much that I went and bought it and was happy it was on my shelf but now I can’t be bothered to play it and it makes me wonder if it was a total waste of money.

      I have been renting alot more recently which is better as I get to play the games I want but I don’t have to keep them and therefore don’t need to care about them.

  6. I am an rpg fan at heart and as such, a sucker for a good story.
    They are the kind of games that I “care” about.

    That said, I loved Dead Space, great story and gfx. The set pieces were good and the bum-nipping terror of some of the corridors was a spectacle to behold. I bought 2 on release and it has sat on my shelf since I finished the first chapter.

    I dunno, maybe I am easily distracted, or maybe I am just waiting for the next gripping story to take hold (possibly LA Noire?) and not let go.

  7. I feel the same way. Seems like theres alot of filler these days. Only exclusives I’m looking forward to is Uncharted 3 and God of War 4 ( even though it isn’t even announced ).

    I’m just waiting for GTA 5 because GTA is one series I can never get tired of.

    The rest get finished and never get touched again.

  8. Really I only care about two soon to be released games, and those are Deus Ex and ME3. I think I might just be a sci-fi nut, I’ve read nothing but Arthur C Clarke, Phillip K Dick, Stephen Baxter and Greg Bear lately, it’s probably their (blissful)influence at work.

  9. Oooh, simple answer here for me….The Gran Turismo series. I have played and loved every game in the franchise from start to finish and still own all five games in their cases. I intend to play GT5 tournaments etc. waayyy after the game’s completion (which is more or less done now) until GT6 is released for the PS5 in 2020. ;)

  10. very simple for me to truely care i need good characters and a story line which makes me want to learn more. most games just brush over these things at the mo which is a complete shame. On the LA noir thing for me Rockstar are one of the only developers who really do put enough effort into a game so that i the consumer really do care

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