I have realised that when writing an opinion piece I’m too keen to pick out a problem with games or gaming in general. There’s certainly a lot of things I have issues with and things that I perceive as needing “fixing”.
However, something that perhaps doesn’t come across is that there’s plenty of things I love in gaming, things that should be praised and held up for the world to see. So today I’d like to take a little time to highlight a few elements of games and gaming culture that I love, things that make me smile. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it seems there’s a few things worth saying.
I love how games can bring people together and make them do the most ridiculous things. If you need to ask what kind of ridiculous things you clearly missed these videos, but I suspect most of you are familiar with me dancing. I know a lot of people aren’t too keen on motion gaming but I wonder if you’d tried dancing like a loon with your friends? Or have you played Rock Band and realised you were rocking out? Hell, even leaning side to side when playing a racing a game is quite clearly ridiculous.[drop2]I could perhaps boil this down to games are fun, but that’s a little too obvious. It’s the ridiculous element that I simply love, and one of the things that I think motion gaming has really got right. It’s just plain silly, and counter balances an era of gaming that seems to have become overly serious. Silliness should still be celebrated, it’s not all about gritty realism as you shoot a drug baron between the eyes.
I touched on this in the ridiculous section, but I love the way that gaming brings people together. Yes, online gaming is great (and I’ve had brilliant moments with the TSA community at times) but nothing beats the way that gaming can really bind together a group in the same room. Playing an informal FIFA tournament for a few hours with a group of mates and pizza is simply brilliant, but equally brilliant is playing Wii bowling with your family on Boxing Day. It’s a very different experience for sure but the core is still the same, the game is tying you all together for that period of time.
More controversially perhaps I love DLC. I’m not saying I love DLC in all of its forms but I love developers being able to go back and add new features to a game, to include things that didn’t quite make the cut before the game had to go gold. Not only do they allow for developers to add their own ideas to games but, in some cases, it allows the ideas of fans to be brought into a game. There are certainly developers and publishers who are using it in ways that can seem greedy, but just think of this: they added vampires to Skyrim – how is that not brilliant?
Finally, and in spite of what I talked about last Sunday, I love downloadable stores and what they’ve done for gaming. They’re not perfect by any means, even Steam has problems at times, but I love the way they’ve brought smaller, more unique titles back to the forefront of gaming. AAA games will likely always be the industry’s big guns, but smaller titles open up new avenues and present ideas that probably wouldn’t appear when huge sums of money are on the line.
Downloadable stores also cut the other way, giving an outlet and exposure to developers who might find it difficult without them. They’re allowing a new generation of talent to flourish and that’s absolutely changed gaming for the better.
As I noted this isn’t an exhaustive list, it would simply be impractical to list everything I love, but sometimes it’s nice to be positive about this medium we all love. Hopefully I’ll remember that more in the future.