Here’s how disconnected from the gaming mainstream I feel.

I’d been having such a good experience playing the late-adoption game with the PSP that, when I heard about my quarterly bonus, I considered trying it again with one of the HD Twins. After all, people have been telling me for years that the Wii is a stupid baby system with no games, and if you’re really serious about the hobby, the Xbox 360 or PS3 is where it’s at. Before, I hadn’t been able to support more than one system+portable combination at once, but with the Wii on life support, the DS nearly dead, the 3DS not having a compelling library yet, and PSP games being so cheap as to be nearly worthless, why not close this hole in my gaming experience?

So I went to Metacritic. (Which, yes, I know is not the be-all-end-all, but I still consider it a good resource for figuring out what games I should be aware of and making sure I don’t overlook anything really important.) And proceeded to become incredibly depressed.

The PS360 library is just shooter after shooter after shooter, with the occasional tournament fighter and plastic instrument game thrown in for spice. Even games which, you know, aren’t really shooters (like Portal and Mass Effect) use an FPS interface. I have zero interest whatsoever in shooters, and even less in shooters that look like the sidewalk after a rainstorm, which appears to be all of them, currently. The thing about the PSP was that it was a niche system that clustered around games and genres I liked a lot — RPGs, tactical RPGs, and platformers. The occasional shooter or God of War game was just a bone thrown to the Sony faithful. The Xbox 360 and PS3 are almost the exact opposite, being built on a foundation of games I have almost no interest in and engaging me only on the fringes. Even at cheap, I don’t see a lot there.

To get my money’s worth out of an HD system I’d have to soften my stance on games from “no shooters” to “shooters that are good enough to make me overcome my distaste for shooters”. I mean, you don’t have to get too deep before you’re starting to look at things like Sands of Time HD and the Team ICO collection as potential gets, and I don’t really want to buy a new console for ports of ten-year-old games, even ones I haven’t played and probably should.

“Dusting off the Wii” is so common that it’s become a cliche, as the system is infamous for long software droughts (like the one it’s currently in), but I have a feeling that if I’d gone all-in on a PS360 at launch it’s a cliche that would have applied to me. If you’re cutting out first-person shooters, third-person shooters, survival horror, open-world sandbox games, tournament fighters, and music games… the HD systems start to have a pretty barren release schedule themselves. I’ve no doubt that the systems have deep and varied libraries for many, and perhaps most, people, but they don’t for me. I’m not really looking for people to say “What? No, I had tons of fun with my Xbox, don’t put words in my mouth” or give me recommendations; I’m just trying to express how I feel.

The worst part is that this appears to be the way the industry is headed, if E3 is any indication. This stuff sells, and has become what the “core gamer” expects out of the experience. Even Nintendo appears to be retreating back to this crowd rather than compete for the casual crowd with Apple’s McGames, as every game they announced for the WiiU looks to be of this set — gritty, “mature” action games and shooters with a muted color palette and not an ounce of originality or life between them. If this is where we’re going, where does that leave me, a gamer with no interest in this? I still love games — I don’t feel like I’ve outgrown the hobby or am ready to leave it behind. But I also don’t feel like I should be forced to play genres I hate just for the pleasure of moving characters around a screen and interacting with a game world.


1 Response to “Here’s how disconnected from the gaming mainstream I feel.”

  1. 1 yakkotank August 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    My sentiments exactly.

    At this point, I have little confidence that the PSV and 3DS will fit my preferences as much as the PSP and DS did.

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