Friday, July 23, 2010

Lack of scarcity breeds greedy gamers

As is the case with most of these rants, I read something online the other day that finally pushed me over the edge, forcing a self-indulgent post out of me.

I know it’s the job of each generation to hate the one coming up behind it, and I swore I’d never be that guy (as I’m sure most people do), but I can’t help it when it comes to the “modern gamer.”

As I began Ratchet and Clank, I decided to click on over to gamefaqs to get an idea of about how long the title is.

In a discussion on game length, someone stated that R&C lasted about 15 hours, maybe 25 if you went for 100 percent completion. The original poster asked what he would get for 100 percent completion and was told, “nothing.”

To this, the original poster asked what the point was in playing the game so much if he didn’t “get” something and then complained, since there are no trophies for this particular title, what was the point in playing it at all?

To play the freaking game! That’s the point!

I don’t know if parents simply shower more gifts upon their kids these days or if easier access to rentals and cheaper used titles are to blame, but back in my day (fidgets with cane and adjusts spectacles) we were lucky to get more than a couple titles a year.

When we finished a game we played it again. And again. And again. I distinctly remember running through Metal Gear Solid 15 times before I was able to move on to Legend of Dragoon. My siblings and I had every nook and cranny of the NES Mario games memorized.

When Crash Bandicoot Warped came out for the PS2 -with all its secrets, additional objectives and goal times peppered through each level- I thought I had hit the jackpot. I wasn’t worried about unlocking some super-weapon or receiving a phone call from Naughty Dog congratulating me for being teh bezt gamezorz evar. I knew I was going to play each level a dozen times anyway. The added bonuses for multiple plays was just icing on the cake.

I suppose that’s the real problem. Kids today simply don’t know what it was like to be a gamer from the 80s and 90s. The hobby takes nowhere near the flak it used to and new games flood into Target or the digital marketplace every week. They’ve never learned how to appreciate what they have because something new is always seven days away.

My fear is that this newer generation of gamers simply can’t appreciate these titles the same way older gamers do. You have to experience scarcity to appreciate abundance, and that’s something many of these whippersnappers know nothing about.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play Ratchet and Clank for no other reason than to enjoy it.

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