Friday, May 13, 2011

Video Games (MMORPG's) Rigged To Blow (Games Are Art?)

EDITED plenty of times on 5/13-14

Okay, we're back online.  Blogspot was undergoing "maintenance" not for one hour but for two days so I was completely in the dark here.  And my blog's poll went from 18 to 31 votes in a matter of hours...what the hell's going on here.  I do appreciate more votes, that's for sure.


But anyway, I see that the never-ending grind versus dumb mainstream games will never end.  I wanted to address Scud Race but let's take care of this first.

This is on Kotaku.  Now I wouldn't read this site anymore except for the fact that the other game blogs are not as comprehensive or run by complete idiots, such as G4TV which causes massive trauma, stomachaches, and erectile dysfunction.  The topic of today: Why play an MMO when you know it's going to end?  You pay for subscriptions, hence you are just "renting" the game.  And when the servers go down, that it--the game's gone for good.  Can't play it anymore so all progress made before is lost.

The typical Kotaku response: "why even bother living if your gonna die anyway???  its about the experience and social aspect more than anything!1!  you're little single player games last 10-20 hours anyway so whats the difference???"

Here's what I have to say.  My idea of a long-term activity should be something that leaves me with something positive and/or tangible at the "end."  According to the responses, after playing some MMO until you become burnt out or the server closes down, you get the memories, a few friends, and carpal tunnel.  To me, that doesn't seem worthwhile since MMORPG's long-term worthiness is stemmed in grinding levels by clicking on bad guys and talking with friends.  These things I feel that I can do elsewhere, particularly with games that don't become a paperweight in 5-10 that I can play "forever."  Games that I can plug back in and say, "Hey, look at what I accomplished or learned to do," while going through the motions like before.  On the other hand, MMO's are just wiped out for good so you can't go anywhere near them.

And as for socialization--can't you just do that on Ventrilo, message boards, chat rooms, or, dare I say, face-to-face in real life?   Better yet, can't you spend some (or all) your time playing sports, making artwork, reading books, and spending time with family which can do wonders for your health and well-being?  Why is it that even in the face of these revelations, people still think MMORPG's are money & time well-spent?  Hey, I really don't mind if people cared so much about these MMO's but the fact they're so flippant to the idea that one of their "extra lives" will be flushed away in a couple of years is rather startling.

Or here's a theory--maybe people are hopping aboard these MMORPG's because they're like college parties with booze and strippers...get in while it lasts because it's not here for long (see the "social" aspect of these games).  Though I'd opt for something with a bit more substance and integrity so no thanks.

EDIT: It just dawned on me a day later...isn't it a bit perturbing that we're comparing a MMORPG to a person's life?  Just off the top of my head, you DON'T HAVE to play a MMORPG while you DO have to live your life.  Come on, people.

I don't know.  I've already talked about WoW before.  I actually think the idea behind a MMO is interesting--creating a character to interact with other players' characters, but not how WoW or any of these big shots do it...with the fat kids, the medieval/fantasy setting, the servers going down, etc.  Maybe I just don't get it but if you do then hey, who's stopping ya....  And this is my

It's too bad that many games (well, Xbox 360 and PS3 in general) nowadays are rigged to these servers.  Like Call of Duty.  Okay, I am somewhat guilty of this.  I'm Prestige 1 on CoD4 and CoD:WaW, Prestige 4 in MW2, and Prestige 10 in Black Ops.  I'm probably going to regret this later, but I'm playing these games cause I want to shoot people, not cause I want to run through the hamster wheel.  I guess it's just nice that more people are opening up to the reality that they may not be able to play certain games in the future (see OutRun Online Arcade).

Thankfully, if there's one good thing I see coming out of gaming technology these days, maybe it's that they can sustain these servers longer.  Send petitions and whine--maybe you can keep these games up or at least salvage something for the future (XBL achievement points???  I hope).


But anyway, one of the fabled arguments in video game culture is whether or not games are art.  Well, it depends.  It's mostly on the developer's intent on whether to create a "unique" game or something cookie-cutter just to make mass profits. Check out this quote:

"The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do."

-Andy Warhol

And that's what's nice about games.  You just pop in the game and it's not going to change on you.  You go away to a (hopefully) magical world where you don't have to worry about germs, diseases, pain & suffering, global wars, paying bills, etc.  Like Sega Racers.  Daytona USA, OutRun, Crazy Taxi, just cool places to be.  And that's why I made Counter-Strike maps so I can create my own "worlds" to visit.

It's just terrible that up until this point, you no longer "own" a game forever; they just go away eventually which is completely contrary to the last 30+ years of game history where you could own the tangible game forever as long as you took care of it.  Now you know why I'm a bit saddened by these revelations.

Pssh, I'm done here, I've gone way overboard.  I hate video games.

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