Editorial: Actually Liking Video Games

Thank God for Trey Parker.
An exceptional and bleak two part episode.

I did not anticipate, dear LusiCakes, that I would become the cynic that I have been over the past few years. This may surprise even the most loyal readers, considering my specific and occasionally outdated reputation here at Lusipurr.com as the fruity optimist from Canada who loves everything and does nothing but spew flowers and rainbows over everything without a discerning thought in my head. Because I certainly do not show a particularly critical side in my articles on this website, but perhaps that is because I feel that role is already adequately filled.

Because while I am not filled with hate and venom for games and the games industry, I certainly have become a cynic of all art and what I have found to be its exhaustive mediocrity. I find it hard to play or watch or read something and feel like it says anything of interest or value. One might be reminded of that excellent South Park episode in which Stan begins to see everything as literal shit.

There is another layer to this when playing games as well. Not only because I have been slowly but surely making a game of my own, but because it is my entertainment medium of choice, it has become the case that I started to see video games as code and graphics. I would see environments as polygons and textures instead of forests and cities. I would see plot points as a discussion between writers and executives instead of any character’s journey. Level design seemed obvious to me and my typically inspiring motto of “there is nothing new under the sun” started to slowly flip back to being a nihilist anthem.

It may sound like I am being dramatic – and I am – but art, and particularly games, are important to me. They are my language and my philosophies, and as somebody who considers himself an artist I am wont to wax dramatic.

But besides my drama, a keen reader will notice my use of the past tense to describe my disenchantment with video games. It is because I did not even notice it was happening and it was not until the magic returned that I realized how negative and blasé I had been.

Wait, what?
I’ve been really enjoying Dragon Quest VI

I wish I could point to something specific that made appreciation replace apathy, but I cannot. Perhaps it really was as simple as taking my console out of my bedroom when I moved a month ago. Now gaming is a separate activity that is largely unimpeded by guilt that I should be working or sleeping. Or maybe it was the magic of seeing my own game come together to a point in which I could actually walk around, talk to people, walk into houses, and start a battle all with appropriate music playing in the background (expect a trailer in the coming weeks).

In any case, it was almost like remembering what it was like to be a child when suddenly the video games I played turned into their own worlds again. Shepard was actually building relationships and exploring the vast galaxy. Marle’s frustration at a restricted lifestyle was not a cliché, but a valid frustration with being born into a position she did not ask for. Even Dragon Quest VI‘s old-school style started to give me an irreplaceable sense of adventure and an optimistic world of swords and sorcery.

I expect my cynicism to return. Just like my insomnia, these things come in waves. Plus, even with my resurgence of appreciation for the magic of video games, I still feel like the medium has a lot of room to grow and that gamers tend to be more easily satisfied with lower art, but that is the state of Hollywood as well, so I imagine that will be a perpetual frustration for a man as pretentious as myself.

So there it is, LusiDwellers. Yet another article that does nothing to disprove my place as the Weepy Tart of this website. But I like it that way. It helps me not spiral during the times when it becomes hard for me to remember why I ever liked video games. And laughing at my own many, many ridiculous and exaggerated personality traits is of the utmost importance to me.

Anyway, how about you guys? Do you go through periods when games lose their magic and feel like predictable chores? What is your permanent state? Am I completely insane for enjoying Dragon Quest VI more than Chrono Trigger? Because I feel insane for it. Let me know in the comments below!

2 comments

  1. Most definitely. Especially after cresting 30, I found myself faced with a mid life crisis that rendered gaming one large pastel mire for me. In fact, I began blaming it for many things that I counted as wrong with myself, my social abilities (or lack thereof), and my general disenchantment with reality. Those days have passed, and the fun has returned, albeit tempered. But yes, much like you described, I go through cycles of heavy interest, enjoyment, and then floating towards apathy. At this point however, I think those sentiments have more to do with a gaming landscape that feels alien to me.

  2. I had pretty much given up on games back in 2002, entering college, save for the few excellent Gamecube games and replaying the oldies. Then there was a revival of interest in 2008 concurrent with buying a DS and Wii. Although RPGamer hadn’t changed much since I started reading it again after that, the landscape had, further along the path that made me disenchanted with it. Although it’s fun keeping up with the developments and bouts of nostalgia (especially as purveyed by Lusipurr & LusiStaff & LusiReaders), the truth is I have little interest in actually playing them anymore. There will always be a few indie titles worth checking out (can’t wait for the LFoPD trailer!), yet old mainstays like Square and Nintendo have stopped making important games which comes as a major blow. As important and gratifying as a lot of the stuff out there now is to gamera, it’s just not my cup of tea (like ceylonese pekoe tea with a touch of milk is).

    There are other ways to appreciate video games; making your own is one of the best; reminiscing on good times and taking inspiration from their music, artwork, and stories are others. I can also say that it is a rarity to find other cultural outputs less enthralling as they once were: there are unfortunately few new bands/musicians that affect me now than there once used to be, for instance. And like so many books that once shone a light in a dark world, but are now testaments to a growing consciousness shelved in a home library, video games are more of a monument to the past than a continuously moving future for me.

    Not that I feel that it’s the games’ fault either, as there is still a lot of good ones out there. They have brought me up to a point; fed my imagination and interest for many years. I’m sure that even on my deathbed memories of SNES days will filter through my mind as “ineluctable modalities.” But for some reason they’re a thing of the past that has to be let go of in order to take their influence, rather than their time, into the next major phase of life.

    Dragon Quest games scratch a particular itch, so you’re not insane. Wait… more than Crono Trigger? I mean… do what you gotta do man…

Comments are closed.