Monday, November 12, 2012

What Gamers Want

Sorry for the three week delay; I just recently quit my job, and the month that followed was a bit rough...

And looking for a new job is not going to be easy.

But don't worry;this is not going to become my personal blog just yet. This blog is and will always remain about reviewing games and informing the gamer community on its economic purchases and opportunities. 

Probably haven't even
heard of the NES

And by gamers, I am referring to both hardcore fanboys and the casual enthusiasts.

I've already reviewed both the new game Dishonored with a survey on how the game played(no results guys; looks like I don't get enough veiws yet to grab volunteers) and two top ten lists for the critically acclaimed  Uncharted 3. I will play Spec Ops: The line today and work it into another review tomorrow(This time with a quiz).  But this one is not going to be about game reviews specifically. Rather it will be a special article on

What Gamers Want.

                    You might be confused as to wheather or not this article is about unveiling myths and misconceptions to people who never even heard of the Wii or a shoutout to game designers as to what consumers really want. To which I reply; yes, and I hope the information here also serves as a sounding board to anyone who thinks that the term "gamer" is non-specific to any one type of person. Heck, I would call anyone who loved chess or tic tac toe a gamer who never fully matured. And yes; I will include board games, card games, and pencil and paper RPGs in the mix of what a gamer is. So those of you who really haven't played any of the games I have talked about in this blog and/or wonder what a gamer is by definition, here are a few links to go with my own interpretation of the word "gamer":

Urban Dictionary definiton

Real dictionary definition

Common definition of "Gamer"

Like I said earlier; we were all gamers at one point. We once played checkers and tic tac toe. We played "I Spy" in the car with our mom and dad. Heck, my dad hates facebook and twitter and even he stayed up all night to play Legend of Zelda. Every time I got a new Zelda game, he would give me a new strategy guide. I love my pop :).

But like artists and believers in magic, some people grow out of it. Others do not. The people the public usually designates as "gamers" are usually designating them to people who still play board games outside the family, bring a PSP and/or 3DS to work, and still remember the names of the first 151 Pokemon. I fall into the latter.

As a gamer who chatted with other gamers, both traditional fan boys and people from a more casual background, I notice that there are a certain number of desires that bring us together as a group. I suppose this is true for almost any culture or sub-culture you can think of; we are united by our differences in the face of adversity. To be more specific on these desires and how they apply to video gaming (among other forms of games) I have here a short list of things that gamers strive for and what even non-gamers can give to the community that will help you both understand and be a part of the gaming community. There will be seven subjects followed by a very special Seven Word Synopsis.

#7:Gamers want to be respected for their quirks; not admonished!

We get it; games are often completely unrealistic and can be disturbingly violent to describe. We won't give your kids a copy of Resident evil 6 or Halo (unless of course you asked us first) and we respect and understand the gravity of things like airport shootings and violence in the media. Also, many of us are anything but social butterflies and make little to no attempt to hide it. 

That being said; leave us the f**k alone. 

You don't see gaming enthusiasts picket line around the football stadium due to it interrupting the Simpsons or due to the thousands of injuries in football games per year (which may actually be a generous estamite). There isn't a media scandal every time a new movie or a new song comes out that has "violent subject matter". Even when it's something like Hostel or Cannibal Corpse.

This is a message to all of the people out there who think that the video game industry/role playing game crowd/etc is a bunch of satan worshipping loners; were not. 

No more then any sports fan is a drunken redneck slob who would rather see the home team win then the second coming of christ. Sure, this is true for some fans, and I claim no perfection to any culture that exists. All I ask is that you stop making a big stink out of every violent game, or every questionable act from a "gamer", and stop protesting the things we love. When I went to E3 last year, there was two things I noticed while participating; one was a group called "Jesus loves Gamers" which was run by a booth offering free beer and good cheer. The other was a crowd of protesters outside, preaching how E3 and the people in it were the devil. I bought a T shirt at the booth, and quite frankly wouldn't have minded showing it off to those protesters. 

Games are like any other pastime enjoyed by people; be it movies, books, music, sports, travel, or artwork. They are enjoyed by nice, unique people like you and me. 

Next time you see someone you think is a gamer, who says something about a game you didn't play that you don't understand, don't get annoyed or frustrated;  Google it and see what they are talking about.

If you yourself are a gamer, and someone starts to make fun of you for playing a game, put on your headphones and crank up the volume. Be proud of what you love. 

#6 Gamers want to try something new.

Back when I used to work at FedEx grounds, I often got a chance to talk to people one on one. We would stand inside the truck, on opposite sides of an extending conveyor, and chat about whatever while we loaded the boxes on. Not surprisingly, a lot of the people I conversed with were into games. Even my boss asked me about the latest Call of Duty so he knew what to get his son for Christmas. 
            There was one conversation in particular, however, that peaked my interest the most as a gamer, a up-and-coming game designer, and a game reviewer all at the same time. I was talking with a guy about my age, who was of even temperament and had a somewhat cynical outlook on things. The first time we talked about games, he told me that he was sick of the same old thing. That he rarely played games because they all seemed the same. He wanted something new.

               A chord was stuck in me at this statement. And as I progressed in my classes for game design, I learned all too well that many gamers (who also aspired to be designers) were looking for something more unique to play.

If you ever looked at a Gamestop aisle or the game selection on Gamefly or Redbox, you would notice that many games on display look very similar. Half of the games have a solider carrying a rifle, a quater has a cute anime style character going on an adventure, and the rest either have a tough guy with a gun, a car racing on the road, or an assassin in a cloak and hood. It's official; triple A titles are in a big rut. And they need a swift kick in the ass if they want to break that rut. 

The problem is that games like this are often reviewed by sites like metacritic and IGN, who are often sponsored by the same companies that make the game. It creates what most professionals call a conflict of interest. The truth is, gaming sites and review magazines are often looked at by the industry as a whole more as publicity pieces then critical reviews. Most companies are not made or broken by a single review; rather, they live and dye by the exposure they give them. Most games that have a "Coming soon" string of articles and coverage have substantially higher "game scores" then those who are released without publication. Sad really.

Take comfort in the fact that they are a heavy stream of freelance video game reviewers like myself who would like to see bad games get called bad games and treat reviews as a grand critique rather then a publication of their "favorite game" that they just got paid to play. I make no money from this site as of yet, and even if and when I do, I will dedicate this site(and others like it) to giving the gaming industry the pat down it deserves. 

If you are a gamer, it would do you a world of good and make that world a better place if you stop wasting you money on half-assed high budget games and explored both kickstarter and for something more unique.

If you are not a gamer, understand that by not knowing the game industry in and out puts you in a unique position. On one hand, you might need to do some research to understand the medium as a whole. On the other-hand  you can provide all of us with good insights that don't suffer from the echo chamber we often make for ourselves out of excitement. 

Both gamers and non-gamers can come together to expand what a video game is and what it can do, simply by being more selective and exploring the indie market. Here's a few links to help get you started on the latter: 

#5: Gamers want the most bang for their hard earned buck.

Okay, since that last one was a bit long and became something of a rant, I will keep this short and neat.

Traditional video games can cost anywhere from fifty to sixty dollars in the US. With downloadable content(some of which is almost mandatory), pre-ordering and taxes, it can hike up to the hundreds for each game you buy. Online games are often a fraction of the cost, but are of lower quality(more often then not) and don't take half as long to play. One of the big reasons most reviews have both a numerical score and make it a habit to describe the game is simply because they want to insure the reader that it is either a good or bad investment. Lets gamers be picky without missing out. 

Keep this in mind when you buy a game for yourself or someone you love; make sure it is worth it.

Non-gamers, if you want to give your loved one a game that they would like, ask them if they have Playstation network, Xbox live, or Wii market. These systems have points that can be bought from a local store in the form of a give card, and can save you the embarassment of picking a bad game.

Gamers, don't let glossy ads or propaganda influence the games you buy. Sometimes it pays to wait for a new game to become old, and drop in price. Other times you might just want to read the reviews or buy something cheap off of Live or PSN. Try an indie game; they're usually cheap. 

Game designers/producers/marketers; if you think your game isn't up to par, spend more time improving the game rather then the game's showing. We are willing to pay big money in a bad economy for your game; don't let us down, please.

Gaming is an expensive, but rewarding lifestyle. Like any other consumer hobby, it takes commitment and investment. Let's not break the bank with it.

#4: Gamers want to be heard.

         It's a common complaint. Gamers want the world to know who they are, and what they want. We all know what is wrong with today's video games; too much action, not enough story, with pricing that will break your bank if left unchecked. Plus we know how most people think of us in the world today. 

       When a website like Kickstarter offers to fund the games we love, no hesitation is made to put money into that project. Just ask Tim Schafer, who founded Double Fine Adventure. Or the guys who are now working on the OUYA. Both were projects funded not by big-wig investors or publishing companies with huge advertising campaigns; they were funded by people who like to play games donating their hard earned money. 

This is also true for the things that big government does that could ruin us/oppress us/piss us off. Remember those Censorship bills SOPA and PIPA? Remember how your favorite sites got shut down because of protest? The gaming community was a HUGE part of that. just ask the guys at extra-credits; they didn't take that BS lying down.

The people have a voice, and with time it will only grow louder. That goes double for the people who love and play games.

Gamers; don't hesitate to call up your local congressman or speak to your teacher about something like the things listed above. A food drive via a Smash-Bros Tournament or a veto of a bill as oppressive as SOPA ad PIPA is only beneficial. The only reason people are reluctant to stand out in these things is the weird "it's just a stupid game" mentality that plagues most of society.

If you do not play games and are hearing things like this for the first time; remember, games are great way to bring people together, and shouldn't be used as an excuse to tear us apart. If your student or child or relative has a great idea or wants to discuss a problem involving his or her favorite game; listen. The world will thank you for it. 

#3: Gamers want to be rewarded for their loyalty

There is a reason that hundreds of people camped outside Gamestop to wait for the Modern Warfare 3 midnight release sale; they love Modern Warfare.

 People are downright fanatical for the games they love, much in the same way Yankees fans paint rooms of their house in blue and white stripes and why animal lovers adopt their seventh stray cat. Passion is a powerful thing, and thus should be rewarded.

Unfortunately, when most people see someone dressed up like sonic the hedgehog or introduce us to thier MASSIVE "Magic: the gathering" card collection, the usual reaction isn't admiration for loyalty. It's more like "holy sh**, this guy has no life!"

There are many people who take their interests too far; watch an episode of "hoarders" and you can find them in all shapes and sizes. Even something as innocent as loving animals can get way out of control if left unchecked.

Still, loyalty is a trait that should be rewarded; not just because of the investment people put in it, but the dedication it involves to make that investment as well as the courage it takes to admit to a seemingly unusual hobby.

Gamers, particularly of the 'hardcorez' variety; not everyone is as interested in Zelda or Pokemon or DnD as you might be. If someone is showing a lack of interest, show them something else you do. If you aren't sure there is anything else significant about you, ask them what they like. It might be something interesting and new.

If you are on the recieving end of a "Fan boy-ism", please, leave your prejudice at the door and give him or her the benefit of a doubt. Just be wary of signs of addiction; if they seem obsessed, and/or unable to do anything else, consider seeking help. They will appreciate it in the long run. But bear in mind that this is true for any hobby or activity; not all gamers are addicts!

#2: Gamers want you to play with them.

Nothing thrills a game enthusiast more then seeing his child, significant other, loved one, or friend take a genuine interest in the games they play.

This is more for the "non-gamers"; if you see your boyfriend or girlfriend playing World of Warcraft for hours a day, don't give them the old "You never spend time with me!" line. Instead, try playing with them; make a character, get an account, or simply grab another controller and ask him or her to teach you how to play. Might lead to something interesting later...

Same goes for roomates, parents, and kids of gamer parents. Give their games a try before knocking it; you might like it too!

For those of you who would rather see someone play your game, my favorite web show Extra-Credits might have a tip or two for you here.

If you want the short and sweet version, just remember; 

Pick a game you know they will like. 

Be patient as they learn the rules of the game.

Never forced them to play or not play.

Games are often meant to have fun, and always meant to bring people together!

And now, for the #1 thing most gamers want....(drum roll plea....

Wait, I did this gag already, didn't I?

Oh well, lets move on to the #1 thing that Gamers want.


When a person watches a film, he is a person watching a film. When a person listens to music, he is a person listening to music. SO WHY IN THE HELL IS A PERSON WHO PLAYS VIDEO GAMES,  ROLE PLAYING GAMES, AND CARD GAMES ANY DIFFERENT FROM A PERSON WHO JUST PLAYS GAMES?!

.The gap between the obscure nerd who plays electronic games and RPGs in his basement and the everyday man across the street are more narrow then ever, and the gap is only closing.

 I said it before and I will say it again; we were all gamers at one point or another.

Here's a little wake up call, America;

 if you played Monopoly or Clue, 
your a gamer.

If you play Farmville on Facebook

 or Chess in the park, 

you are a gamer.

If you watch and/or play football or basket ball or base ball or any other ball or sport, 

you love games of sport and are technically a kind of gamer. 

Gamer only means that you like games; that is practically humanity in a nutshell. We all evolved from life forms that learned the hard way how to avoid being eaten by predators and the best ways to find food and build tools; we did this through experimenting, and experimented with games.

If you play games, don't let people call you a gamer. Your a human being, like the rest of us.

If you do not play games(which can only mean a very few of you), don't call me or any one else who plays video games or anything else you might not have seen or heard of often enough a gamer. They are just like you. Only difference that somewhere in their childhood, they didn't quit playing games because an adult said so. To be frank, you might wanna reconsider that decision yourself every once in a while.

We are not childish for playing or prudish for not playing: games are just another form of the humanities that express who we are and explore it.

Let use embrace with our hearts what is the game. We are only better people for it.

Oops, almost forgot: here is a very special Seven Word Synopsis on what gamers want.

Accept us

Understand us

Play with us

That's it in a nutshell; tomorrow  we will review a game called SPEC OPS: The Line. It's not fun in the traditional sense, but you might like it anyway. See you then!

No comments: