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Video Games: A Review

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Mop it up:

--- Quote from: Khushrenada on May 23, 2015, 07:34:13 PM ---
--- Quote ---It's been about seven years since I started that journey. Seven years, and I have played around 300 video games or so in that time
--- End quote ---

Whoa! I've been playing games on and off for over 20 years and I don't even own 300 games. I think you may have really exhausted yourself on the whole medium. I like movies but I'll go weeks sometimes before I watch one. And that's just an average 2 hour affair.
--- End quote ---
Although I have played just a little bit more than 300 games, that's spread out over 25 years. It averages out to about one or two a month, which seems like a good pace. I can't imagine playing so many games in such a short time, especially if someone isn't an insomniac like me. It doesn't matter if they're good or not, repetition will eventually create burnout, so some variety is needed, breaks are required. I'd get sick of games too if I played that many.

Part 2:

This is a *me* problem. I firmly acknowledge it. I’m looking for sympathy, or at least, a bit of empathy regarding the current scenario.

I think the most direct answer to this query is “dude, just stop,” so if your response is similar to that, go for it, but add a bit of your personal experience, maybe.

I love video games. I want to pursue discussing them for the sake of developing a rational, reasonable discourse about them, but too often, I find myself fixating on the negative experiences, the skepticism I have regarding this medium. I think, in a number of ways, this medium *is* skeptical. We have to be tough critics of this medium. But how do we determine the quality of a game? Through means of enjoyment, not craft. Not intention. I loved Pikmin 3 because it had environmental and consumerist themes, but I don’t love Pikmin 4 for its lack of address, and coverage of these matters. It’s just a game. And it might be fun. It might be enjoyable. But it isn’t a stellar representation of what this medium can be, as an art form. It sold a lot, and that’s a wonderful, important thing, for some people.

And maybe your take is that all of this is enough. If you look at my brief post history, you might say, “the game is *the game*.” It’s about winning, either in sales or in personal experience. And I want to be more like that. But I can’t do that right now. The critical analysis has to wait. The game has to wait. The story has to wait.

I’m sorry.


--- Quote from: Khushrenada on May 23, 2015, 07:34:13 PM ---
--- Quote ---It's been about seven years since I started that journey. Seven years, and I have played around 300 video games or so in that time
--- End quote ---

Whoa! I've been playing games on and off for over 20 years and I don't even own 300 games. I think you may have really exhausted yourself on the whole medium. I like movies but I'll go weeks sometimes before I watch one. And that's just an average 2 hour affair.

--- End quote ---

Wow! This post is incredible. Looking at the date, I know when and where I was in life and this did not quite age well. For one thing, I started better keeping track of movies I watched and it is pretty rare for me not to have watched at least one movie a week. Second, I can't believe I didn't have 300 games at this point but I'd have been using Backloggery at this point to be able to check and see. I'm currently now at 728 and that's not even including the stuff available to me like NSO games. That's at least 429 games I've acquired in that time and may Backlog currently shows 445 unplayed/unfinished games which means the past 8 years hasn't seen me finish the number of games I had around 8 years ago. The past 8 years just made the endgoal even longer. 3DS!! You did this to me!! Including physical and digital, I've got 199 games tied to that system (and there's still a few more I'd be willing to pick up :-[). I seem to be showing some restraint with the Switch. Despite the amount of games available for it, even combining digital and physical, I'm at 93 total that I've purchased. I suppose all these ports and remasters have helped in that regard as I haven't been interested in repurchasing a bunch of game for the system. Even with that system, I seem to maintain a ration of only getting through a third of the games I acquire. I'm not sure I'll ever hit my goal of at least 50% if this keeps up. This might not be a *you only* problem.

Now to comment further on Evan_B(rownies) latest post, I must admit I had forgotten about this thread before. I commented on it but I just don't remember the original post. Reading it again now, I was quite struck at your writing style. I quite like it. It's very engaging. It's a shame the NerdRage link doesn't work. I wanted to read more reviews.

From the post, it feels as though it was written at a time when you were bored / burnt out on playing games but I take it you must have found some enthusiasm / motivation for them again since you've continued playing stuff and now are coming back around to this way of thinking based on the second post.

I think you and I are similar in this kind of thinking of wanting a complete picture of things, of having an expansive knowledge of a subject and wanting to then write about it well. For instance, I joined up with the Pietriots crew with the goal of finally applying myself to game review and going through my game collection to really cover a lot of games well. But I soon found myself hitting a wall in that I wondered what is the best way to review a game. What standard should I be using? What's the best format that I could consistantly apply? In the end, I've never written a single review yet. I've just made a few various blog type posts. My most popular being the steps to follow to get the Master rank in Renegade for Clubhouse Games Switch.

In fact, that pondering about how to write about a games led me to start writing an article entitled Video Games - What's The Point? It still sits behind the scenes of Pietriot articles unfinished and unprinted. It was a long article going over my history with the medium and raising some of the questions you have here as to whether it's all a waste of time and holding one back from being productive or bettering their life. In the end, it just felt very long and unnecessary of an article which held me back from finishing it. Plus, I felt like I should almost chop it up into three parts to make it easier to read. Sometimes I still wonder if I should finish it but I can get to the ending pretty quickly.

My summation was that, yes, games are in many ways a waste of one's time but that doesn't necessarily mean they have no benefit. They weigh more on the entertainment scale. I don't think one should go into games expecting to get much insight into life from them compared to perhaps a book or movie which can focus or highlight some aspect of life in a more focused way. Some may disagree with that and feel they've had such meaning in games and certainly some developers are trying to incorporate such things into their stories but ultimately I view videogames the same way I do board games or crossword puzzles. I don't go into those expecting a great storyline or to gain a new perspective on life or learn a new skill. I do it just to give my mind a bit of a challenge and a bit of endorphin rush at being able to complete the objective which is often more pleasurable than other mundane stuff like washing the car or sweeping the balcony. Tasks that have a purpose and need to be done but games are a bit more fun to do. Yes, while there have been some articles talking about how gaming can have some positive effects for a person such as increasing their problem-solving ability or making them better at multi-tasking, I play because I just want to be entertained in a way that requires me to overcome a bit of a challenge and to keep my mind a bit more sharp. But I also have many other goals and things I want to do in life so I try not to let it be my only source of entertainment or recreation.

I also think multiplayer is a great use for videogames as it can provide a fun experience for a group, it gives you something to bond over and do while you also talk about other things, and it is a bit more fun to match wits with another person than a CPU.

However, I would caution against a person getting too competitive or serious over it. I think about how people often complain about online gaming in something like Call of Duty or the days of XBox live where other users are constantly trashtalking each other and making it an unwelcome environment. Much like how people are not going to like playing with someone who's taking Clue super seriously and complaining about the way others are playing the game. Unfortunately, that mentally of why we sometimes play a game (which is to see who among the group gathered can be victorious in the game) whether it be dodgeball, Scrabble or Mario Party can lead to further ambitions. It's not just enough to win a lot against friends, family or strangers. I want to be the best player in the world at this game and completely win it! To be acknowledged as the greatest player of this game ever! And it's that attitude which I feel gives rise to making video games more of a waste of time in people's lives. Spending so much to be the best Smash Bros. player or fastest speedrunner. Sure, they can accomplish some impressive feats by spending so much time on a game but ultimately, it often seems they do so to the detriment of enriching their lives in other ways. They're sort of dull people with little to talk about.

My brother once made the same comment about Olympic athletes. They've spent so much time focused on continually training and putting their lives on a specific schedule which often leaves little time for a social life. Then when they get interviewed, they've got little to say about other things. It was from this interviewing my brother pointed out how they all sound the same and are amazed at everything around because they've been living such an insulated and repetitive life up to that point from their routine. In some ways, gaming is responsible for this attitude as early games where all about getting a high score or fastest time to improve your best but most arcade games didn't really have an endpoint. Thus, it created a competition beyond the game of being the person to set the ultimate high score and "win" that way. Don't let games waste your time in high score chasing.

Despite wanting to be brief, it looks like I'm still writing out that article on Gaming. I guess I do have much I want to say about it. Still, to try and finish what my ultimate point was in that article and in this post, I don't go into games expecting to be able to learn carpentry skills, cooking skills or learn new science facts. Maybe it could happen but those would be rare exceptions. For that, I'll probably have to read a book, maybe watch some How-To videos or work with someone knowledgeable to teach me. Most important, I'd have to spend time just doing it and practicing. Which means not playing videogames. If that is how you feel, that videogames are wasting your time and leaving you feeling like you are missing out on other skills, then you are right. Stop playing them and focus on that other stuff you feel you are missing out on. It's no longer going to be fun or entertainment if you feel that way.

It doesn't mean it will be easy. Learning to play likely took some time so now you are good at it making it easy to keep playing games whereas learning a new skill can take time and be frustrating when it seems like progress is slow. It seems like it was easier for a lot of gamers to learn the controls for the Guitar Hero controller than actual Guitar. So, it could be tempting to quit that new thing and return to something you are already good at like videogames. It will be on you to make that choice to continue something else or not. On the other hand, you may try something and realize that this other thing you wanted to learn, say painting, is actually not for you and you don't really enjoy it. You'd rather spend time playing games. Then go back to playing games. In the end, we all have to make a choice with what we want to do with the time we have which isn't easy since we don't know how much time we'll actually have in our lifetime. For myself, I view videogames the same as I view the following:

Just a challenge to test my knowledge and skills with. A (hopefully) fun project to tackle and entertain myself with for awhile that's different from reading a book or watching TV shows. But not something to dominate all my time with. Since I'm not really sure how to review a maze puzzle in a book or the board game Trivial Pursuit, I guess it is why I've had a hard time figuring out how to review videogames also. It might be why you also find yourself struggling about that goal now as well. Going back to the subject of time, there's a lot of things I do want to do in life also. As such, I sometimes probably spread my time around haphazardly on all manner of different things. This can mean going weeks or months hardly playing games and then sometimes going steady for weeks on games. It's just how I choose to spend my time in way that keeps me happy enough with life. Maybe I never do learn to play piano. Perhaps I never cook and try all the BBQ recipes I've wanted to. It could be I never do finish reading the whole encyclopedia because I went and played Super Mario Sunshine again for the 20th time. Yet, I'm also at peace with myself and that decision because it's what I most wanted to do at the time.

That's how I think you have to see and treat games. Don't take them too seriously since they are just a game of some sort and make sure you are content with yourself spending the time on it. If not, if you feel it is becoming a burden on your time, schedule, goals then just drop it. You aren't going to have someone show up at your door from a game company demanding you get back to playing a game or preventing you from doing anything else except play it. Perhaps you feel like taking a break from games or quitting them is giving up. Losing to the challenge they ostensibly provide. Yet, one likely doesn't win every game they play. I don't win every Fortune Street played with friends. I can't always finish a Crossword puzzle in the paper. Losing a game is an outcome when playing a game. Going back to the point about not taking it too seriously can help overcome a mental self-image of failure for not playing every game you want or not accomplishing the goals in gaming you may have set out. Perhaps I never do get around to all the games I've acquired for myself. Again, I'm alright with that a bit since I see it a bit as an endless arcade game. No matter how many PAC-Man mazes (videogames) I get through, there will be another screen with another fresh maze (a new game) to get through. I'm not sure what my final high score will be but I'm also not competing with anyone else on that score. It's my own personal arcade machine and I can play it whenever and for however long I want in a way that is fun for me.


--- Quote from: Khushrenada on September 15, 2023, 11:10:49 PM ---I think you and I are similar in this kind of thinking of wanting a complete picture of things, of having an expansive knowledge of a subject and wanting to then write about it well.

--- End quote ---

Oh good. I'm starting off with a quote by me. The sign of a great post! ;)

I'll try to keep this block of text shorter than the last.

Just going back to how I feel like I relate to you a bit from your goal of reviewing games well. Back when I made that first post in 2015, that was a point in which I had accomplished my goal of seeing all the Best Picture winning movies of the Academy Awards. However, just doing that wasn't enough. I then decided to broaden my school and see all the movies that have ever been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. At this point in time, there have now been 594 movies to have been nominated for that category. (I'm also including the 3 movies that were nominated for Best Unique and Artistic Picture at the 1st Academy Awards. A category that was then removed as it made things confusing with the Outstanding Picture category which has become the Best Picture category. For those of you who may also be up on their Academy Award knowledge and wondering how I got that math. All ___ of you.) This is a goal that is sort of impossible to reach because one movie called The Patriot released in 1928 has been lost in that no complete copy of it has been found at this point in time. But you never know. Amazingly, people are still finding some lost and forgotten older and silent films even now and getting them restored. In any case, I have seen 515 of those films leaving just 79 to go (including The Patriot). Chances are that in 3 years, I'll likely have accomplished this goal.

And yet, my movie ambition hasn't stopped there. It was also around this time that I became aware of the book 1,001 Movies To See Before You Die. Now, I've seen other books before which might have talked about 100 Great Movies or collections like that yet I can't recall seeing one at that many titles and with that bold of a book title. Going through it, there was a lot of stuff that I'd never heard of that sounded interesting so I made a short list of around 100 of those movies I'd like to see. It was pretty close to this point that I got through that list. Then I just found online a copy of the whole list and put that on an Excel sheet and started continually checking things off that list or referencing what titles I still needed to see. From the original 1,001 titles that were in the book released around 2003, I have seen 613 of those titles leaving 388 still on the list. However, over the past two decades, the book proved popular enough that new editions were released over the years and the list was updated to reflect new movies that had since been released and revised opinions on some of the older movies to feature. As a result, another 212 or so titles have been since featured through these newer books. Sometimes a new movie was featured in a book only to be dropped in the next version a couple years later. Regardless, these titles have still been tracked online for people to follow along. In this way, there's been a progress list created through the 00 Decade and the 2010s. I said "212 or so" because even then there's been some creative counting on the part of the book editors by lumping the Lord of the Rings trilogy into one entry or Toy Story 1,2, and 3 as a trilogy entry. In any case, I've seen 109 of these other entries leaving 103 to go there as well. Who knows how long it will take there?

But that's not all. Back during the end of the 90s and start of the 2000s, there would be a special each year by the AFI on movies. First there was the Top 100 movies in general. Then it was the Top 100 Thrills, Top 100 Romances, Top 25 Musicals, at one point there was ten Top 10 movies in various genres and they redid the Top 100 movies ten years after the first list debuted. It was about a year later that I saw The Jazz Singer which completed that first Top 100 list. I've been pecking away at the others and most are near completion as well. The only thing preventing me from having seen everything on the revised Top 100 done ten years later is The Sixth Sense. Have yet to watch it after all this time. It's also on the Best Picture nominee list so seeing it would check off a couple things.

I was also aware of the IMDB's Top 250 film list and copied that out. A few years later, I checked on it and it had changed somewhat. As such, I've got 4 entries of various films that had popped up on their that I'm still working through. Altogether, that's around 44 movies to see from that and 24 were from the original list I started with. 

Surely, this would be enough to watch but no! As you encounter movies by directors and actors you like then you want to see more of their work. I'd like to see all of Humphrey Bogart's films or the films of Akira Kurosawa or Studio Ghibli's works and you find things not on these lists that you enjoy. There are new movies coming out every year that I'm making a note of wanting to see and get around to that might not be on any of these lists. Just looking at the TV listings for some movie channels can bring up a film I hadn't heard of before that has a premise or casting that catches my attention and now I'd like to see it. Recently, Steefosaurus (Order.RSS just isn't working) brought to my attention Time Magazine's recent Top 100 Film list to my attention on Discord. That list had like 30 movies I've yet to see on it. A few of the titles I was aware but there were still some new things there.

13 years ago, I felt like I had a strong knowledge of movies compared to a lot of people I knew in life. I was thankful for the Siskel & Ebert which became other iterations along the way because just watching that every week kept me aware of so many titles even if I never saw them. It just seemed to help lock some of that knowledge in for trivia games. I wanted to increase that strength even more with these quests and goals but here I am 13 years later and it seems there's still so much that I'm in the dark on.

That quest for knowledge and to know more is something I've had as a young lad and still stays with me. I discovered and started reading the Great Illustrated Classics series. Not sure if you or others were aware or remember these:

It's still the only way I've read Moby Dick. It was my first exposure to Charles Dickens. I read Great Expectations and David Copperfield this way and thought those stories were great. Also was my first exposure to the Sherlock Holmes stories. I'd heard adults around me talking about these things or them being referenced on TV through cartoons or being talked about on shows. I felt so ahead of my peers by understanding and knowing what those stories were and now being able to get some of the references to them. I had it in my mind to read all the classics of literature. I later discovered that what I had read were just simplified versions and the actual stuff was worded much more differently and often had more details and events included in it. Turns out I still had a long way to go there. ;) Yet, again, it wasn't just the classics that I wanted to read all of. It was all manner of stuff that caught my interest. I guess I had the completionist aspect in me from a young age because I wanted read every Garfield volume, TinTin book, Hardy Boys novel, Dr. Suess book, The BabySitter's Club, The Wizard of Oz series, etc. So many series I'd start tracking the various titles in or began at Vol. 1 and start working my way through. Over time, a lot of that got dropped but some stuff I did succeed in as well. This still continued through adolescence and adulthood. Liked Agatha Christie novels. Started trying going through all her stuff and read a majority of it. Almost read all the works of Ernest Hemingway. Almost read all of Michael Chricton's stuff. I'd find something I like and keep on diving in for more.

This also expanded to TV. Again, hearing from adults or references from other media on things like The Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, Cheers, MASH, etc. During my teen years, we got cable and there were channels that would be playing these older shows. Using the VCR, I'd set it up to record episodes and watched through a bunch of these series and more. Some I watched over multiple times because they were great. Looking at you, MASH, and your 11 seasons. The result was that, yes, I did get that knowledge and indeed it made me be able to now see and understand references and jokes and what was so special about some of these shows. I found it made things easier for me to connect with other people of different ages. I could have conversations with people much older than myself on this stuff and it felt like I had achieved this knowledge of the past that I could keep building on as I kept up with the present.

Ironically, with media fragmenting so much on streaming services and so many cable channels, so many people are watching so many different things being made now that it is harder to have conversations or stay on top of what's out there these days. That lesser amount from the past made it much easier to have common experiences than now.

It ties into what I was going to wrap up this post with. If there's one thing this forum has always stood for, it is posting about religion. 8) I'm not sure if many people here have ever read Ecclesiastes in the Bible but I love it. Such a great book. "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" and "There is nothing new under the sun" are just some of the quotes I like to reference from it. But the one that was in my mind and I think about a lot is at the end in which it says "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." I feel that also applies now to movies, TV Shows, and videogames. Of all the stuff that's already been made, it would hard for anyone to get through in a lifetime and yet there seems to be no end of it. The prospect of trying to stay on top of it all would make a person weary and worn out.

It reminds me of what Roger Ebert had planned to do shortly before he died. He called it A Leave of Presence but basically he realized that as he was getting older and his health was getting worse, he was going to leave the majority of writing film reviews on his website to others rather than keep up with the continual weekly releases he had been doing all his life. What stuck with me the most from his post is early on when mentions this: "What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review." It's been remarked on that people think the job of a movie critic would be so easy but it meant having to watch many things he didn't like or may have interested him. He sort of talks about this in another article back in 1992 about his life as a film critic. There he said "In the past 25 years I have probably seen 10,000 movies and reviewed 6,000 of them. I have forgotten most of those films, I hope, but I remember those worth remembering, and they are all on the same shelf in my mind." Imagine having to write 6,000 reviews on stuff you thought was average or mediocre or outright terrible. 20 years later, he talks about finally just watching and reviewing the films he wants or feels like watching and that was something he had been fantasizing about all that time. To his credit, he still championed and got excited for a new film that he thought was great and never got so jaded with the process but I do get the sense that he did feel weary from the process of week after week of reviewing things.

It's that comment which also helped me somewhat. While I have forced myself through some movies I've absolutely hated that have been on my lists or finished watching TV series that had long lost the entertainment value they first started with, I try not to let it be too much of a habit. Instead, it's better to just watch, read, play, cook, or do what excites you. What interests you and now just because you have to check something off a list or complete a whole series of something. Trying to keep up with everything and force your way through stuff you don't like will just make you weary of it all. Take it at your own pace. And if you find yourself with gaps in your knowledge because of it or can't keep up with the pace of releases, I think on introspection you may find it is not that big of a deal because you're (hopefully) happy with what you are pursuing in that moment. And, hey, maybe you will get around to it whatever it is you are missing out on now or you are able to adjust to playing more in a year without feeling burnt out. If it can happen then good. Just don't think you can't change your goals or ambitions along the way.

Not sure if any of this will help or apply to your situation but I hope it can at least show some of the sympathy and empathy you're looking for and at least provide a different perspective on the topic.


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