Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Still “Hardcore Gamer” Enough

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 16, 2012

Sometimes I worry that I’ve lost whatever it was that made me such a hardcore gamer in the past – whatever it was that made me sometimes not notice how late I was playing games until the rising sun streamed in through the window, or that made me want to write stories set in the Wing Commander universe.  The thing that made me love games so much I decided to chase a career in the field. Now that I’m older, theoretically more responsible, definitely more jaded, I often find I don’t have the patience for a lot of the games that are consuming the attention of today’s hardcore gamers. You know, the kids who are the age I was when I definitely considered myself a hardcore gamer.

It shouldn’t worry me, but it does. I get going on a COD:Modern Warfare (2, this was a few months ago just before 3 dropped) and think, “Wow, neat game,” and enjoy it for about a half-hour. At which time I’m pretty much done and ready to do something else. And part of me wants to slap myself and say, “DUDE!!! Don’t you realize that this game could have threatened your marriage back in the day? What’s wrong with you?”

Not that I’m sorry that I can resist such a temptation. I’m just saying… I worry I no longer appreciate games properly. Have I changed too much?

Every so often (probably too often), a game comes down the pipe that reminds me that yes, I’m still a sucker for a great game, and yes, it can come from a AAA studio just as easily as an indie. The same genres still tempt me – even the first-person shooters – but they have to offer something truly new, not just shinier graphics. A compelling story works pretty well here. A compelling story plus interesting new mechanics to go along with impressive (or at least cool) graphics will work even better.

Of course, the bad news upon discovering that I’m still “hardcore gamer enough” is realizing that I’ve significantly exceeded my game-time quote for the day and eaten into game development time. D’oh!  But the thing is – while my patience may be a little more lacking after decades of gaming (and playing a lot of crap), I still love to play. It’s nice to know that hasn’t changes.

(For those interested: This post has been brought to you most recently by Many Faces of Go and Borderlands).


Filed Under: Geek Life - Comments: 5 Comments to Read

  • Albert1 said,

    I think that most of the times the problem isn’t you, it’s simply that they (AAA, indie) don’t do hardcore games anymore. There’s a video on YouTube titled “If Quake was done today” that explains pretty well what happened to my favourite genre – I think other kinds of games followed a similar path. I read somewhere that today games feel like empty calories…

  • Anon said,

    I don’t think so.

    Of course you can play “harder” games but what is really “hardcore” today?

    “Vintage hardcore games” mean to me: Three lives, no unlimited continues, a manual one has to read AND comprehend, no comfy menu system, no mouse support but a shitload of key commands, no game saves or very restricted ones (When you’re dead you *stay* dead – no reloading).

    Most of this is really annoying and I always wanted to be able to save my progress etc.
    I’ll surelly won’t completely go back to “vintage hardcore”!

    Of course FPS are now almost always more story-based than earlier games, with cut scene etc. – but ask yourself: Do you really need to turn on the aiming help, the target location etc.?

    You can play many games on a hard level or impose harder conditions on yourself (kill noone, only use a knife, finish in a given timeframe etc.) so where you seek a challenge there is one.

    However, we all suffer from two problems:

    a) The market has nearly completely shifted to a more or less linear movie-like experience.

    b) Experienced gamers (old farts like myself) know too much stuff already and often get bored easily.

    As a minority you obviously can’t change a) – you’d need more consumers to shift the industry back to where it makes games that truly interest you.
    This already has happened to a degree in the past: See the RPG-revival in 1998 thanks to Baldur’s Gate.
    Today many small outfits are also producing graphics adventures again, even if the mainstream market doesn’t care and still only buys 3D action-adventures, first-person shooters and some sports games.

    The games I tend to like are either short ones, new experiences or stuff I can lose myself in as a player as they offer countless opportunities to manipulate the game world and several approaches to get to the target/exit (like the “Deus Ex” games and perhaps soon “Watch Dogs”). Granted, there aren’t many games like this but more than 200 hours in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim *each* are perhaps an indication to what I like… 😉

    You can also try to change yourself and get rid of the oversaturation that will befall every serious gamer sooner or later:
    Try out games that have a completely new concept, a genre you have ignored for long or have a presentation that is unusual for your preferences (“cute” games instead of those ultra-brutal shooters you like to play).

    Some consoles have great exclusive titles that may be not your cup of tea until you actually played them!
    One of my favorites is the Professor Layton series – and I never really played puzzle-games before…

  • Modran said,

    Yeah, well, maybe it’s because CodMW2 didn’t have anything special to keep you entertained more than half an hour?
    I know my gaming fix comes more and more from indies, and my gaming rages more an more from so-called AAA titles.

    I also know I’m much less forgiving concerning the latter ones :).

  • Tesh said,

    Where “hardcore” is a function of time, I think it’s healthy and normal for that to slide as one ages and takes on grown up responsibilities. Where “hardcore” is a function of skill, interest and career, it doesn’t surprise me that some gamers grow up to make games. It’s work, making these things, and it requires serious, even hardcore effort.

    Given the (perhaps false for some, but very real for me) choice between hardcore gaming and hardcore careering that happens to be in games, I’ll take the latter any day. It pays the bills much more effectively.

  • Groboclown said,

    I think that part of this reason was that, when we were kids, there just weren’t as many choices for games available with the money we had. I save my money (sometimes pool together with a friend) to buy that latest, greatest game (I’m looking at you, Ultima III, IV, VI, and VII:2), and spend half a summer playing it, sometimes longer.

    Now that I’m older, I have the grown-up money with the grown-up lack of game time. But there’s also such a variety of great games that hold my interest. I know we talk about the “golden” age of games, but we also forget just how much crap was out, too.