Written on holiday in Spain, typed/remixed in the early hours of the very last day of my summer holiday; an attempted explanation of why I’ve barely done any writing about games recently, even as I begin to try my luck applying for games journalism work.
It wasn’t meant to happen. I didn’t plan it this way, honest. But things went the way they did and I’m left with a summer in which I have bought precisely two videogames and played (thoroughly) one. One lousy game. One lousy brilliant game.
The reasons are as numerous as they are boring. Multiple holidays; nomadic lifestyle; dead 360; little access to surviving consoles; having a life; no* good games for the Wii…
Let’s grab ‘having a life’, again. There’s a lot of talk at the moment of where the medium’s headed, whether games are going to make it in the canon of mainstream art forms. The common comparison is comic books, that other artform not for anyone with a life. But I don’t mean it in that sense, the ugh it’s for geeks sense of comics. We’re past that now, surely.
I mean: have games got no place in a busy life?
This might be why they’re looked down on. When you’re in, you’re in hard. Half-day sessions, looking up from the controller and suddenly it’s light outside. Long term commitment in a single fixed place (I’m ignoring, for the sake of this argument, handhelds likes the DS, as well as the world of casual games) without the saving graces of those mainstream media. Films require sitting in one place, but for a relatively short period of time. Books require lengthy investment, but are portable, with value as a potential status symbol/signifier. TV is long-term commitment split over an extended period of time, in small bursts. Music, arguably the most pervasive medium of all, is both portable and short-burst/disposable, if you so wish.
Even comic books have got many of these virtues. They’re held back by an image problem, both from the public and from within.
We’re just different. That’s our problem. I’m not saying the interactive nature of the beast isn’t a roadblock to new users. I’m just pointing out that even to someone within the fold – a connoisseur/addict, like me – the very nature of games requires effort to be kept up with. And what’s less cool than effort?