Today the gaming gods smiled down upon me—I was able to secure the SNES classic from Nintendo. It was all for one game, Final Fantasy III; my favorite game of all time. And as I browsed the catalog and played a quick game of F-Zero before heading out to work I reveled in the nostalgia of all the games I grew up with. Just a weekend of old school games, until I discovered Cuphead released today.
The New Shelf Life of Video Games
There was a time when I completed games. Maybe it was born out of necessity. That fact that young Charles was dependent on his parents for games and you had to play what you had until a birthday or Christmas. Or maybe it was as simple as the fact that games back then were designed to actually be beaten. But today, games seem to suffer the same fate as music – quickly enjoyed the moment before moving on to the next.
There was a time when you let an album marinate. You would sit with it for weeks, even months if it was a good one, just taking it all in. And artists took their time, perfecting each release as if their life depended on it. Now, they drop an album, we listened for a week and wonder where the next release is. We don’t sit with music anymore. The same has happened with games. Seemingly obsessed with the long tail, games never seem to end. Just a continual loop of never ending gameplay. Which can be ideal for those looking for the next hit. But what if you want more?
My Plan of Action
I can’t deny the sense of satisfaction that comes with starting and finishing something. Especially when it comes to games. To start a story and see it through to completion. I realized that for me to do this a couple things must happen:
- I have to come to grips with the fact that I won’t be “in the know” about every damn game that drops in a year.
- I’ll have to limit the number and time spent playing open-world and MMO type games (looking at you Destiny 2)
- Understand the tradeoff of wanting a richer experience vs. being a part of the conversation for the latest release.
As much as we want games to mimic the movie industry, we treat them more like the music industry. When it’s hot, we’re all on it. But that heat is quickly diminished. Every gamer talks about their backlog, but how many of us actually do something about? Or do we fall into the trap of just piling on games just so we can be up to date? I guess you could say this is my declaration, to finish what I start. Not to worry about what’s hot, but to play for the experience. No matter the age of the game. Because if I can still enjoy Final Fantasy III as if it’s the first time I’ve ever played it, then I can do myself a favor and enjoy what these developers put out.