The Gaming Blues
Over the last few weeks I have found myself stuck in a gaming rut, an unprecedented malaise that has sapped my enthusiasm for all things video game-y. I look over at my PS3 and all I can think of is Final Fantasy XIII-2 which, as I shall explain later, is not a good thing. The only game I have to play on my 3DS is Final Fantasy Theatrhythm, which I adored for a week but am now bored of. I can't think about my Vita without getting slightly peeved; the process of picking it up and spending five minutes looking for something to play has become an oft repeated and thoroughly depressing routine that I could do without. I'm eyeing The Witcher 2 on the 360, but I just can't bring myself to start it, put off by the prospect of learning new controls when I still don't know the difference between trigger and bumper. My Wii is now exclusively an every-other-Saturday karaoke machine and I really can't be arsed with all the wire fiddling required to play something retro.
It's not just the playing of games that I've been struggling with the last few weeks, as the prospect of writing a thousand words on the topic has also failed to excite. Each time I visit Twitter, a service that has always been an extension of my gaming and blogging, my love of the internet and games take a battering. In my current rut, ALL CAPS TWEETS are more obnoxious than ever and I can't see past the use of moronic hashtags like #GAMERFORLIFE. I wish we could just do away with the tired stereotypes and gaming clichés that flourish on Twitter, as well as the constant need to fly the flag of sodding Gamerdom. On top of all this, everyone's least favourite snapshot of modern life, Twitter trends, reached a new and depressing low last week when #Japs was top ranked in the UK, in reaction to a protest by the Japanese Gymnastics team that cost Britain a silver. Sport really does bring out the best in people, especially when Twitter is involved.
I think it is fair to say that I have become far more sensitive to the failings of the internet over the last few weeks, especially where it relates to video games. It is the breeding ground for memes - I wanted to punch Total Recall in its third tit when NASA told a Martian crater that "I am in you" via Twitter - and other words I don't much like, and I'd like nothing more than to drag it out back and shoot it in its ugly face (apart from the bits I like, which are undeserving of a murdering). It seems every other online, video game article I read is either an affront to the English language, unashamedly biased or about something so trivial and uninteresting that you wonder why the author wasted their time writing it, especially when they could have just written a top 5 instead. Even well written pieces have served only to depress, reporting on the demise of the home console, Sony's financial results or Mr Phil Fish. Even Edge Magazine has lost some of its lustre of late, dedicating far too many pages to dry features about the science and psychology of gaming. To top it all off, the internet is also the place I visit at least once a day just to check that Dragon's Dogma is still overpriced at £35.
Plenty of factors have contributed to my current state of fed-upness. I always seem to lose focus when new video game releases dry up in the summer, as I require something new to keep me entertained and motivated. Thanks to a busy work schedule, I have less time for playing and writing about games. Once I have fallen out of the routine of regular blogging, as has been the case over the last two months, I struggle to get back into it and have even toyed with the idea of abandoning this site entirely. Writing about games has always encouraged me to play more and vice versa - without one the other will always suffer. Tokyo Game Show has long been a focus for my affections and writing, but I feel a bit lost knowing that I won't be in attendance this year, for the first time since 2006. My overall internet fatigue ultimately comes down to an intolerance of idiots, many of whom live at internet.com.
|Not even this pair could lift my spirits|
Final Fantasy XIII-2 has contributed the most to my reluctance to play, failing to live up to even the lowest of expectations. I persevered for around five hours - I'd have abandoned it four hours earlier if it weren't Final Fantasy - before coming to the conclusion that it is the dullest game I have ever had the misfortune of playing. Conversations lead nowhere, settings are less memorable re-runs of the original game and there is nothing appealing whatsoever about the painfully generic characters. Don't even get me started on that fucking moogle with its impossibly grating voice. Stuck with these memories of XIII-2, I fear that this rut could continue beyond the summer, or at least until something irresistible comes along.
However, I haven't just been twiddling my thumbs and thinking about how much I hate everything these last few weeks, not with the London Olympics providing reliable and constant entertainment. I usually despise the rush of patriotism that accompanies such events, how the public allows itself to be led by the media in a performance of flag waving and well-rehearsed gasps and cheers, but I have fucking loved these Olympics. I have lapped up the sporting goodness and even cheered on the Brits, though every now and again I'll take the time to support the Japanese, just to make sure I'm not becoming a sporting racist. I have yet to buy a flag.
In the place of gaming, I have spent my evenings catching up on the day's events, finding entertainment value in even the least interesting of Olympic sports, revelling in every aspect of the performance. From BBC reporters struggling with Japanese names, to our grading of sprinter pre-race poses and debating whether ugly people should be allowed to play beach volleyball, there is always something to keep me entertained. After hours wasted refreshing the Olympic ticket website, we even managed to secure last minute invitations to the Olympiad with tickets to the opening day of the athletics. We had a great day out, despite a small bottle of beer costing £5, persistent Mexican waves and racist clapping. As a host city, London feels even livelier than it would on any other cloudy, August day.
I tried to use my new found love of all things Olympic as motivation to get back in the gaming saddle, but not even Decathlete and Olympic Gold ‘92 could lift the cloud of indifference. It looks like I'll be ignoring my consoles for at least another week, waiting for something relevant to rekindle my interest. In the meantime, I'll be settling down to watch tall men run really fast, distancing myself from the evils of the internet whilst trying to forget all about XIII-2. RT if you are with me #HARDCOREGAMERFORLIFE #GAMERSSTANDUP