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 clich├ęs 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

Comments

  1. I feel your pain brother. Every once in a while I play too many lackluster games in a row and I get into a funk. Also, big changes are on the horizon and the future of gaming is unknown. It's not all bad though. The slow summer months are a great time to catch up on your gaming backlog, or play some smaller DL releases. If you can't just rent it for a weekend, I'm sure Dragon's Dogma will drop in price soon too. It's not a perfect game, but I had a lot of fun with it myself. Darksiders 2 comes out next week as well, and I really enjoyed the first one. Don't let FFXIII-2 get you down!

    I would also understand if you just needed a break from gaming and blogging, but I would miss your stuff if you just vanished forever. I realize that I haven't been commenting as much lately, but I still pop in to read what you write. I was in my own internet funk for a while, as a lot of "professional" gaming sites have been letting me down lately as well. So hang in there dude, and play something fun (maybe not the Witcher 2 though... I didn't really dig that game myself...). Peace, and thanks!

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    1. Things are starting to look up a bit this week, with Papo and Yo and Sound Shapes coming on the EU store. Also started playing MGS2 HD yesterday, which I was really enjoying re-visiting. Perhaps I did just needed a break, and a good moan!

      Cheers

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  2. It seems like the more you pay attention, the more you get over saturated. I'm equally bored of Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3 right now, even though I only played one of them.

    I don't know what to do with Final Fantasy any more. The last one I really loved was 6. I've been playing Theatrythm, and while I'm impressed with all their little mechanics, I play most of the time with the sound off. So I'm starting to feel like the FF magic and I are not quite on the same page!

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    1. I think I was bored of Diablo 3 before it was even released. I certainly tired of hearing about ME3, though I definitely enjoyed playing it.

      I can see playing Theatrhythm with the 3D off, but not without the sound! The music was the only thing keeping me going once I had completed the levels for my favourite FFs. There are only so many times I can smack colourful circles before I get a bit bored. No idea what is happening with the franchise and unfortunately, I think SE are equally as clueless.

      Cheers

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  3. I was the same way about a month ago with nothing gaming really interesting me. I have found a few downloadable games catching my attention lately and Uncharted 3's latest multiplayer patch has me fooling around with it again. That is awesome you got to go to the Olympics. I saw you saying that on Twitter and I was jealous.

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    1. That Uncharted 3 patch looked pretty hefty. I didn't spend much time with the multiplayer this time around, so should probably give it another look.

      Seeing the athletics live was great. I surprised myself by how much I got into it, as initially I'd had little interest in attending any of the events, aside from basketball. I was desperate for tickets to the bball semi-final or the final but couldn't get them. I was pretty pissed off watching it at home and seeing that there were empty seats throughout the arena. The ticketing system was broken, which is unfortunate as everything else about the last fortnight went really smoothly.

      Cheers

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