I’m getting older, it’s true, but I’m not yet ready to blame my encroaching decrepitude for my growing boredom with contemporary games.
My most recent two forays into gamedom were World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. WoW held my interest for roughly two months. After that I played on and off out of a desire for it to stop sucking, and then I just held my subscription for a couple of months out of forgetfulness. Then I quit, and I haven’t really considered going back even once.
Guild Wars, luckily, doesn’t have the same guilt-factor as WoW (or other subscription games), because there’s no monthly fee. It doesn’t matter if I don’t play at all this month, because I’m not forking money into the bottomless furnace of the internet just in case I decide I want to give it a go some random Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, I played for a little over a week, left it for a week, and haven’t really thought about logging in since.
WoW and Guild Wars, you see, are both basically the same goddamned game. Fantasy role-playing in a massively multiplayer world (caveats aside), where you quest to gain levels and loot. These are basically the same as Horizons, and Anarchy Online, and Star Wars Galaxies, and Asheron’s Call (1 & 2), and City of Heroes. As a matter of fact, they’re the same as the Baldur’s Gates, the Morrowinds, NeverWinter Nights, the Diablos.
In all of these games the basic premise is that you, for whatever reason, are a hero in a mythical land — usually armed with a sword, a bow, or magic — running about doing quests in an attempt to get gold and loot and experience so you get bigger, faster, and stronger. You’re working to get bigger, faster, and stronger so you can go out and get more gold and loot and experience while fighting bigger and badder bad guys. In the end (if there is an end, and as often as not there isn’t), you vanquish the biggest and baddest bad guy and save the realm from whatever horrors that bad guy was unleashing upon it.
I think I just have to finally accept the fact that most RPGs just suck, whether they be Massively Multiplayer, Limited Multiplayer, or Single Player.
So, by discounting RPGs entirely, what’s left? I’ve already abandoned the following genres in the past:
- First Person Shooters (the Doom-alikes)
- Real Time Strategy (the Starcraft-alikes)
- Sims (the SimCity-alikes)
- Turn Based Strategy that involves combat (the Civ-alikes)
- Puzzle games (the Myst-alikes)
- Choose Your Own Adventures (the Longest Journey-alikes)
- Racing Games (the Project Gotham-alikes)
- Sport Games (the Madden Football-alikes)
I don’t play FPSs, Racing Games, RTSs, or Sport Games at all. The rest of these genres will occassionally cough something up that I’ll take a look at and even buy, but in the past 3 years none of them have produced a game I’ve “finished” in any meaningful way.
So, what’s left? Bejeweled. Katamari Damacy. The bittersweet memory of the first Tomb Raider.
The thought of finally having to admit to myself that I just don’t like contemporary RPGs is just depressing. I think I’m going to have to find a new hobby.