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Old 2013.09.19, 06:05 AM   #521
Tokyo Jihad
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This is a little off topic as it's not about any particular game, but about gaming as a whole.

I've noticed over the last few years this weird phenomena amongst gamers that I've mentally dubbed "gamers mid-life crisis." Let me illustrate:



The above image macro was posted on reddit earlier this week due to the game-o-sphere's preemptive knee-jerk reactions over GTA V's yet-to-be controversies. My initial reaction was, "thirty???" This just sounds like a lie. Either the creator doesn't know the difference between average and median or its using only the most inclusive definition of "gamer."

People were quick to call bullshit, and people were quick to say "nuh-uh!1!" "I'm a 30 year old who loves games" ipso facto I must be the game devs target audience and thus the average gamer. I had an argument with my best friend about the very subject over a year ago. On the one hand, there's truth to it, their target fits most aspects of their profiles (editorial example: "Did they buy the last piece of shit we shoved their way?") but the late 20 to 30 age is merely coincidental, and certainly not who game devs market towards.

They market to, as the have for the last 10 years or so at least, to 15-25 year olds (and I think I'm being generous with the 15 because its probably more like 10.) However "gamer culture" also has this "take me seriously" complex and if the medium is largely focused on kids (young adults) then it's hard to call yourself a serious medium. At least, in their eyes for some reason.

Its like the animation ghetto. For a long time animation was the cheap, disposable alternative for children's programming. It's matured over time, as have video games, and has resulted in some great masterworks. (And I don't mean "rated M for mature, mature".) Even with your Akira's and your Coralines, or Finding Nemo's, or Persepolis' animation is still largely aimed at kids. And to me, as an animation fan, that's perfectly fine. I can still go and enjoy Monsters University even if I know it wasn't made with me in mind.

Video games have certainly progressed since Burger Time, but even with all the Bioshock monsters and grizzled protagonists with guns, are those any less targeted at teens than say The Conjuring 2 was? Aged gamers seem to be forgetting that they still liked the same things as a kid that they do know. They like the brave hero, they like the "cool badass" theme and scenery, the gorey monsters just as they did when they were younger. Maybe they can contextualize it better and appreciate it more now in their late 20's, but that doesn't mean the games not for the 16 year old version of them that still would be jonsed to play. It's why people like Han Solo or Jabba the Hut and turn around and hate Jar Jar Binks -- because Jar Jar was "meant" for kids and wasn't cool or menacing for kids.

This is my theory: I grew up in the time where video games and internet were growing up together. Gamers connected together and with developers and there was that magic point where we were all in high school and had walking around money to buy games and devs were happy to oblige. Even into college maybe games still was an integral part of our lives. That crop of gamers, maybe the first era to label themselves as "gamers" as a lifestyle choice, felt they were the center of the gaming universe. Yet, they over loo the fact there is a mass of new high school kids also discovering online communities to go along with the games they've played since elementary. And as the older gamers get older, they only become harder sells with rent, taxes, babies, etc competing for their money. Who is easier to sell to: a thirty year old with mortgage and a wife and a "entry level, 5 years experience, Great Recession-era" job or the 17 year old who got $100 from his job or dad doesn't know how to spell the word "retirement"?

I don't mean to say there is some age where games are no longer an acceptable hobby (much like there's no age yet where cartoons and legit children's tv or books stop being enjoyable to me.) I just think it's laughably naive when I hear a gamer my age say that developers are still making games for "them" and not for a younger demographic.

What do you guys think?
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Old 2013.09.19, 06:28 AM   #522
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Well, not really adding to your comment/this conversation: but the Jar Jar part- people hated him for pretty fucking obvious reasons. Most annoying character in the history of all time, not because he was aimed at kids.
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Old 2013.09.19, 06:45 AM   #523
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He was annoying because when they created him they were thinking "okay, this is for the kids. This is what kids like" which they weren't thinking when they wrote up Han Solo or whoever.

EDIT: I really don't know what that rant was about or why it bothers me so much. The whole video game scene, games and people has left me unimpressed for years now.
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Old 2013.09.19, 07:58 AM   #524
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Lots of stuff in TJ's note that would require a multi-level response, and unfortunately I'm too lazy for that.

But okay, this stood out: that weird stat about the "average over 30 gamer." Let's start with the word "gamer." How do you define a "gamer"? Someone who plays games?" Someone who plays Words With Friends for 20-25 minutes a day? Or do they mean someone who plays 3-4 hours a day, minimum, 7 days a week? A WoW grinder, a CoD multiplayer, a GTA immersion freak. Are those the "real" gamers?

It's like the word "moviegoer." "Oh, yes, I'm a moviegoer. I go to the movies 3-4 times a year!" That actually is the average adult attendance, or somewhere close to it. But it's stupid to call them "moviegoers" like it defines their lives, just like calling people "gamers" because they don't shrink from controllers like Dracula from a crucifix.
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Old 2013.09.19, 08:20 AM   #525
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Agreed on all points. I would venture to say the median age of so-called "gamers" is somewhere around late teens to early twenties perhaps, but even at that, the demo for game devs is squarely teens. Also, the parallel between gaming and animation that you brought up bears emphasis. Devs are in dire need of taking a page out of the animation industry's book. The reason Pixar can come out with a masterpiece like Toy Story 3, or Frederator with Adventure Time, is precisely because they have a clear understanding of consumers outside what would traditionally be their demo and how to deliver content that can be engaging for those viewers. While games may do their damnedest to be (M for) "mature" and introduce more complex concepts than they did say, 5-10 years ago, they almost universally lack the subtext or nuance that the shining examples of animated works possess. In the end, instead of being compelling, these themes just come across as hollow and pandering. Don't get me wrong, it's slowly getting there and notable exceptions do exist, but they're few and far between.

I could go on, but I feel like I'm rambling already. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 2013.09.20, 08:29 AM   #526
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I think it's just "target audience".
Not all movies are for kids, not all video games are for kids.
But after working at a movie theater, I have found many people will bring their kids to see a hard-R rated movie. I don't know why, obviously I can't gauge the maturity of the kid, but I doubt a 6-9 year old is mature enough for some of the ultra-violent, high-sex content R movies out there.
Parents don't give a shit about ratings, because they have a sense of entitlement that everything should just exist for their kids. They don't understand that some things are "adults-only" and some places should be "adults-only" (hint: go to an extremely expensive upscale restaurant, listen for the extremely loud and messy table with the screaming toddlers, and watch the parents FREAK OUT when the waitstaff asks for them to calm the fuck down)
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Old 2014.01.28, 08:45 AM   #527
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I just finished Bioshock Infinite. I played it with a lot of expectations. Loved Bioshock 1, didn't much care for Bioshock 2. Infinite arrived with fanfare but I waited until it price-dropped to $10 on Steam. Then I waited a little longer to actually play it.

The best parts of the game were the first couple of hours and the last couple of hours. Getting immersed into the world in the beginning, figuring out the rules, and the combat were all fun. Production design was dazzling, and I really enjoyed riding the rails. Then the end sequence where the plot was explained and the narrative turns inside out (some of it seemed borrowed from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence) was just smart and satisfying.

But the middle? The 8-9 hours of getting from the beginning to the end? Seriously, it was a problem and I think a major problem in games overall. I am getting weary of these 10-15 hour games that have a great opening, great ending, and a long draggy middle where sequences repeat and you feel like you're going in circles.

Case in point: Portal 1 versus Portal 2. The first one is 4 hours of non-stop invention and fun. The second one is also about 4 hours of invention and fun spread out over a 10-hour experience.

At this point, I set all my games to "easy" difficulty because this gets me through them quicker. I still enjoy the beginnings, where the worlds and the game rules are introduced, and I usually like the endings, with spectacular boss battles and narrative closure....but man, I just want to get through the middles as quickly as possible.
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Old 2014.01.28, 09:56 AM   #528
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I do the same thing (put my games on Easy so I can go through them faster).
I think Bioshock Infinite would work really well as a movie, as it would allow the pace to pick up in the middle. I can see it as a good 2.5 hour long one. But yeah, middle was annoying, it felt like one big long fetch quest.

I disagree about Portal 2 though. Portal games exist on their writing and puzzles, and Portal 2 had better puzzles and wittier writing.
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Old 2014.01.28, 12:11 PM   #529
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Maybe I'm alone on this, but somehow I found the Portal 1 puzzles to be more challenging than Portal 2. Portal 1 puzzles were difficult not just in terms of timing, but also in terms of really knowing what you would have to do. I felt like I breezed through Portal 2 in comparison, even though technically it's a longer game.
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Old 2014.01.29, 08:50 AM   #530
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I've only recently started Portal; I'm still at the very beginning of the game where you have to generate power to a couple of circuits by blocking energy balls, holding a block. I really like it so far.

Any of you guys on steam? Anyone care for an EMF group on steam?
Edit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/08lpfh9fyoa6udq/EMFsteam.jpg This could be the groups logo, lol.

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