Can the modern man casually play video games in the era of “Epic Gaming”?
Let’s face it people, we got shit to do. Not only that, we’ve made ourselves into mobile workaholic stations bent on ensuring we are never out of touch on the next email/phone/text/insta-tweet-snap digitally seeping through our eye sockets like some sort of neuromantic virus osmosis-ing its way into our already mushed think-tank. Ironically, this electronic eye mashing that we stress over with is the exact same way we drink ourselves stupid with to calm our nerves.
Gaming has become the simulacrum for the whiskey nightcap for many, and we’ve come a long way from the pixel side scrolling single player to the era of “Epic adventure massive multiplayer phenomes” dominating many consoles and PCs everywhere.
Look at Fallout 4. No, seriously, look at it. You know that one of the producers of this game spent 400 hours playing this game, and is still finding new things to do? This game is not even out yet (at the time of this writing)! Let that sink in for a second; a game that has not even hit the shelves is already boasting that the time you could have taken to learn a new language is still not enough time to do all the shit you could possible do in this game. Lets go a step further: ever heard of ‘No Man’s Sky’? If you haven’t and consider yourself a gamer, shame on you, good sir. For all others, turn back now and save your soul because exploring No Man’s Sky’s “world” is actually not humanly or even robotically possible. No, I am not kidding. The theoretical time frame that it would take for gamers to explore the entirety of the game is 5 billion years. That’s because this game procedurally generates an entire universe complete with individual planets right down to a blade of freaking grass or a grain of sand. Players explore, discover, fly space ships, combat the wildlife and space pirates… you’re basically living the Star Trek life in the modern age and I don’t know how much more nerdy that sentence could have gotten.
Patrick Stewart + Tommy Gun ≠ Nerdy
But it’s not a surprise gaming has turned this way. We wanted more and we are also a species that loves to stretch the concept of ‘impossible turn possible’ then snap that concept into pieces and rebuild it into a new concept that’s far superior. Downloaded content extends stories and games, Massive Multiplayer Online games have almost endless quests and player vs player battles, survival games literally have you survive as long as possible against zombies/aliens/elements/animals/other players that can pretty much make it almost infinite. And with all that available… how in the hell do we have the time to play these damn games?!
These games were meant to be put down and picked up again.
Developers are not stupid, they know they can only hold your attention for a finite amount of time; their job is to make sure they can bring you back. That is the beauty of today’s modern games, they can be put down, forgotten, and come back to remind you of the good times you had like a bad ex-text. But developers follow the player’s trend and needs. They’ll boost your level in a MMO so you can get caught up and go right where you left off without missing a beat. Save your game in the clouds so you’ll never lose your spot again [more on this later]. Enable multiple genres in one game so that you don’t have to buy multiple games to play an RPG/FPS/Building Sim/survival sim/other games in a game. Something is always there to bring you back, but nothing is lost when you put it down.
Save spot locations are a thing of the past (and so is your hard-drive space).
Gone are the days of the “shit I died and need to start the entire game over” or “shit I saved back 5 hours ago before the next checkpoint to save.” We save whenever, we lose whenever, and we come back whenever. And with the computational omnipotence of cloud storage, we can save as much as we want.
There are soft ‘definitive’ moments that can pace us.
Epic games seem to go on forever but they are also designed episodically even if it’s not directly shown to be. We are creatures of goal setting and accomplishing, and developers know this. So even if they do create an entire universe for us to explore, they automatically give the options to cut our play time into chunks without losing feeling for what is happening. With the combination of infinite saves, we can patiently chip away at these games without FOMO on what’s next.
Epic’s cater to your play style and allow you to step out of your skin.
Most epics are designed to be all encompassing, including conforming to the nature of the player’s style of play. Take your time or smash it all as fast as you can – however you want your sundae made – the point is epics are not just meant for serious gamers. Because of the all the stuff you can do and the variability that allows you to do them, gamers are free to choose… whatever, really. Go the assassin/infiltration route, go John Woo/The Raid on your enemies, or complete an entire game without killing a single thing.
Most importantly for the casual, this epics allow you to step out of your shoes and reality into a completely, thought out alternate reality that can take the load off all the shit we just did in our modern lives.
Coupled with all the above statements, the modern man can casually kick back and lay into the one or two epic games that cover it all and just slowly chip away. Saves on the money that we would spend on the ever so increasing prices of games as the costs grow over time, anyway.