January 31, 2008 12:00 AM |
[The Aberrant Gamer is a weekly, somewhat NSFW column by Leigh Alexander, dedicated to the kinks and quirks we gamers tend to keep under our hats – those predilections and peccadilloes less commonly discussed in conventional media.]
The core of the game market is its very own culture, and at times it can be a bit tricky to understand, a tangle of contradictions. We’re geeks – we don’t want to be cool by anyone’s standard, and yet we retain the right to judge nearly anything outside of our world as lame.
We’re often deemed as antisocial or isolationist, and in many cases embrace that judgment – but we want to find each other online, to play together, network and discuss en masse nearly constantly. We’re annoyed whenever the mainstream media misunderstands our pastime – and yet we love to brawl with them. We don’t want to be part of the mainstream – and yet, we often wish our non-gaming friends would just “get it.” Alone and yet in a crowd, immersed in fantasy and yet immediately reactionary to real-world events, craving challenge while longing for accessibility.
With that in mind, it’s no small challenge game developers face trying to produce something that will appeal to us. We want games to be fun, but when we’re not occasionally frustrated, we dismiss the lightweight, relegating the title to the realm of the casual. We want depth and engagement – but we’ll snooze through too much dialogue, cinematics and story. We want emotion, but characters being “emo” is something to be mocked.
We know we’re a reactionary bunch – even the best among us as individuals have been caught up in the mob psychology from time to time, with a little help from the internet. And for quite a while now, it’s seemed like the core of the gaming audience is impossible to please, continually frustrated on a real emotional level by games that try to pretend they “get it,” but are really just trying superficially to hit all the right notes.
But with No More Heroes, it’s finally happened – someone’s made a game that knows who we are.
Categories: Column: The Aberrant Gamer