Gaming has diversified over the past several years, bulging out in all directions. Increased crowds have forced the industry to accommodate, giving way to a breakout in casual specific gaming. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have a bleed over effect, where games previously shallow have gained a baring in depth, and other affairs have dared to become even more complex.
In short, when you get big enough, things start to get confusing.
While some companies can’t just shut their mouths and make money, and others don’t even pretend to care, I feel as if many other less savage groups have showcased not just a want to grow, in entertainment value, but an accommodating responsibility to themselves and the fans in doing so.
This may not seem apparent to some, but in a grand crowd of neutrality, all it takes is a few evil weirdo’s to really stand out.
A few examples of responsibility are simple enough. A trend of tiered game consoles at launch, ranging in price and technology, affording a certain level of commodity to different demographics of gamers. Another small example is Steam, forcing you to click on the terms of agreement before a purchase. This is a simple reminder that while buying games on Steam is quick and painless , making money isn’t, time never on our side.
The surface level ones are more obvious to me as far as intended variety, but there are a few that can be taken for granted. One example isn’t as new as others suggested here, most MMO players know well what I speak of. Borrowed powers of accounting playing the Jester to their King of DPS. Even without all of the end game raid planning, number crunched builds, or drop percentage mathematics, the inventory management alone can be a wrathful endeavor. Making new characters entirely to service and line the pockets of other existing characters.
The genre’s need of micro management representing to some, a true king of inanity.
My motivation, of course, is an odd nod of approval. MMO’s providing that all important option of choice in the matter, which is the only way this level of complexity can take effect. If not more or less a ripple effect of WoW’s popularity, the designers of many MMOs must showcase an inherently mindful responsibility. Many games in the genre now allow you to play without thought or strategy, solo or otherwise, to your heart’s content.
The MMO being one of the best examples of my many that help in painting this picture of possible convolution giving way to responsibility. This is just in the essence of choosing to be responsible or not. Having the option is ultimately beneficial, and gives way to playing mindlessly, or engaging vigorously. The micro-management being imbued with a sense of personally gratifying effort to those who choose that odd contradiction of enjoyable suffering.
MMO’s aren’t alone either, they’re just the beginning. From playing through a game or section multiple times based on simple moral decisions, to team management in FIFA, and deciding on a good play book in Madden. Not forgetting character and real estate customization in free roam games like GTA or Saint’s Row, or pimping out your car with thousands of options to shave off three extra seconds on a good run in Gran Turismo or Forza. With those examples in tow, we move to our fourth wall burdens, like signing up and making profiles in proprietary online gaming services and networks. Re-arranging apps, downloading, installing, transferring save games, altering your personal profile for an intended perception of your avatar in game, and communicating with your personal clan…gaming really has become as involved as you would like it to be. Hell, even something as simple as an FPS like Call of Duty has micro-management, in the form of synergizing a beneficial perk system, all in the sake of killing other dudes faster.
Even shooting games have evolved.
I observe all of this with a playful willingness, having engaged and compromised with all of it. I don’t mourn a perceived loss of simplicity, I’ve routinely rejected the notion. Going back full circle to what casual gaming provides, is the lack of responsibility, because the games usually works on one level. This provides an absence of choice, and a streamlined entertainment therefore. All of those other aspects of gaming I’ve mentioned aren‘t brutally demanding, they are gloriously optional. This helps in servicing us with the benefit of responsibility, and not the burden it is often portrayed as. We then follow through with a mindless romp, or an intricate session of engagement. This help fills out the vast landscape gaming has become, and all of the roads you can choose, or not choose to travel down.
Our little puppy gaming has grown into a loyal dog, we just gotta remember to feed it when it’s hungry, and clean up after he accidentally takes a shit on the floor.