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Game Depression: A Serious Question For A Humorous Topic
by R G on 04/05/11 04:13:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Hm. First time writing a blog on here after being a member now for two years. It has a nice forest pine scented smell to it. But on to the topic at hand:

I would like to pose a simple question:

Can you love gaming, designing games, and playing games so much, that you end up unable to play anything that has come out in the last six months? Now, extend that "last six months" bit, to any game that has come out?

Think about that for a second.

What's this man babbliing about?

I have been unable to sit down and play a game in six months like I would usually do. Usually, I will pour this finite resource known as time into any game I like. 257 (no joke) hours of Fallout 3? Check. Batman: Arkham Asylum 100% completed? Check. Red Dead Redemption?

You get the picture.

I'm in what you could call a gaming depression. I cannot find a game to satisfy myself. Why is this? Why is he still rambling on?

This is why (atleast, at 3:23 AM in the morning why I think this is): We, I, am thinking too much like a developer.

Over the past view months, there have been some interesting topics on here on Gamasutra. Some of these include:

  • Gamification
  • Jane McGonigal
  • Sequelitis (this one has been around for a while now, but it's intensified on here a bit)
  • How *insert Indie game here* is the greatest thing to ever come out.

I'm not going to touch on the first two topics, as I feel I couldn't properly explain them (yes, I'm still unsure about how I feel at what Ms. McGonigal proposes). I will comment on the last two in one fell swoop.

Sequelitis, Glorifying certain games, etc.

I heard this term as a description by Adam Sessler a while back (smart man, definitely an influence on me). It has had a lot of us in a bind lately:

"We must create something original!"

While this is true, lately I've noticed a trend. We'll take any indie game made and proclaim it as "truly innovative", "OVER 9000/10".

Before I am flogged to death, I am a humble indie programmer.

I'll take a game that was widely praised. A little thing called Limbo. The atmosphere is great. I love the look, the sound (or lack thereof), and story of it.

It's also an average game. I can't deny this as I play it. I stopped playing it actually. It just bores me. It is equivalent to Call of Duty: Black Ops for me. Both games feature amazing visuals, but halfway through the game I am bored. Granted, it came third level with Black Ops, but who's counting?

Bringing this mess of a blog to an end!

To bring this poorly written blog full circle, I would like to tie my "Gaming Depression" in with the above comments about Limbo and Black Ops. Basically, I've realized that as a developer, it's my duty to make something wholly original. As a developer who likes to play games, it's for the safety of not getting killed by (hopefully) future fans to make a game that is FUN.

There's nothing wrong with FPS games, JRPGS, or *insert overused genre here*. It's the way we go about them that can be wrong. We can gripe all we want about how the large companies are not being innovative (a true statement, here's looking at you Activision), but until we realize that we need our Citizen Kanes to be as fun as Demolition Man, than we're going to be stuck in this rut.

Or for my sake, please, those of us on Gamasutra,  make something that I'll talk about at the proverbial watercooler. Gamers will come to you, I promise.

this.gotoAndStop("Delusional Thoughts");

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Jack Garbuz
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It's only natural to hit a trough, and feel low from time to time, when nothing seems to fill the void. It usually passes quickly enough. Do something completely different: Read a book. Go hiking. Whatever. Virtual reality can become just as unfulfilling and depressing as genuine reality from time to time. OF course, if the condition does not pass, then perhaps it may be genuine depression and perhaps a trip to the shrink and some medication might be the thing. But frankly, I doubt it.

As for Black Ops, it was okay, but some of the earlier COD games were better, IMO, despite some of the stunning visuals in this last installment. In the end, it always comes down to a story, and how evocative it is, so as to have the effect of becoming totally immersive, wherein you simply forget everything else. THat's where exceptional writing and great execution combine to create a great and truly memorable, sometimes even a therapeutic experience. But such books, movies and video games are memorable but rare. They set the bar that few others can live up to, though copy cats will try to emulate, though invariably fail.

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Thanks for the comment!

Nah, I do other activities like most people (really enjoy running, playing/listening to music, and biking), but it just seems that, like you've said, I have my bar high and can't seem to simply ENJOY the games I play any longer, at least most of them.

Luis Guimaraes
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I'm totally with you. It's rare to find a game that I really enjoy anymore.

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Yeah, I feel the same way. Oh wait, already stated that xD

Matthew Dorry
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Hey man, I feel you. Haven't been able to find a game that satiates my desire for plain old fun. I forced myself through a 50-hour plow-through of Mass Effect 2 recently and personally couldn't get into it, but "had to finish". And then... AND THEN! I smoked some weed and played Halo: Reach with a buddy of mine. It was the most fun I've had playing a game in years it seems.

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Lol, well I'm not looking for mindless fun. I find ME2 fun...but it's just lately there seems to be a dearth of games with both substance and fun. But yeah, I had a similar experience going from Fable III to Reach actually. Reach, imo, didn't have the impact Halo 3 did, but it still was fun at least.

I'd like to see games that can bridge fun and depth. Nowadays, it's hard to get both. It's like we have either just our AAA games, or iOS games. Where is the middle ground?

I've taken to impulse buying used games at GameStop (Samurai Shodown 3, Yakuza) and just playing them. It's fun now to find hidden gems like that.

Jack Garbuz
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Yeah some of the older games were pretty memorable. Yakuza. Max Payne. Deus Ex. KOTOR. They had PATHOS. There was something moving in those stories, in addition to the action. Return to Castle Wolfenstein? More recently, Bioshock perhaps. There have been some good games recently, but not many that are genuinely emotionally moving.

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Yeah, it seems we don't hit on issues that are really close to home. I'd like to see more character development I think. Why are you doing this?

For instance, I'd like to use a Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond.

What would it be like to have our heroes be affected by their past? Terry had no real parents, as he mostly raised himself. That affected his role as Batman.

We hardly see this nowadays. "Why am I here? Why do I care?" is hardly ever justifiably answered. That's going to be my next blog.