Okay, not in some paranormal psychic way either, that’d be silly! And no, I’m not speaking of some literal magic, as we all know magic only existed until 1892...
Look, do you want to hear this story or not? Geez!
Okay, so back in the late eighties... Was it the late eighties? I can’t remember.
Scratch this, let’s start again.
So I was about 6 years old... Yes, this story is about me, but could easily be a story about you. (That’s a much better way to start the story. It gives us a kind of connection right off the bat—if, of course, it could be a story about you, and completely different stuff didn’t happen to you, in which case I’ve probably just smashed your suspension of disbelief)
Anyway, I remember it was a time when a little pale-skinned Lemmy would beaver away on his Sinclair Spectrum day and night. Gauntlet? Remember that? Saboteur. That was ace. Etc. See? I’m getting all nostalgic now!
Now the thing is, back then it was generally seen as some gross abnormality for a kid to spend more time prodding at rubber keys and making little arrangements out of those little moisture absorbing packets of granules atop their black and white TV to try and get the fucking vertical hold to sort its life out, than to go out in the sunshine and poke at dog crap with a stick. To put it simply, I was a bit of a geek.
“Oh, why isn’t playing computer games cool?!” I used to cry in vain as I tried to negotiate my little frog across a busy road. “Why does it seem like I am one of the only people in the world who likes computer games?” I cursed as I tried to negotiate Horace across a busy road.
It’s at this point, if this story was ever filmed, that we would probably do some swanky swish cut to the modern day, and the viewer would probably see some underlying symbolism or subtext, or maybe it would be printed on the screen Frasier style if it were written in American, I don’t know. And that is this (the subtext, that is): Careful what you wish for.
And now we’re at the nub of the matter. No, a Chav didn’t literally break into my house in the middle of the night and lift my copy of Fallout 2 to afford some smack, but he might as well have done.
See, when games were primarily targeted at pasty-faced geeks, I kinda liked a lot of them. But something terrible has happened in the past decade or so. We geeks have been supplanted as the main target audience of computer games (I mean VIDEO games right?) instead being offered interactive entertainment treats such as Shooty Shooty Kill Kill 6 and Quest for the Kill Your Face In With a Gun: Part Deux.
If it were just the violent angle that wouldn’t be too bad, but please don’t piss about with the actual gameplay! It was fine how it was! Not content with beating us up for liking nerdy games when we were kids, Charvers have now got a step further and muscled in on our guilty pastime, leaving us with the straggler
What started me off this rant? A few things actually, the first main offender I remember being an awesmoe game on my Amiga called...
UFO: Enemy Unknown
(or XCOM: UFO Defence)
The decline of the XCOM franchise cannot be described with words, and the only possible way to get the this tragic fall from grace across aptly is with the Britnometer system shown below:
What happened then? Some publisher guy sat in a board room somewhere said something to the effect of: “XCOM was great! Really great. Except, why can’t all the little people run around AT THE SAME TIME?” You bloody Fraggle, look what you’ve done! That’s one of the main reasons it WAS great!
Well, it’s not his fault, really. He wants money in his pocket, he wants huge profits, as they always have. Sad fact is that the original fans of the original XCOM game are outnumbered to Chavs by like 10 to 1. He’s going after the biggest demographic. And the biggest demographic want “everything to move at once”, so that’s what they get!
Of course it sucked, but we could have told him that. Probably made more money though!
Next came, perhaps the greatest game I’ve ever played in my life. Quite a contemporary title that made me stand up and go “the game industry may not be irrevocably stuffed after all!” – The legendary
Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind!
I won’t go into all the details of why Morrowind is not only the best RPG game ever, but in my opinion the best game ever, but rest assured it is, as ruled by the Grand Council of Correctness in Geneva for 5 years running. It has its faults, sure, some glaring ones. But the good bits are so good that the problems seem completely inconsequential, and do in fact seem like unavoidable side-effects that come with making such an ambitious and immense game.
The Elder Scrolls series just get BETTER AND BETTER! What could be next?
Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
Okay, I won’t be too harsh on Oblivion, as it was actually a pretty damn good game, in its own right. But the problem is they catered for the mainstream again. No Chav’s gonna play Morrowind, that’s for darn sure! It addressed all the problems in Morrowind, at the cost of 90% of what made Morrowind good in the first place!!! Oblivion is a fraction of the size of Morrowind due to the now commercially compulsory recorded speech instead of written text. All RPG dice rolls have been removed from the system in favour of FPS style combat. A Chav doesn’t want to swing at a rat and miss, regardless of how shit he is with a sword. The list goes on. I’ll leave Oblivion there though as I’m coming to the game that sent me into this psychopathic rant:
Could have been great!
Fallout 1 and 2 were awesome. I am, if you hadn’t guessed already, a big fan of turn-based strategy games. I like real-time stuff too, I do like some FPS games, platformers, fighting games, and of course adventure games, but there’s something really cool for me about games where it’s not about how fast you can click, how well you know hotkeys, or how quick your reactions are (not to mention the fact that I’m allergic to adrenaline). I like games where it’s all about what you do, not how fast you can do it, or how well you’ve developed complimentary automatic muscular responses by playing it for 200+ hours.
The Fallout battle system is like UFO x 10. It’s great fun! Imagine the horror when it transpired that Fallout Tactics had become... wait for it... REAL-TIME!
Beep beep! The Britnometer’s going crazy on this one!
Okay, so Fallout Tactics has been out a few years, so I’m kind of late on this rant. I’d already written off the single player years ago on account of it not really being the RPG Fallout 1 or 2 were.
Since then, it has been gathering dust at my parent’s house, but now I’m all internetted up, I saw it on a shelf and I thought I’d bring it home and give it a crack online. Fallout multiplayer?? Must be good, right? Wrong!
To be fair, unlike the evil XCOM people, they have kept in the turn-based option for all those fan’s of the actual series.
The problem is that again, for every fan of the original Fallout games, there are ten Chavs finishing GTA San Andreas and wondering what they should play next. Guess what? Pretty much EVERYONE who plays online all play in real-time, which pretty much means having a bunch of characters running about like nutters on speed dying horribly every five seconds. It’s been turned into Quake!
Fallout TACTICS you say?
It’s coming up to my third day of trying to find someone to play turn-based with online, and still to no avail. Gutted. I did have a brief play when a mate visited, turn-based naturally, as he is of a similar mind as myself. It was frickin’ awesmoe! Well done 14 Degrees East. But why couldn’t you have had the bottle just to stick to that? Money. Target Demographics. Chavhandling. That’s what.
Don't get me started on that other Fallout game...
So who do I really blame for all this? At the end of the day?
They created the “Playstation generation” and done gone buggered it all up.