Casual gamer: 5 reasons I became one

Just like that, I’m a casual gamer again. I played a lot of Metal Gear Solid 5 but all of a sudden I’m no longer interested. It just happens, lose all investment and not play now until maybe Christmas again.

If I do end up playing it’ll be my go-to downtime games such as Perfect Dark, Street Fighter 3 and Cuphead in small chunks. I’ve cancelled my game pass because I know I won’t use it. There are a couple of other reasons why I’m no longer big into games. Some might say “Kieran your 32 years old of course you should be done with games.”

Maybe I should grow up and get rid of the console. Probably, but playing games fall into the “consumer category”. If you told me that you played video games, you’re the same as a person who supports football or watches Netflix. You’re pouring money and time into something that will not return your investment.

There are a couple of other reasons why I consider myself a casual gamer, here’s a few.

1: Graphics blind

This is more to do with my age than anything else, but I swear, I struggle to tell the difference in graphics from generation to generation. Having played the Phantom Pain on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One I had to watch a video that pointed out the differences between the two versions. Aside from subtle differences like draw distance, I couldn’t tell the difference.

You have sharper eyes than I do so you can tell the difference. To me, it all looks the same. I guess you could say that I’m graphics racist.

All these 4k 1080p 60fps is gibberish to me, I mean I understand the essence to me, but it all just looks meh. Gaming is trying to mimic real life so much that it sends you barrelling into the uncanny valley.

Watch Lea Seydoux eat at the end of the Death Stranding trailer. Graphics wise, impressive but the mouth movements when she is chewing is just; I don’t know, there’s something off.

2: Mass Effect 3

The first Mass Effect had potential. It was a sci-fi RPG that was something like playing your version of Star Trek. What interested me was that your actions would carry across sequels. This wasn’t the first game to do that. Shining Force 3 was the first game to implement the “synchronicity system” as it was called.

Imperfect but pretty close

While the first Mass Effect was far from perfect, it intrigued me to stay invested. Along came Mass Effect 2 and it was great. The main plot wasn’t great. The end fight was anti-climactic but everything that leads up to that moment was brilliant.

It had great side quests with some beautiful sci-fi concepts. There was the crashed ship storyline. The captain feeds his crew local vegetation which makes them retarded. The captain turns his crew into slaves.

There’s the story of the scientist who merges an AI with his brother’s conscience. The only problem being that his brother has autism. I don’t know if these are original concepts. Knowing sci-fi, probably not, however, the game was enjoyable, and I was looking forward to Mass Effect 3.

Harbinger of doom

Mass Effect 3 single-handedly tainted any future investment I would have in a game franchise. Mass Effect 3 started the ball rolling for me to become a casual gamer.

Mass Effect 3 was eye-opening. If Mass Effect 1 and 2 were seasons 1-4 of Game of Thrones then Mass Effect 3 is the following seasons. Characterisation and in-world rules are cast aside as it became a race to end the story.

All that choice over three previous games is reduced to an option of A or B. There was no consequence to my actions. It was a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion to what was gearing up to be a perfect trilogy of games.

After that, I stopped playing games with too much depth. I played some of Witcher 2 and thought, this is going to take me too long to get into and stopped playing.

3: Online all the time, casual gamer will get suspicious

This is a short entry but why do games even single player games need a constant online connection? Again because I’m most familiar with it Metal Gear Solid 5 is shocking for needing to be online. Why does it affect the menus so bad?

Let me stay offline and don’t have it affect my playing.

4: Cutscenes are too long (and the writing mainly sucks)

There are so many games that want to tell you these complex, in-depth stories. If you want a casual like me to sit through those scenes, make the writing good.

The problem is the writing isn’t that good. Film scripts are about 120 pages. Video game scripts can run to 1000 pages.

It’s very rare that the writing in a film script is excellent. The likelihood of a video game script being good is even more unique.

One of the few examples of a good script and good acting is a game called Enslaved. Developers, Ninja Theory hired screenwriter Alex Garland to write the script. It also had it’s acting directed by Andy Serkis. I watched all the cut-scenes to, what a shame that the game itself was dull.

I play a game because I want to play. Don’t make me watch for too long. In fact, I skip through the cutscenes most of the time.

That’s why I’ll never play Heavy Rain or any of that. I want to play. Let me play.

5: Too complex for a casual gamer

The reason a casual gamer likes old favourites is that they have simple rules that are easy to follow.

Take Street Fighter 3; you can attack, block and avoid like other fighting games. However what makes this game special is the parry system. You can risk getting an attack in but you risk taking damage yourself. It is this mechanic that makes it one of the best fighting games.

Perfect Dark another old favourite. The enemy AI works like this, evaluate-act-revaluate. It is this fundamental concept and you as the player must work around this AI system. I don’t like Perfect Dark because it’s a highly realistic shooter, I love it because it’s fun to play.

Even Tetris has a simple rule system, make lines using the blocks, over time the rate the blocks drop speeds up.

The more simple a game, the more fun to play.

Once you realise Dark Souls is about watching your stamina bar, it becomes more enjoyable.

That’s why I don’t like Metal Gear Solid 5 as much as other entries in the series. Resource management has made it too complicated. The rules of the Metal Gear franchise were to get from point A to point B while avoiding the enemy. Metal Gear 5 discarded those rules. The game failed to replace them with anything meaningful.

Remember the writer’s adage KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

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