I recently went through a little bit of a depression spell. Nothing serious but it was just one of those days were everything was going wrong and I was feeling like crap. School was starting, most of my friends had left for college or weren't around and the girlfriend situation wasn't really getting resolved, basically everything sucked. But enough about my problems, let's get back to my point. One of the things that always makes me feel better when I feel like crap is playing videogames. So the other day when I was feeling like crap I looked through my games for one to make me feel better. However, this time it was a lot harder to find a "cheer me up" game.

As I looked through my collection I noticed an overall theme which was not to my liking. A lot of games nowadays don't really conjure up the feelings of happiness. Three of the last few games I have bought all have very dark of depressing stories behind them. Max Payne 3 is about a guy with a drug and alcohol problem as he tries to forget his dark past, Darksiders 2 is all about Death (enough said) and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is about how a race who is desperately trying to leave their planet and escape all the death and destruction. Not the happiest of games.

Now don't misunderstand me, these games are fantastic and I have a great time playing them, but they don't cheer me up. When Im feeling like crap I want to play something uplifting, not something that will just throw me deeper into depression. Ok that may be a little extreme, but you get my point.

So after putting those games to the side I decided to look farther back for a game to cheer me up. After looking through my PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and even my PlayStation 2 games with little success I stumbled upon my recently acquired Nintendo 64 which sadly hadn't been doing much more that collecting dust. So after hooking it up and looking through the games I finally found the perfect fit for a cheer me up game; Banjo-Kazooie.

I had started Banjo-Kazooie multiple times but for one reason or another I don't think I have ever gotten much farther than Clankers Cavern. So I figured that today would be the day that I would finally start and finish the game that I wanted to finish so badly. Sadly I didn't get to finish the game in one sitting but I did make it the whole way to Freezeezy Peak and I had a fantastic time. Sure the game has some problems with the camera and (in my opinion) the Nintendo 64 controller kind of sucks but the game is still a ton of fun. The platforming is top notch, the characters and dialog continually make me smile and the most important part, it made me happy. No death, murder or genocide, just fun loving characters that just put a smile on your face. But as I was playing through the game a sad fact came to mind; we don't get these kinds of games anymore. No Im not talking about platformers (which are slowly dying) Im talking about games that give you a story that isn't so dark.

For years I have heard people complain that games were getting too grey and were lacking color but I never thought much of it. If the game was fun and it wasn't giving me a seizure then a game could have as much or as little color as it wanted. But what Im talking about is more than just color. Games nowadays are just downright depressing. It seems like every other game is about the world ending, massive wars or other very depressing topics. There aren't enough games anymore that are like Banjo-Kazooie: just a kind hearted story about something as simple as a bear with a bird trying to rescue his sister from an evil witch. Every games plot is usually coated with death and just overall depressing subjects nowadays.

Now Im not saying a depressing story is bad, in fact, a depressing story can sometimes be good for helping with character development, but every story doesn't have to be about a dark subject. Try to think of the last game that was released on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 (the Wii has too many happy stories to count) that didn't have a slightly depressing story. Now Im not saying there aren't any out there, the Ratchet and Clank games (with the exception of Crack in Time) have given us some funny and enjoyable stories on the PlayStation 2 and 3 and Xbox Live Arcade has to have at least a few games that don't make us sad. But there is no denying that there are far less games out there like Banjo-Kazooie and much more like Gears of War.

But like I said before, a depressing story isn't bad story. Most, if not all, of my favorite gaming stories are fairly depressing. The Mass Effect franchise is all about the extinction of our galaxy, Kingdom Hearts deals with a kid trying to find his lost friends and Metal Gear Solid is all about trying to stop a weapon that could nuke the world in a matter of minutes. Yeah they aren't really pick me ups but they are great stories that really make me wanting for more. But at the same time, while they are far more unique and intriguing then a game like Banjo-Kazooie, sometimes a game that makes you feel good is better than the game that makes you think.

Now I also know that this blog isn't speaking to everyone. In fact, if I hadn't been looking through my collection while I felt kind of depressed I probably would have never thought about writing this. But the moral of this blog is that the games of this generation are far darker than they used to be. It seemed like every other game just a generation ago was cartoony, innocent and just something that could put a smile on your face. Im not saying that today's games don't give me joy but when I play a game like Darksiders 2 I have a smile on my face because it is fun, not because it is heartwarming. Im fine with change but I miss games like Banjo Kazooie....

Hope you enjoyed this blog (despite the depressing parts) and please give me your thoughts on games today and if you agree with me.