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Why Gaming Will Never be Taken Seriously

Remember old school gaming?  When all gaming was just hanging around with 1-3 buddies playing games like sonic and other various time wasters till you got bored.  Back then it was simpler (well for most of us).  Nobody was called a 'gamer' we just played.  Now though you've got two groupd, the hardcore and the casual.  The hardcore sits atop their mountain blaming the casual for the shovelware and gimmicks while the casual ignores the hardcore and just pushes the newest and most flashy hoop with a stick.

Now we can argue all day about why both are wrong, neither are wrong, and every other form of putting blame on people but that's not the point.  I'm not someone who can pass judgement on these sorts of things so I won't even try.  However I am pretty good at seeing things for what they are so lets go on that as far as my personal opinion goes (which by the way, feel free to question me and my opinion.  Questioning things is something far too few people do anymore.)

I'll start with the casual crowd.  These are the people that play games because they are something to do rather than being devout followers of games.  They are the ones that buy into gimmicks because they are new and different and the ones that Nintendo went after with the wii.  I don't think anyone can argue that they are the ones that have kept nintendo in the game at all despite the fact that most hardcore gamers look down on it.

But that's the thing, these people are now what gaming companies are trying to target because they are the ones with money.  They create these gimmicks like motion control and 3D to appeal to them more because they know that they will buy into it.  This is a problem because it makes gaming out to be a gimmick in general but it isn't as big of an issue as everyone claims.  It only becomes an issue if/when companies completely write off the non-casual gamers in favor of the casual ones (Nintendo anyone?).  This though causes a pretty big backlash from the hardcore crowd and as such no game intended for them ever sells well.

Now most of the hardcore crowd, you know the guys who when you think of them are the ones holed up in rooms and dorms everywhere slamming down red bulls and playing the most graphic and 'hardcore' games around, would have you believe it is all the casual gamer's fault that video games are not taken seriously by people, but let's take a look at it a bit closer.

When you think of games that this person would buy one comes to mind right away.  Modern Warfare 2.  Considering it is 'the' hardcore game now a days lets look at it.  The game has a two-star story that is only fitting for a bad hollywood action movie (In fact nevermind, it has a story stolen right from a bad hollywood movie) yet is considered one of the best games to come out this year.

You see in the whole games are art debate this is the kind of game that keeps games from jumping from distraction to experience.  All the casual gamer does when they see this is roll their eyes.  It does say a lot though when the best selling game of this year is a game that does nothing to benefit gaming in general.  In fact Activision is a major reason in why games are never going to be taken seriously, but I'll withold that for another blog.

Now granted 'hardcore' gamers are the ones that buy these games but oftentimes I think we're falsely labeling games/gamers and forgetting that things are not all black and white.  I think though most people that believe themselves to be 'hardcore' are really just the mid-levels between the hardcore and the casual. 

In fact I'd go so far as to say we need a redefinition of the word hardcore.  Hardcore should never be used to describe games like Call of Duty, Gears of War and other 'mountain dew shooters.'  In fact lets call them that. They are the Mountain Dew Gamers.  The ones that buy madden and call of duty every year because of the name on the box rather than looking for innovation and the like.  These gamers are the people that should least be called gamers because they speak as if they know without actually knowing anything.

I've had my share of arguments with them, hell I've even considered myself one of them at some point.  But the bottom line is that they are as big of an issue as the casual ones for no other reason than the fact that they are the ones that stifle innovation and support the cookie-cutter formula that most publishers use today. 

While gimmicks hurt the industry in their own way, these people hurt the industry in a far worse way, by not supporting innovation and instead going with the same old tired drab year after year after year. 

If the gaming industry is ever to be taken seriously as a true form of entertainment this process of pumping out the same games year after year after year needs to stop.  Games need to have story, plot, drama, and everything else that makes a movie good without becoming stagnant.  Arguably the stories for games are just as good as the ones for movies, but when games that are being called 'the best game ever' have stories that wouldn't get two stars from any movie reviewer it's impossible for others to take them seriously. 

That's why the true hardcore crowd needs to stand up and have a voice.  Buy into the games that emphasize story and gameplay over gimmicks and half-finished games.  Games like Heavy Rain and The Last Guardian for the PS3 need to be hits for game makers to realize that this is what the industry needs to become.  We need to do our part too.

And would someone please start buying the good wii games?  I mean just because it doesn't say Zelda or Mario doesn't mean it's a bad game.

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