Overwatch and a Rekindling of Childlike Wonder for Video Games

  Now lets be honest, no one really needs more blogs or praise in general saying what a great game Overwatch is. People who play Overwatch can and already have appreciated the sentiment, and everyone else hates the game simply because the people who do play it never shut up about it. And trust me I understand mindlessly hating something because its popular. I hated Undertale for the longest time for that very reason. So I can't blame you. lol

That being said, I do want to talk about the game from a personal standpoint however. Because I realized not all that long ago how special it actually is for me. For me, there was this long period of time between 2013 and early 2016 where I just didn't love Video Games anymore. I was as burnt out on them as I had ever been. It was an odd feeling, after 23 years Gaming meant way less to me, I couldn't seem to get into it like I used to. There were just so many disappointments in that time. Games like Fire Emblem Fates, Tales of Xillia/2, Dark Souls 2 and a near endless amount of mediocre Warrior games, all served to make games I considered obvious purchases and turn them stale. Even series I love made games like Yakuza 5, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Monster Hunter Generations, and even though I "liked" them they were still really disappointing.

And don't get me wrong, there were still games I liked, even loved throughout those years. Dragon's Dogma, Dead or Alive 5, Shantae and the Pirates Curse, Diablo 3, Hyrule Warriors, Fantasy Life. All games I had fun with. But for the number of games that I would actually put on a pedestal? Games I would count among my favorite games ever? Splatoon, Xenoblade X, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Wonderful 101 and maybe a few others. Combined its just not a great number. And the amount of disappointments, games that simply left me bitter or unsatisfied far outnumbered them. I got to the point where I started replaying older games simply because playing newer stuff wasn't anywhere near as appealing.

In Monster Hunter Generations for example, 80% of the monsters you could fight in the game AREN'T fun to fight. The series has created tons of fun monsters, they just chose to not include any of them in this game. Does anyone in the world like fighting Glavenus? Anyone?

I don't actually remember when I first noticed Overwatch, but it was before it released. I knew it existed, it was in testing, and then I was recommended the gameplay trailer for D. Va on Youtube. So I watched it and was intrigued enough that I looked up gameplay videos on literally all the characters. I wasn't exactly sold but it was fun to watch. Then I remember advertisements for the game and Widowmaker and Tracer shooting at each other during commercials. I learn of the Beta coming out and I work up the courage to download it. For me it was a pretty big step to do so, I was never particularly comfortable playing online games, and honestly if it wasn't for Splatoon I might not have made the jump at all. I played D Va and had tons of fun with the game. Enough fun so that I bought Overwatch day one and the rest is history.

The appeal of tossing your mehca and blowing up the enemy team was too appealing to not start out with.

There are two things that really make Overwatch a pleasure to keep pumping time into, even after this long. Its not the gameplay, no game, no matter how great the gameplay is has ever held my attention this long. What makes it a pleasure to keep playing is the vast lore/story and how it is ever expanding. It was around August when the Bastion Animated Short released. And it was pretty much when I realized that I was into Overwatch for the long haul. The short was beautiful and focused on a character with literally no backstory, no dialogue and no real reason to love them... Only I did. And nothing made me happier than to learn the origins of this previously "empty" character. The Animated Short turned the most annoying character to play against, the one with no character to speak of, and turned him into a lovable R2-D2 of sorts. But not only that, it expanded upon the Overwatch world in a wonderful way, as all new lore and story does. And its made me have a never ending desire to know more.

I still get misty eyed watching Bastion's short. Stuff is great and super well written.

But I did say there are two reasons. And the second one is equally amazing. Its the fandom that creates never ending comics, art, head-canons, discussions, etc. All with a deep love for the story/lore/gameplay as a whole. And having people to share that with is a huge boon. Now I am not talking the salty people online who blame you for loses, the crap talkers who are the poorest sports of all, nor the people on the official Blizzard forums who are literally never happy about anything Blizzard does, despite them having a better fan oriented work ethic than any other company I can think of. You gotta ignore these people, these people are always gonna be around. No, what I am talking about are the people who care about Blizzard's efforts. The ones who give constructive criticism. The ones who participate in antics with you mid-match. The ones who passionately pump out new fanart the moment Blizzard shows off something new. The ones who create humor and inside jokes(in many forms) that only Overwatch fans can understand. These people add a crazy amount of joy when it comes to playing Overwatch. And they deserve praise and mention as well.

Daddy 76 memes have been my vice of choice for the last 6 months

Now I would be remiss to say its JUST Overwatch that re-lit the candle of love I have for Video Games. Its what the title may imply, but that's not the intention. Video Games are a lot better in recent memory than they have been for a long time. Games like Uncharted 4 posses and undeniable air of quality to them. Kirby: Planet Robobot invokes so much old nostalgia that I could barely stand it. Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy 15 breathed life into series that have been decaying for the longest time. Tales of Berseria is apparently a good Tales of game, that hasn't happened in almost a decade. And now we have the juggernaut that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This isn't even speaking of the future which actively looks bright for not only Sony, but Nintendo as well. For me there is no contest, the spike in quality over the last 12 months has been significant. 2016 did have a lot of misses for me, but it recovered very well. And 2017 has already left me consistently hyped.

Are you not excited for this? Really? REALLY?

And I do understand, everything I have said here is subjective. I am certain not everyone was as displeased with the last 3 years of gaming as I was. More so I doubt everyone would agree that 2017 is already shaping up to be better than the last half decade. But all this is, is some insight on how I felt as a burnt out gamer for the last few years. I do think its possible I have myself to blame for this as well. I made too many gut purchases instead of actually putting in thought if I needed all the games I bought. Maybe my tastes have changed a bit, and I should try some introspective. Or maybe I was just acting like a bitter old man for years?

Either way, Overwatch changed a lot of things for me. It was a reminder of why Video Game are my favorite form of entertainment and fiction. I've gotten into the game like I use to get into Kirby/Final Fantasy when I was a kid. And thats really saying a lot. Playing Overwatch has become a daily ritual for me, at least 5 days a week I play it for an hour or two. And I play it even more if there is an event going on because I need all the pretty costumes. So I thank Blizzard for making something so amazingly high quality. And I thank Nintendo for at least pretending to try at the start of 2017. And I thank all the rest like Square Enix who have given me a steady stream of hope and appreciation for my hobby. It was something I really needed for awhile now. Its a good time to be a gamer.

The End

Felt the need to make a blog about Overwatch for awhile now. Just a short one. It is one of my favorite things after all. But I figured my unique perspective on the game was probably more interesting than if I just made a blog fanboying about it. I will say that anytime during this blog I started listing games as examples, I never listed them all. Just prime examples as I didn't want to go off too long on all the games that made me feel this way. So if you enjoyed my romantic rambling, want to chastise me for being an Overwatch floozy, or simply tell me all the games I forgot to mention from 2013-2017(good and bad), then feel free to in the comments below.

Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be.