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| The Trouble With Technology (1 comments )|
by: CanadaDave (303) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
My name is Dave.
At heart, I'm a gamer. I love games. I grew up with games (starting with a Colecovision console). I've spent what must have accumulated to a full year of conscious time playing games. My parents hated it, but eventually gave up. I had no girlfriend at the time. I WANTED one - but not QUITE badly enough to give up my video games.
Fast forward to the present.
Now, in the real world, I'm an IT guy. I'm a husband, a father, a volunteer, a handyman, and - eventually - a gamer. This last category, though, is becoming harder and harder to claim, as much as it kills me.
I no longer have the time to get good enough at games to compete. If I can play a game (say, Halo 2) for an hour per week, I'm really quite happy with that - until I venture online. An hour a week is roughly enough time to die in combat 45 times, while amassing about 8 kills of my own (if I happen to have primed a grenade and die a close-quarters death). I end up being reduced to what I loathe most - a camper - sitting motionless and hoping that someone wanders into my crosshairs so I can pull the trigger.
That, my friends, is not gaming.
I envy that group of gamers that my friends derisively refer to as "those 10 year old kids" who routinely embarass me on X-Box Live. They actually GET it - they're in that group that I used to belong to... that group of people who were genuinely able to spend enough time to get good at modern games.
Technology has moved a VERY long way from the era of Donkey Kong, Missile Command and Berzerk. It is truly amazing to wander into a store and see the new games on display; games have evolved to a point where graphics really look pretty close to reality.
What lags, however, is the intuitive interface between real life (remember that place, basement-dwellers?), and video games.
To illustrate... we've all seen atheletes in our time. We grew up with them - maybe one or two have accidentally stumbled upon this article. Those true atheletes could pick up ANY sport and be better than average at it within an hour or so. Video games lack this portability. They've become compartmentalized - so a FPS gamer can pick up FPS games pretty easily, and RTS gamers can pick up RTS games easily. Turn-based gamers (yep, we still exist) are a completely different breed - we suck at anything that doesn't have a button that says "okay - I'm ready, now you can play". But the illustration continues.
Video games need that last step of evolution. There needs to be a jump that really bridges the gap, so that people - people with real lives and an interest in preserving a work life and a home life - are able to enjoy themselves in a random game.
In other words - at a family gathering, your uncle can play a game with you without you having to agonize for an hour showing him how.
It works with playing cards (how hard are the rules of Poker, *really*?).. and whoever can figure out how to make it work in video games will be a venerated hero to those of us Real-Lifers who miss our game time.
Nintendo has made an important step with the Wii - I think we've all seen it - and that needs to continue. I've now had invitations from three separate friends to come over and try their Wiis (I've not had the time as yet), but you can see it.. the gleam in their eye is back. They can pick up a game and actually PLAY it with their sons and daughters and have genuine FUN doing it. More - it becomes a SOCIAL event. Mom watches (and even plays!). The kids take turns. Mini-tournaments are set up. Bets are made over who has to do the dishes.
This is what gaming is SUPPOSED to be, everyone. This is the true "convergence" that we have been hearing about for so long. Forget about playing movies on your game machine. Convergence includes that one all-important aspect that Nintendo has finally scratched the surface of - the importance of the SOCIAL element of games.
The trouble with technology today is that the social element is missing. I can see, though, that there is light on the horizon. Here's hoping that in another couple of years, we're all enjoying the same platforms, and - finally - benefiting from the technology that we have available to us.
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