Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Games Are Boring (FPS edition)

Games are garbage. This should be obvious, but I still have to spell it out.  Games are awful, dumbed down, simplified garbage, made specifically for children (Modern Warfare, Angry Birds) or autistic nerds (Minecraft, Terraria). But why? Games used to be fun. I specifically remember enjoying Quake 3 Arena and Tribes and UT2004. Even Team Fortress 2 was alright before it turned into the mess of hats and broken, unbalanced weapons.

finally my life is complete

Lots of recent games have attempted to hide their poor gameplay with story and other useless decorations. It shouldn't come as a surprise that games like Quake 3, Master of Orion II, and Civilization 4 had barely any story, and instead offered rich and interesting gameplay.  But there have been more changes than just that. In the FPS genre specifically, games have moved away from being fast-paced contests of skill and timing, to sluggish games that reward staying in one spot for as long as possible. This is a result of games being designed specifically for consoles.
*pushes up glasses and speaks in a really nasally voice* give us back our games guyssssss!!! come onnnnnnnnnnn

A keyboard and mouse inarguably allows for more accurate and precise movement than a console controller could ever hope to achieve. This is because moving a mouse involves the use of the entire hand, much like other precision tools, such as a pen or a scalpel. With a console controller, movement and aiming is soley reliant on the thumb. In addition, a mouse is limited only by the area of the surface you place it on. An analog stick can only go as far in one direction as the controller specification allows.

just buy one of these, and you'll become an elite gamer, much like myself.

just kidding, im really good plus ive got the razer headset. 

As a result, people weren't able to aim as quickly or as precisely with a controller. In response, FPS console developers realized that gameplay would have to slow down. The first thing that would need changing was the lightning fast movement speed of Quake and Half-Life. 

If your game design intentionally forces people to remove themselves from the game itself, then it is a bad game. No questions asked. Once you get that bloody screen (so real! just like a video game), you need to sit and wait. Once you were injured in Quake 3, you immediately began searching for medpacks and armor. The game actually gave you something to do. Apparently the Modern Warfare developers thought that sitting behind a wall was just more fun.

not shown: the irony of cliffy b making something like this

We also have iron-sights, one of the most played out and unnecessary gimmicks in gaming. So what purpose do iron-sights actually serve? They are supposed to be a trade-off between manueverability and steadier and more accurate aim. But in reality they force the player to slow down, avoid the action, and stay in one place.

Whether this makes the game more fun is a matter of opinion. I enjoy in FPS games because they offer a tense, drawn out, and close battle with an opponent. We move quickly and skillfully around the map, firing at one another and restricting each other's control over certain sections of the environment. If my opponent only hits me through sheer luck, I will win, because over the course of the game I will average more hits than them. Being hit doesn't mean I die instantly, so I have a chance to show my skill at evasion and aiming.

Games like Modern Warfare 3 lack any of these qualities. Engagements with the enemy are over within a couple of seconds: either you shot first, or the enemy doesn't know how to aim. Otherwise you die. The predominance of hitscan weapons and the slow movement make it impossible to avoid enemy fire through skillful manuevering. Regenerating health means no part of the map has an advantage over any other, since there are no pickups anywhere.

pro tip: buying this will make you better at modern warfare 2. 
if you want to be better at modern warfare 3, you'd better buy the controller associated with that game. 

I don't mind that ambushing someone gives you a distinct advantage, I just don't believe it should necessarily result in a kill. You should gain the advantage of a chunk of their health, but to kill them you should have to beat them in a 1 on 1 fight. Otherwise, what reason is there not to camp constantly? And would it be fun to play with a bunch of camping dickheads?


  1. More importantly than the primary issue of which is better or worse is the fact that one has entirely come to represent FPS gaming and the other is barely even present except in the occasional niche title like Serious Sam 3.

    Everyone who says that you should just ignore games you hate and play games you like is forgetting that the games we hate are creating trends and the games we like AREN'T BEING MADE.

    1. Old-school gamers: The Conservative of gaming.