Christmas is upon us and soon we will all be enjoying gifts, hopefully including wonderful games, consoles and gaming merchandise.
It is a wonderful sign of the way that the games industry has evolved from a geeky thing for boys and err, adult boys to something open to all age ranges and genders. Whilst the kids play the latest adventure on their Xbox, Dad might be on his laptop enjoying a strategy game and Mum playing a puzzle game on her iPad. Such diversity and accessibility in games means that many people who would say “oh I don’t play games” actually play a lot, although the misunderstanding that playing games on your mobile somehow doesn’t mean that you play games still needs working on. Yes, Call of Duty is a game but so is Angry Birds! Just because there’s no blood and gore it doesn’t mean you’re not playing games.
However what most interests me and the main reason for blabbing on in this post is how the distribution of games has impacted on Christmas. It is increasingly common to get credit or points for your console or tablet in order to make in app purchases or buy games and download them. This doesn’t seem right to me. I do love online distribution and the ability to buy games quickly in sales. Heck, I would have never been able to sell a single one of my games if I had to distribute physical copies. However when it comes to gift giving I am not sure that I like it. It is one of the times of year where shops like Game and also online ones like Amazon make a difference.
Buying a physical copy of a game makes a much better gift. It is wrapped, requiring unwrapped and means that you are giving something more tangible as a present. Not only that but if your games console is elsewhere or requiring updates… Or it’s time to all sit round the TV for an awful film then you can read the box or the manual, building up your excitement to play this new game.
Perhaps the fact that we can buy games so quickly and cheaply nowadays, especially with the number of free games available (including in my site…), the personal value of a game has gone down. In my younger days when I lived in the countryside and had my allowance for lunch, savings and stuff I wanted (games) it meant I may have only gotten a handful of games a year but I really loved those games. I’d play them again and again. It seems today has a much more dispensable approach to owning games. Steam sales and humble bundles spring to mind as a major reason. I have about a hundred games I haven’t played. Crazy! I do kind of miss having a few games to cherish. Next year I expect to only buy one or two games and ensure I appreciate and enjoy them… Not just filling my actual shelf or online library.
Another thing that I think gets lost on Christmas is that first boot up. Plugging in your new PS4 and then waiting an hour for it to update. Then you excitedly put in your new game and wait for that to update. That, to me at least, loses some of the magic of the moment. “Back in my day” I could go from the buzz of unboxing straight to playing my new game. Let’s hope that any updates are only done if absolutely critical at this time if year. By that I mean game breaking bugs only.
Well I’ve rambled enough. One final thing is when giving and receiving presents, don’t forget the true meaning of this holiday… A pagan holiday. Be sure to sacrifice a goat, your youngest born or whatever the customary offering is, whilst dancing naked around a tree. Or just have some egg nog.