We, The Spoiled Gamers

If you ask the right person,  2010 sucked for gamers. Ask someone else, and 2009 was dreadful. There are those who might even go so far as to claim that the past two decades have been awful, that things were better back in the 8-bit days, before endless sequels and first-person-shooters took over the market. And as I sit here, fresh off feeling disappointed that the 3DS has up to five hours of battery life with which to display amazing looking, three-dimensional interactive entertainment without the need for special glasses, I have to ask myself a question … why the hell do we always find something to bitch about?

I have to agree with the fantastic comedian Louis CK when he says that we live in an age of amazing technology, wasted on assholes. I saw a YouTube video of a new iPhone App that converts foreign words on signposts to their English counterparts, in real-time. You hold the camera up to, say, a Spanish signpost, and the image displayed on your screen instantly renders it in English — no scanning, no photography, just an immediate translation. The comments on that video, however, were full of people grumbling about it because some of the words weren’t 100% accurate. As a person who regularly reminds himself to be amazed by the genuinely amazing — lest I forget just how good I have it — this comment thread was depressing to say the least. Instant cynicism and disregard for something our parents would never have dreamed up at our age, simply because a few words are wrong. It’s like complaining about a speck of dust on the Sphinx. It’s the God damn Sphinx! Who’s looking at a blemish when you have a gigantic sand cat staring down at you?

Nowhere is this entitled, unimpressed, ungrateful attitude more apparent to me than in the gaming community. I return to the inspiration of this week’s topic, the Nintendo 3DS. I’ve had the privilege of seeing this little technological beauty in action and it blew me away. The 3D effect is lovely, and more than that, I’m just excited about some of the awesome games coming out for it. However, the moment I heard that the battery life would be low, I was disappointed and cynical. I complained that they’ve gone the PSP route and ruined the potential fun of the system. Never mind that what I held in my hand a few months ago was bordering on fucking magic. If it’s magic that I have to plug in after five hours, well then, I guess it’s shitty magic, which is apparently worse than no magic at all.

Just before the battery complaints, a lot of gamers moaned because the 3DS needs to be held steady when playing. Since the 3D technology is based upon the position of your eyes, the effect is negated if you move around a lot. This revelation (despite being totally obvious) was met with anger and dismay from gamers who now deemed 3D useless and who must have Parkinson’s disease if they can’t sit still when playing a videogame. Again, I stress, what the 3DS does is sorcery. Even if it’s just a gimmick, it’s not something we small-minded gamers could conceive as being possible back when all we had were GameBoys. But along comes one small stipulation, one negative aspect, and we’re furious. We’re like children who are angry that we get one cupcake instead of two, regardless of whether or not we did anything to deserve a cupcake in the first place. When you think about it, we really are brats about this stuff.

There are those who hate the state of the modern games industry, and these chaps too are part of the spoiled generation. I mean, really? Life was better back when music had to cut out to make way for sound effects? When challenge in games consisted of throwing endless waves of enemies at you because anything approaching workable AI didn’t exist and titles were too small for complex strategies? We live in an age of high-definition videogames, where technological innovation has allowed for sound effects and music to pipe in through all corners of our living rooms, and games are longer, bigger, more ambitious, and more complicated than ever before. If you plucked your younger self from the 1980′s and sat him in front of a PlayStation 3, he would literally go insane. His tiny brain would not accept the reality of the situation, it’d overload, and he’d shit himself. No joke — in less than three seconds, feces would slalom through his intestines and explode out of his body with such force that his pants would tear and the entire world behind him would turn a rusty brown.

But you’re right, it was much better back then. Back when our small child brains thought that Bart vs. The Space Mutants was a good game.

Gamers complain about everything. Communities like N4G seemingly thrive off negativity and hatred, griping about everything from graphics to sales figures to reviews. If you own a PlayStation 3, why are you on the Internet, making yourself furious because somebody said Prototype was better than inFAMOUS? Don’t you realize what’s sitting underneath your TV? You have a videogame console that you can watch pornography on. A videogame console … that plays pornography. Porn that you can download with such a high definition that you can pick out each individual pube and spot pimples in the labia folds. WHY ARE YOU SO UNHAPPY!? YOU ARE A KING! YOU ARE GOD!

I recently sat and read a bunch of posts where people were criticizing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The game isn’t even out yet, but because Bethesda hasn’t made a big deal out of mod support, and because the story’s initial premise wasn’t instantly Lord of the Rings, people are readying themselves for a bad game. Bethesda just confirmed to Game Informer that if you drop a sword in the game, an NPC child might pick it up and try to give it back to you. A child might return your own sword to you! That is amazing! Be humble, be meek, and be grateful! You are seeing things that the founders of your country, that great emperors who led powerful nations, that Jesus Christ himself have never seen. These men would not even have been arrogant enough to assume that mankind could be capable of such things. Alexander the Great never lost a battle in his glorious ten years of unwavering military command, and yet he couldn’t envision a world where drawings of children pick up swords and give them to overweight men who sit in their thrones of fine cloth and motorized reclining mechanisms.

We complain about games before they are released, then complain about negative reviews after they’re released. Sonic’s legs are too long, Dante’s hair’s too black, SSX: Deadly Descents doesn’t have enough orange in it and we can’t have dedicated servers in Modern Warfare 2. No matter how justified, righteous or silly our complaints, they are all one thing — the product of a rampant entitlement complex. Yes, it was bullshit that dedicated servers weren’t in Modern Warfare 2, but the very concept of dedicated servers even existing could be described by people of faith as miraculous. Yes, Microsoft’s Kinect is mostly disappointing and has only shown itself to be useful for on-rails shovelware, but we’re dancing in front of our televisions and making things happen on them! Why are we always so cynical, so angry, and so utterly terrible?

It sounds like I’m advocating unwavering, unconditional happiness with all that we’re served. This is not the case. I’m an absurdist, a man who believes in recognizing the ridiculousness of a situation but persisting anyway for the reward that persistence itself can bring. We have no right to complain, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. By all means, be angry, be furious, be spoiled and be rotten. Look back on the “good old days” of gaming as if modern technology is not truly astounding. Complain about the 3DS’ battery life in spite of the fact that you will be able to carry Ocarina of Time in the palm of your hand. Display outright contempt for a game with a huge immersive world and dynamic NPCs because you think the story might not be the greatest thing ever penned by mortal men.

I am not suggesting we stop doing that. We love complaining because we’re brought up to be pricks these days. Were it not for our consistently outrageous, unrealistic demands, game developers and manufacturers of technology wouldn’t need to make the unbelievable leaps and bounds they have made. But every now and then, I want you to stop shaking your fist, dry your eyes, and just look at what you have. The telephone that you can play Sonic the Hedgehog on. The PSP that lets you bring home console visuals with you onto a bus. The latest videogame with dynamic lighting, surround sound, and a quest that takes eighty hours to complete.

Just do that every now and then and take some time out to realize how stupid you sound when you complain and how spoiled you really are. You owe it to the millions of people who were born before they could know what an iPod was, to just recognize your good fortune, laugh at your idiotic whining, and be a little bit pleased with your fantastic life.

As soon as you’ve done that, you’re free to go back to calling the 3DS a piece of crap.

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46 Comments on We, The Spoiled Gamers

Sam Morris

On January 12, 2011 at 7:58 am

While I agree there is a lot of unnecessary winging on the internet, this constant self-criticism we as a race constantly engage in is the reason we have such great technologies today. If we were simply happy with what we had we would all still have rocks tied to bits of wood.

Not that I’m saying video games are as important today as tools were back then but the example still stands. We criticise only to get better.

The problem is that the internet has freed people to criticise anything. Which means people hark on the smallest detail for no reason because there are less consequences to online debate than real debate.

Ross Adams

On January 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

Excellent article Jim, I was pretty baffled myself when I saw people complaining about the 3DS’ battery life. As someone who frequents NeoGAF I’m all too familiar with how much gamers will whine about the most idiotic of things.

Personally I tend to look as things with as much wonder as I can. I put in a game like Just Cause 2, where the game part if kind of lacking, and am still amazed at just how stunning it looks. I hope I never lose that ability to be awed by my favourite pasttime.


On January 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

Great article. Really made me stop and think. Thank you Jim.

Brandon J. Clark

On January 12, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’d say that this article is spot on. We are a whiny-ass bunch of people, us gamers.

Calvin Kruder

On January 12, 2011 at 9:09 am

Well written and well put. Videogames are just one of the many things we take for granted, let alone living in a country where it is possible to waste time playing them. Well said Jim.

Martin McManus

On January 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Jim, this is a great article, with a great point. The entitlement complex you described has become such a huge problem in our lives. Most people never take a second to realize how amazing our technological progression has been, or how good we all have it. If you stop to think about it, it’s really humbling.

And Sam, first commenter, you’ve got a good point as well, but I think it needs a little more qualification. I don’t think Jim is suggesting that we just be content with what comes out and cram all of our whining. In the end of the article he goes into this a little bit.

Yes, the internet has freed us up to criticize anything and everything, and that’s pretty great. Two cents from millions of people will buy you a lot of eggs in China (or any East-Asian country). But it’s the tone of these gripes that is the most disturbing. Instead of polite, constructive, or otherwise helpful critiques, people seem to be in a race to be the fist to find the most minor of issues and blast the creators/developers with rude, inflammatory, and (usually) inarticulate comments. This seems counter productive.

Peer and self-criticism has always spurred on the development of, well, most everything. But do we need to be s about it?


On January 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

This article starts off alright but the last three paragraphs just says “yeah never mind.”

Yeah we live in a cool era but this is also an era that demands excellence. Or at the very least only improving on the old. I imagine people were upset about the 3DS battery life because its significantly shorter than the DS Lite’s battery life. So its a step back in some regards, especially for people who believe the 3D “gimmick” is what caused the battery life to decline. I’m not interested in handhelds so the upset passed by me unnoticed.

Anyway, good effort but this is pretty pointless. I/m guessing it got posted on GameFront because Dtoid is having the “2010 sucked:” monthly musing and you can’t publicly call your co-editors ungrateful s.

Brett Harvey

On January 12, 2011 at 9:48 am

Martin’s hit the nail on the head, and I couldn’t agree with him and Jim more. Criticism of poorly developed ideas is certainly an essential and necessary element of technological design today, especially in a world where iterative design theory is the norm in order to continually improve a user’s experience.

But that criticism needs to be made with the intent of improving an idea down the road. This can be difficult to do when gamers are often promised one thing (promises often made earlier in the dev. process), which gets spun through the internet hype machine. By the time the game or product comes out, developers are forced to cut certain features to meet deadlines, or realize that some things are feasibly possible at that point. This creates a certain amount of initial dissapointment in gamers, and unfortunately, the majority of them are quicker to be cynical and irritated rather than inquisitive as to what happened (myself included sometimes). I’m thinking specifically of games like Fable and Spore; ambitious ideas that had to be trimmed odwn due to technogocial restraints and deadlines. They were still great games, but most gamers had already imagined something much bigger, and had plenty of time to let that imagination gestate prior to release.

Articles like this help remind us that we need to manage our expectations. We can always imagine something better, but that’s also what drives us to continue to innovate.

Jim Sterling

On January 12, 2011 at 9:48 am


I thought the point was pretty clear, actually — feel free to complain, but make sure you keep your complaints in perspective and realize that things aren’t as bad as you think they are, no matter how legitimate your grievance. I thought it was a nice message, and not a “never mind” situation.

This article also has nothing to do with Destructoid. I simply don’t do editorial work for Dtoid anymore so this wouldn’t have been posted there in any situation. Less assumption plz.

Brett Harvey

On January 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

Or rather, think about it this way: someone you really like is giving you oral sex for the first time. They may not know your particular likes or dislikes, so their technique could be improved. Are you going give them encouraging suggestions or complain about how bad it is and then you stop receiving oral sex?

I thought so.

Trevor Howard

On January 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

Kudos! Great job, Mr. Sterling!

Adam B.

On January 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

The thing is, not everyone is amazed by these things as you are. I see “less battery life for 3d? that’s a poor decision.” because 3D doesn’t impress me, whereas you might see “Gotta charge a little more often for ing THREE DEE?!!? YEESS” because, as you said, SORCERY. It’s all perspective.

but yeah, entertainment technology that isn’t entertaining is certainly a disappointment, and I don’t blame anyone for not being happy with it (though that doesn’t mean they should whine like spoiled s, because whining is acceptable in approx 0.00% of situations).

Good article!


On January 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

I hate to come off as one of those YouTube comments with a bunch of negativity, but I gotta say it- who cares. I think the fact that you even give the complainers as much attention as you do does nothing but validate them. I mean, these folks are only a fraction of a percent of people who actually play video games, they don’t represent anyone important. They’re not anyone that anyone with any sense would listen to. But here you are, complaining about their complaining, preaching to the choir of folks who’ll believe they are above it all, enlightened by the knowledge you have just bestowed upon them.

that . People don’t like stuff you don’t like? Why care? Nerds on NeoGaf complain about ty 3DS battery life? Perhaps they’re too insecure to admit they can’t afford or just refuse to pay the three hundred bucks or whatever Nintendo will be asking. But you find their argument to be ignorant? Quit wasting your time reading it, they’re gonna buy it anyway, sooner or later. Nerds on message boards are complaining about the lack of modding for Elder Scrolls V? Why are you giving attention to complaints about a game that isn’t due for another year in the first place? Those nerds will be the first in line to pre-order the hundred and twenty dollar collector’s edition.

Personally, I don’t feel the need to celebrate the mass amount of consumerism we’re engulfed with daily. Yeah, I guess video games are way cooler now than they were in the past, but that’s to be expected. That’s how billion dollar companies make their money, by attempting to impress the same consumers they’ve been impressing for the last twenty years, the same kinds that have been raised to the count the pixels on their screen and then whine that Halo 3 isn’t displayed at true 720p. Don’t feel bad for Iwata, he’s not losing any sleep over a tiny corner of the internet’s displeasure. Feel bad for the spoiled gamers, they’re the ones feening, craving for another hit of colors and explosions. Even crack-heads break into cold-sweats at night, needing bigger hits. They’re not going anywhere, they’ll still be stopping by the corner the next day.


On January 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I don’t give a what you say… Bart vs. the Space Mutants is ing awesome!

Oh, and great article btw. Completely agree :)


On January 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Jim, this is an arses article designed to add to weight to your own opinion that you are the world’s greatest videogame journalist.

If I have to pay for a portable console that only runs for 5 hours without needing a charge, then I disagree with the fact that it is portable and will probably not bother to buy it.

OMG OCARINA OF TIME IN THE PALM OF MY HAND! Or, given that I have to sit on my sofa to PLAY Ocarina of Time on the 3DS as it needs to be constantly plugged into a wall socket, I could just fire it up on a full-size console, couldn’t I? OMG OMG OMG!

Bow, . (Aim higher.)

Sam Morris

On January 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

That’s a good point Martin. I definitely agree that the tone of the complaints are wrong but I don’t think this is a unique issue to gaming. It’s only because of the technological nature of the gaming industry that we seem to get the brunt of it.

Steven Banks

On January 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

This year in particular has brought out a lot of negativity. Negativity about games, consoles, accessories, you name it… people kvetched!
It got so bad that I eventually stopped patronizing one of my favorite LinkedIn groups. http://msftman.blogspot.com/2010/11/why-i-said-goodbye-to-linkedin-xbox.html


On January 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

The reduced battery life isn’t for the 3D, it’s because the thing has, by a conservative estimate, 8 times the CPU power of the original DS, and more GPU power than the Wii. (Seriously – the Wii has no shaders. The 3DS does).

Even if you never enable the 3D effect, this thing is still sorcery compared to the DS and DSi. Hell, after suffering through Mario 64 DS with touch controls the analog stick alone is a revelation.


On January 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Jim, great article, as usual, but this page took THREE ING SECONDS TO LOAD! THAT’S TWO MORE THAN I WANT!

Zan Toplisek

On January 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I agree and disagree. You are very right in saying criticizing a just-announced game is beyond (BEYOND!) absurd and that developers can’t cater to everyone’s demands. But I don’t think I should be grateful to be able to play console games on a handheld. I mean, I probably would feel very satisfied and would applaud Sony/Nintendo for doing something so awesome, but, at the end of the day, I paid my hard-earned money for that piece of hardware and am entitled to if something isn’t right in hope of the company fixing it in the near future (and I DO understand sacrifices must be made on the company’s part to make it “work” like with the 3DS’s battery life).

Also, like the other guys said, feedback helps a lot. The amount of feedback the games industry gets for free and without any effort is astounding. But then again, ing and giving feedback is not the same, so when I say feedback, I mean in an assertive way.


On January 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

All of you screaming about “Why give these nerds power by giving them attention, you’re worse than they are by complaining about their complaining!”–you’re missing the point. Yes, criticism takes innovation to new heights, but we’re also facing the problem of an industry that’s income mostly comes from non hardcore gamers, yet is dictated by the self involved howls of prepubescent Internet jockeys. Yell all you want about how complainers should be ignored (like you, perhaps?) but developers and publishers have not yet learned that, and I for one think they spend way too much time trying to overcompensate for the nitpicking they anticipate, perhaps taking valuable time away from making a great game.

If you honestly think that Jim should “ignore the complainers” then practice what you preach, ffs. Me, I’m going to value the opinion of someone who I know has a scope of gaming perspective covering many genres and IPs, versus that of a bunch of forum apes and nasty commenters who for all I know could only have a collection of dusty COD games on their shelves.


On January 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Awesome article, and spot on too. Nice Work.


On January 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm

/e “hangs head in shame at the realization of what he has become.”

Great article. A much needed slap in the face for many of us.

Douchey Mcgee

On January 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm

O a miraculous pile of meat that somehow knows how to THINK is suggesting that nobody should ever completely forget how the 3DS is a miracle.

Hey listen they had human bodies in Alexander the Great’s time too, and those things, unbuildable by Sony EVEN NOW, were so cheap back then that dudes THREW THEM AWAY because some dude told them to.

Y’all need some perspective.

Also, “The latest videogame with dynamic lighting, surround sound, and a quest that takes eighty hours to complete” sounds like a pretty poor game. If terms relating to superficialities like lighting and sound and predetermined play duration are the first you, a gaming journalist I guess you think you are? come up with when you want to describe an impressive-sounding example of a medium that’s primarily characterized by INTERACTIVITY, then I think y’all need to hone your craft some, as well.

Jim Sterling

On January 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Well, Douchey got his name right, at least.


On January 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm



On January 13, 2011 at 5:16 am

“Jim, this is an arses article designed to add to weight to your own opinion that you are the world’s greatest videogame journalist.” –That’s the most accurate comment in this bunch. This coming from the guy who runs the Jimquisition, where he always has something to complain about. I don’t get the attitude and ego he has to put in to every little thing he writes. It’s too bad too – he’s a really good writer when he doesn’t transfer his ego to his keyboard.

Jim Sterling

On January 13, 2011 at 5:19 am

Strawman comment is a man made of straw.


On January 13, 2011 at 5:49 am

Thanks for providing one of the best gaming related reads i’ve had in a long time. While you cannot please everyone (ass seen in the comments section) overall i must concur! If i could (and still can) put up with the short battery-life of the Atari Lynx, and still enjoy it in shorter bursts on the go or with the power supply attached, then i’m pretty sure i’m going to enjoy the 3DS just as much if not more (i’m guessing way more)! Great read mate! 2 Thumbs Up!!


On January 13, 2011 at 6:03 am

Decent article, although I kind of see it as a summed up version of your Jimquisitions (which are damn good). I don’t mind the criticisms aimed at the battery life for the 3DS. It’ll just push Nintendo to make the next iteration of the 3DS (and believe me there will be many of those) to have a better battery life.


On January 13, 2011 at 8:05 am

I think you’re underestimating how many of these people whining are really just vocal anti-Nintendo elitists trying to justify their butthurt status by trying to convince themselves that it’s a gimmick.


On January 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

Ignoring the fact that most of your article is a giant straw man argument, since there’s probably quite literally NOBODY that’s ever said that “games were better back in the days of 8 bit ,” let me take one of your statements:

“and games are longer, bigger, more ambitious, and more complicated than ever before. ”

Seriously? You’re gonna make that argument? That games are LONGER nowadays than they were before? How long did Black Ops’ single player campaign last? Five hours? How long did Too Human last? Four? How long does the average game last nowadays? Six?

Deus Ex lasted 28 hours on its first playthrough. Half Life lasted a good twenty. DOOM lasted a good 15 to 20.

And MORE complicated? You’re making that argument when every Elder Scrolls game becomes less involved than its predecessor, and when Bioware threw out every gameplay system beyond shooting from ME1 to ME2, and is dumbing down Dragon Age 2 to such an extent that it barely even looks like the same game anymore?

Yes, people about . If something has 5 hours of battery life, they want 6. If something is free, they that it’s not supported properly. That’s just the sad reality of giving people a forum (ie, the internet) to in.

Saying that games are getting progressively better AND longer AND more complicated is beyond insanity. The only thing that gets better is graphics. Everything else is on a slow slide down towards the lowest and simplest common denominator.

Rose Colored

On January 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

“Deus Ex lasted 28 hours on its first playthrough. Half Life lasted a good twenty. DOOM lasted a good 15 to 20.”

lol you must have been TERRIBLE to take so long on those games. Rose colored glasses indeed.


On January 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

You people are idiots, continue to enjoy eating all the modern day developers continue to into our lives and getting defensive as hell when someone calls you out for eating .

change name please

On January 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm

We, the Spoiled Voters. Be thankful you even have a president and aren’t a Russian serf like people long before our time. Why, recently I read a thread where people were posting all sorts of criticisms about a politician who _hadn’t even been elected to office yet_. Can you believe this snotty, whiny attitude?


On January 14, 2011 at 2:40 am



On January 14, 2011 at 2:58 am

Here are some really pertinent quotes from an interview with Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith (the interview is linked below). Smith was the lead designer for Deus Ex at Ion Storm and Colantonio worked on Arx Fatalis (they both now work at Arkane studios).

It’s the best commentary I’ve ever read on gaming period. Definitely two brilliant minds.

“..around 2000, we both hoped that game worlds would keep getting more detailed and interesting…filled with gameplay-relevant useable objects that make sense in the environment, Ultima-style NPC schedules or Sim-like needs/behaviors, and non-plot-relevant gameplay and exploration. We assumed that we’d see a greater emphasis on meaningful consequences to narrative decisions, more opportunities for player-driven goal setting, and game systems that allowed for improvised solutions to problems. Looking at Far Cry 2, Bioshock, the Rockstar games, and cool anomalies like Eve Online, some of that has happened, for sure, but it’s the exception not the rule. Mostly, it seems like games have specialized, which makes sense from a production standpoint. Games like Mass Effect have gotten creative with plot branches and overt NPC factionalization, but have traded off simulation, plus non-combat AI behaviors, environmental physics and non-linearity. Those games are all amazing in some way, but they don’t feel like the gestalt experiences that the two of us, as passionate players who are always chasing a particular experience, were hoping for.

The simulation values seem to have taken the back seat for now, with the exception of physics; many game elements are now static instead of functioning as a dynamic system with very analogue player input.

We’d love to play more first-person games that try to simulate elements of the game in ways that create a primal response to players’ actions, with more persistent consequences for decisions, that spill over into other parts of the experience. Ideally, game characters should have a coherent place in the world, and impact…they should change things, react, and behave in interesting ways beyond combat tactics. We want to make games that constantly remind you that you have an effect on the world…personalized outcomes so that your experience is different from someone else’s. We want to give the player non-linear paths, both spatially, stylistically and morally. Hopefully, it’s not surprising to hear us say that their games should always shoot for depth-through-game-systems; allowing the player to improvise and experiment, creating moments where strange, unplanned things happen because of the simulation, when various rules and entities interact.”

It’s really a great article; you should read the entire thing.


Now, if you’ll permit me, I will share some of my own thoughts.

I believe gaming is really a dynamic technology that allows us to explore our intelligence through interactivity via emergent systems.

There are essentially two types of games: Arcade-like games which are very static and involve a simple process of squashing things and collecting rewards. And then you have the truly dynamic systems that involve emergent gameplay.

I believe true, emergent experiences are superior to any other gaming experience, and they constitute the apex of gaming as a technology and an art.

I was hoping gaming would evolve into even more dynamic systems allowing greater emergence, especially given the advances in computer processing and memory.

However, this is not the case.

Personally I’m done with arcade-like games for good. I want more of the personal, unique, emergent experiences I had in games from the past. That ‘true’ sense of accomplishment because you figured something out all on your own, or caused something unique to emerge in the system.
That is the kind of experience that can’t be had in other entertainment media.
That is what makes gaming superior to other entertainment media.
That defines and challenges me as an intelligent human.


On January 14, 2011 at 6:50 am

This article is too long you s.


On January 14, 2011 at 7:35 am

Spoiled indeed. Just last week I purchased a game, it was a ‘Triple A’ title, released earlier this year; the game regularly crashes. Not genteel crashes to the desktop either, but rather full lockups and BSOD’s. My how things have changed and we should all be grateful for the progress! We should all be thankful we’re not still using DOS and 8-bit graphics, where machines had to have reset buttons to mend ill-mannered software, my how things have changed. Spoiled indeed.


On January 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Amazing editorial. This doesn’t just apply to gamers, it applies to everyone in the world. We should start vaccinating babies to thwart these entitlement complexes.


On January 20, 2011 at 1:37 am

meh, If i paid for it ill complain if im not satisfied =P


On January 20, 2011 at 7:14 am

Thank you writing this article. Seriously. This is the article I’ve been looking for for months. Something that does what I’m unable to do; Take my thoughts and express them in words. I’ve been thinking the same thing for months now. Everyone is just a little too negative towards everything for no real reason. Yes, having criticism is fine and encouraged, but when every single thing is picked apart for anything that could possibly be construed as a negative it just gets old and brings all of us down.

Honestly, we’d all be a lot better if every once in a while we’re able to look at the positive instead of explaining why everything is so terrible.


On January 27, 2011 at 1:44 am

Totally agree with Jim here. Occasionally though, Jim Sterling contributes to what he writes about here ;)

Philip Athans

On February 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

I LOVE THIS POST! You are absolutely right about everything you said. the more I stop and think, “Hey, I live in a science fiction world,” the happier I am.


On April 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

After reading a few criticisms of this article, I’m wondering if anyone can tell me: do north americans have the word ‘irony’ in their dictionaries?



On August 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

for once, i totally aggree with something on internet (exept the beyond good and evil soundtrack) ; people just don’t know what good for them… as for me, i’m still playing on my ps2 . why ? there is WAY too many game i didn’t played in my life…. and my GBA is still on my desktop or in my bag when i’m bored :3 if people are not happy , if people are always shouting about something, why don’t they doom ? why don’t they play serious sam ? why don’t they try multiplayer or co-op on these game? and above all, why don’t they just try to see all the work ever done on video game since 1980 ?
video games are like people . they are not perfect; but they are getting better ^_^