Games You Don’t Want Are Still Games!

A friendly reminder.

A few days ago, I posed a question.

It was primarily due to the good press Pikmin 3 is getting, and how great it supposedly is (something I don’t know yet). There were plenty of people going, “Well, at least the Wii U has one good game. Still don’t want a machine with only one good game.” This led me to posit the following question;

“Will you buy  PS4 or XBox One on release? And why?”

This was an interesting thought and I got a few people suggesting they were basing their assumptions of what was possible based on one or two games. I am a bit too much of a coward to call them hypocrites to their face – I’ll readily admit I’m a coward – but it demonstrated for me a real issue, and it’s one of a gaming community wearing blinders. They can see dead ahead on their narrow spectrum of gaming taste that the whole periphery around them has been ignored, and is often dismissed with naught but a sneer and a “Lulz u suk 4 liking dat!”. We have, as gamers, become accustomed to sitting comfortably inside a genre definition that has become increasingly broad and has started to infringe and encompass other genres, to the point when something different does happen, we either immediately forget it exists or pretend it didn’t happen.

The Wii U may not have the most extensive of line-ups, but that said; it does have games. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Resident Evil Revelations, Game and Wario, Zombi-U, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Sonic and All Stars Racing, Mass Effect 3, Tekken Tag 2, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and more. In a few months, the genre scope of the Wii U has become extremely broad, and no. I don’t find Call of Duty an essential, nor Ninja Gaiden 3 or Mass Effect 3 as I already had played them. But that’s not the point; the point is that they exist, and they are games. Whatever you may think of the Wii U as a machine, to say that it has ‘no games’ is straight-up lies of the most heinous kind. It does have games, and you’d have to be the most blinkered of fanboy trolls to ever truly at heart defend the opinion that the machine doesn’t have games.

However, it is not unreasonable to say that the Wii U, as a console, “Doesn’t have much I want yet.”

It’s early days for the Wii U and with EA’s U-Turn on the machine a while back (predictably) writing off a new console based on its first few months is frankly silly. If the first few months of any machine demonstrates its long term trajectory, the PlayStation 3 would have failed within the first six months and we wouldn’t have had the joys of games which we are experiencing now such as The Last of Us. No doubt the next few months will see Nintendo stick it’s neck out and release more games of its own, and try and attract more games to its increasing indie line-up, or release previously unreleased games via its online store (such as Earthbound, which you can now play completely legally). But these are still games; they are being sold as games, and therefore they are games and they have a market.

Look, I understand that at times it can be scary to look outside the genres you feel comfortable in – I for example have always felt a complete stranger to strategy games, especially real-time ones (Stronghold the exception that proves the rule). But you know something? I bought Starcraft 2. I played it. I enjoyed it even. As much as the genre and its complexities swing past the side of my head at great speed, I will acknowledge them and always am up for giving anything (within reason) a go. Fear of the unknown can be easily cured by making the unknown, the known. Look into it, research, brush up on previous games and you can educate yourself very quickly and efficiently in what something is all about. At that point, you are not entering the strange; and even if you are, is that really a bad thing? Life without a few risks is extremely boring, no?

But I won’t look at Pikmin 3 and go, “Ooh, not my sort of game so it doesn’t count.” It may not be my sort of game, but it’s still a game.

Launch line-ups are very much like this; if I were to look at the launch titles of the XBox One and PlayStation 4, I could very easily say, “They have no games.” But it would be a silly argument and people would sit around and thrust a ton of games at me. Yet ask those same people to name Wii U games and they laugh and go, “But Kami, the Wii U has no games!” It’s a curious double standard. We all know that these consoles have games, but we only care when the machine being called into question is one we actually own. We only consider games that we’d actually buy too, and we only deem them games if, somehow, they meet our exacting standards. Which is fair enough; having things you feel attached to is perfectly alright.

The problem for me is when that borders the “Fanboy Limits”. When in discussing games you cannot accept anything outside your own limited experience and entertainment sphere as a game, and dismiss them readily and with prejudice. It’s this which bothers me; when people dismiss something or someone so candidly. I could say I don’t think playing Call of Duty professionally is anything to shout about but hey, what do I know? I’ve never got into the series and I know there would be plenty of people who will disagree with me wholeheartedly. What I think and feel I often know is an irrational compulsive conclusion drawn up on the spur of the moment, often based on limited knowledge and on personal prejudices. I try not to impulsively respond; mostly because I prefer the reasoned approach. If I don’t know enough to respond, I will say nothing until I do. It’s the right and proper way to discuss and debate anything.

And there are hundreds of games I will never play right now. Heck, I missed a fair few during the Steam Sale and I just let them go, and thought, “Maybe when they are on sale again.” It doesn’t make them lesser games; I just don’t feel comfortable enough to pay full price for Rome: Total War 2, or Company of Heroes 2. I don’t know if I will like them enough to justify an impulse purchase; I already play a string of games to review them, and as I buy them, I try to stay diverse. But some miss the net, and I accept that I may go back in future and get the ones I missed a little cheaper. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist; nor does it mean I hate them. I know nothing about Total War or Company of Heroes 2 to really make any assumption. I just accept that I will miss them on the first swing; if they come around again, then I’m more than willing to give them a bit of a go.

But I acknowledge them as games, even if I miss them or they pass me by. The truth is that many of us have become very narrow-minded in what we consider a “game”, when the definition is incredibly broad and covers a multitude of genres, platforms and styles. There is nothing wrong in not wanting a game – considering the expense of this hobby, there’s a certain logic in not buying everything you can get your grubby little paws on. Not wanting a game is fine. You don’t even need a reason to not want a game; you are at least acknowledging that the game exists.

To say a whole platform has no games is nothing but a facetious stance taken to deliberately offend, provoke and irritate others. It’s fine if the platform doesn’t have anything you want right now, especially one that hasn’t been on the market long enough to provide any meaningful conclusion. People who wait for their consoles for a year or two, I’ve said before, invariably are the ones who get the best deals; the units with kinks worked out, with a range of software already there to dabble in, often a newly designed frontage and more often than not, considerably cheaper to boot. I admire those who are pragmatic enough to wait and see; curious as to what will happen. I admire their resolve and – more embarrassingly – their wisdom and sense.

But this time next year, when the PlayStation 4 and XBox One people mock each other and talk about each other “not having games”, I wonder if they’ll ever spare a thought for the Wii U, and how they used the same argument for that? No doubt by then, the Wii U will have quite a few games to buy and no-one will remember the time when everyone said the machine “had no games”.

It did. But we’re not very good at just saying, “It hasn’t got anything I want yet.”

Everything else is just trolls trying to get a reaction.

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