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The Gaming Iconoclast: Fighting Ennui

Rafe Brox

A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation. -- Friedrich Neitzsche

The first person who considers TGI to be poetry is a perfidious and nefarious cad, who is not to be trusted, and any pretentious wanker to use the phrase "blank verse" when speaking of it will be met on the field of battle to enjoy a Norton Anthology upside the head. However, thinking TGI to be great is vigorously encouraged.

We're not here to be subtle, folks.

However dour, bitter, and generally misanthropic Ol' Freddie happened to be, he was onto something -- boredom kills. It is the death knell for any character, no matter how well-geared; any game, no matter how innovative; any hobby, no matter how engrossing it may once have been.

After the initial novelty wears off, what do you have left? Well, phat loot, new friends, memories of good times, some screenshots.... but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Maybe you take some time off, only to be lured back by the promise of free stuff. Perhaps you take up with another title in a similar genre, or move to a different milieu altogether. Try your hand at a different class, or faction?

Or, be still my clattering keyboard, go outside or play a console game?

Cameron has approached this issue from the other side, asking what developers can do to keep us, as players, interested, engaged, and paying. Certainly, the onus is on developers to provide interesting, engaging, progressive (or at least monotonous and tedious) stuff to do. Newer, shinier, bigger, tougher, MOAR-er. One has to wonder, though -- is there a point at which merely moving our collective cheese is no longer adequate or sufficient? Do we, perhaps, need new kinds of cheese, and not merely a fancier maze through which to pursue it?

For the player's perspective on the equation, Krystalle has broached the subject of burnout as well, in the aptly-named Daily Grind (and, my goodness, look at that one sexy, snarky bastard in the comments!). There are as many answers as there are gamers, of course -- some become altaholics, some go on sabbatical, some drive their cohorts insane by playing like over-caffeinated cretins.... okay, maybe that last one is just me.

You, there. The one who looks forlornly at the icon on your desktop, wondering if you really want to click it today? It is said that Alexander the Great himself wept because there were no more worlds left for him to conquer.

Have you conquered all of yours? I haven't. If you'll excuse me, there is a notorious football hooligan who needs some knuckle therapy.

No, that is not his hair. Rafe Brox spends an inordinate amount of time annoying people who think they know more than he does. When not causing friends and enemies alike to /facepalm electronically, he can be found extolling the virtues of the weird peripherals in his life, from kettlebells to the Trackman Marble. If you, too, would like to tell Rafe exactly how wrong he is doing it, the target coordinates are rafe.brox AT weblogsinc DOT com.

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