I’ve usually got a game on the boil – Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, Quake and, more recently, Galaxy Wars, Mass Effect, Skyrim… But, for the first time in 20 years, I’m not playing anything. I’m going through entire nights without playing a thing, and it’s slowly driving me insane. There is literally nothing out there that interests me.
Sequels? Spin-offs? No thanks. Remasters? They’re the latest thing now… and I’ll pass on them, too: I can’t think of a more preposterous waste of time and money than playing through the same game with a new paint job.
I blame my predicament on Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, which won 82 E3 awards and nominations and two Game Critic Awards for graphics and innovation. In the following year, it won a further 90 awards and nominations at E3 and the Game Critics Award for Best Action/Adventure Game.
You’d think Watch Dogs is some kind of GOAT based on those accolades, but here’s the catch: they were all earned in the two years before its release.
That’s right – BEFORE.
Watch Dogs represents nearly everything I dislike about the videogames industry right now: hyperbolic, transparently KPI-driven, sensationalist; as empty an experience as whatever Kim Kardashian offers in the way of talent, which is to say nothing.
The game itself? It’s Grand Theft Auto with hacking (well, actually, it’s Driver with hacking, but nobody really wants to remember Driver). I lost interest within two hours. That’s why I’m not playing anything at the moment.
Like most other things in the games industry, Watch Dogs promised the world and delivered a pizza.
In a few days, Activision will be releasing Destiny, an online first-person shooter that I’m probably going to try just because it’s a new IP. That said, I’m already apprehensive of the way members of the games press have been blowing their collective loads over the beautiful sunsets and whatnot…
As a photographer, I can tell you that those beautiful sunsets are actually quite fleeting in real life, and that the broader experience is considerably less spectacular.
But whatevs. The games media have been declaring that games look “photo-realistic” since 1994 when, just quietly, I think everyone else on the planet knew better.
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I can actually see myself giving up games entirely within a year from now because it’s just not worth my time anymore.
I guess that’s what happens when an industry thinks its customers will stomach any old shit.