Confessions On Modern Gaming As It Passes Me By

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his food writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast. Subscribe to Andrew's Heard Tell SubStack for free here:

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12 Responses

  1. Pinky says:

    It’s funny you said that; I recently saw the newest Mortal Kombat movie and kept thinking of it as “Christopher Nolan’s Mortal Kombat”. There was just something in the cinematography, particularly in the opening sequence.Report

  2. Fish says:

    I take issue only with one item: It’s well documented that Metallica broke up after 1988’s “…And Justice For All” and never released another album.

    I’ve never really considered myself a “gamer” despite having a shocking number of hours invested in the various XCOM titles dating back to 1994 when the game could be installed off of five floppies. I think that’s mostly because I’ve mostly shied away from online games and stuck mostly to games I can play by myself. I never really got into FPS’s, either. I’ve also based nearly all of my computer upgrades on whether or not my current machine could run the new game I wanted to play.

    I missed a huge chunk of console gaming history while I was overseas in the mid 90’s and I never really picked it back up. I did buy an XBOX but was never invested in it the way I was with my Atari 2600, NES, and Super NES.

    There is some overlap on the games I play and the games my two boys enjoy, enough that we can engage on this-or-that aspect of a particular game or the latest gaming controversy, and my oldest indulges me in regaling him with the latest exploits from my latest mission in XCOM2 (the Long War of the Chosen mod is absolutely worth the price of admission).

    My wife was a gamer when we got married but took a similar path to yours (the grownup path) and now plays only mobile games.Report

  3. Damon says:

    I’ve been gaming for decades. It started out playing Sid Meyer’s Pirates on my college roommate’s Apple PC. It progressed through Anarchy Online (MMORPG) to just last night preordering Jedi Survivor. On this journey I’ve found some AMAZING story lines, humor, and some unforgettable music.

    I mean really, how beautiful is this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NknjE2SBPxw&ab_channel=SavathorReport

  4. jason says:

    Last year, with Starfield far away and the next Elder Scrolls not due to come out before I retire, I was thinking that I was just about done with videogaming myself (and I’ve been boardgaming more than videogaming, anyhoo). Then I decided to git gud and play Elden Ring (I’m a total scrub, actually). And now Starfield is scheduled to release in September and the next Diablo coming out in June–videogaming sucked me back in.

    But I get it–there are times when I was a full-speed, buy-at-launch gamer, but that period has passed me by. Even my decision to buy Elden Rings was kind of random and casual, as the Soulsborne games weren’t really my thing.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    During the start of the pandemic, I bought a Switch and a PS4 (mainly to play the FFVII remake) after not having a gaming system or really gaming for over a decade. It was worth it especially at the end of 2020/early 2021 when my wife went to Singapore for two or three months and I could go nowhere. Last year, I finally purchased a PS5 via Amazon’s lottery. Here are some of my thoughts on gaming:

    1. To paraphrase George Thorogood, I game alone and prefer to game by myself.

    2. The games I really really like are JRPGs and there are lots of great ones being made with good stories and graphics.

    3. But advancements in technology and graphics mean that the old school turn based combat system is slow and boring. Unfortunately for me, this means a lot of JRPGs where combat often involves memorization of the kind of intricate button pattern and mashing that I hate with the heat of a thousand suns but many gamers love. There are some RPGs around that don’t do this like Octopath Traveler and the Trails of Cold Steel series.

    Like you, I would never fit into modern gaming culture and its lingo and s***postings and memes.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    I never got past Doom, and even Doom was because of work*. There was a career, a wife, two kids, a house (in an era and after growing up in a place where you only called professionals in when you knew the work was beyond your skills), existing outdoor activities… There just weren’t enough hours in the day for me to take on another significant time sink, which video games were clearly going to be. My son made up for me a few years later :^)

    * In the mid-1990s I was responsible for arranging a series of road show tech demos to show all sorts of people about why cable television networks were going to get very interesting: cable modems, high-def video, telephony. One of the demos I knew we had to run was multi-player gaming; in effect, a small LAN party done over technology that spanned miles, and was always on. I put together “Mike’s Doom-Station”, a round table tall enough players could stand at the computers, three flat-screen monitors, keyboards, and mice at 120° spacing, all the computers underneath. Real cable modems operating over our real cable network**. Our first demo was actually a recruiting mission. The company was going to split and our big boss wanted to attract talent to his side of it. There was a company conference for rising management stars and we set up there to do demos during the session breaks. One of the Doom machines was pretty much taken over by a female department head who was pretty good and could trash talk with the best of them. Any time she was playing, I would tell people — quietly, and from a bit of a distance — “Watch that department head. Listen to that department head. Cable modem service has plenty of bandwidth for audio interaction during the game when the developers get around to it.”

    ** A business writer once challenged me on how real the demos were. “You’re just running this on Ethernet, right?” I took him down to the end where I had a rack with five or six kilometers of unclad fiber on a big spool, the cable modem head end gear, and a couple of coax analog amplifiers. He wrote a nice column about us.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    Do you want to get back in, if only tentatively?

    I have some stuff that might get you back in… a little.Report

  8. Wagon says:

    I spent two hours last night trying to play Castlevania: symphony of the night (didn’t get it; got a half hour in and quit after I died bc I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do or where to go), and then plowing through the first 18 levels of portal.

    I have played games since the NES. I got a switch a few years ago, and my wife and kids bought me a Xbox series s for Christmas this past year. In the four months since Christmas, I finished one game – Far Cry 6 – and last night finally played something different as a palate cleanser before I jump into Elden ring, which I’m sure will take me several months to finish or get to a quitting point. By then starfield will be out, and I’ll probably do another quick palate cleanser before jumping into it.

    This is gaming in my mid forties – take the small bits of time when they’re there. Know I won’t play everything. I’m okay with that. I got the Xbox, rather than PS5, specifically bc I want starfield and elder scrolls 6 when it eventually comes out. I got the series s, rather than x, bc my wife got it for $200 on sale and given my low rate of finishing games, digital only is fine.

    I use the switch on the go, and it’s great if you’re an old school rpg fan. I want to play the final fantasy pixel remasters at some point. I’ve got octopath traveler 2 but haven’t started it yet. I put probably over 100 hours into the first one, finished all but the secret final boss, but over the course of 18 months.Report

  9. JS says:

    I think you missed the point fellow nostalgia head. First off, StarFox on the Snes really shined. I’m sure, Secret of Mana, is probably so deep.
    But that is not why I am trading in my beautiful sleek new Microsoft and Sony consoles. I am keeping the partial emulation PS3, why would I not? It’s HDMI, and the games are from an era firmly focused still on sweet, sweet, single player escape.
    Which, BTW, is huge still as my progeny plays Spiderman, et cetera. But a pay lobby it will be. And Spiderman is not my thing. These games are not adult like Manhunt. Perhaps you are just a giant Yoshi fan dude type brony? Solid also.

    My point is the PS4Pro cut out my sound during playbacks of NBA 2k. Stunned, me. It says Buffering during my X BOX ONE X replays, which are mandatory to store on the cloud. All ridic. But viciously wounding, the Forza snow mountain 19.99 paywall. I wanted to drive up that snow mountain. Yet for a cool 20, I would saunter over and ever so casually, grab Fifa 11, 12, WC 2010. I did do, as a forlorn Yank.
    Pinsharp graphics, not much natter on paywalls and lobbies. That’s PS3 and my 360 E for you. And Pro Evo 5 on the 2, of course. And boxing on PS1.

    It’s all star driven, not online balanced. Gripping stuff, I swear it. My progeny demands his own PS2, so he can get a good bloodbath in on Jaws Unleashed.

    Children of Morta won an award, yet it was 2 bucks in a bin, a sad shallow imitation of Diablo, Champions of North. Champions is 75 bucks without the manual. From about 2005. The Pro Evo 5 and 6 times. Wins they are. My progeny plays backwards compatible gore filled Left for Dead from 2009, afore the Mayan afterbirth.

    Where’s Haaland in a non goofy footballer?! Some mod I suppose.Report