Editor's note: Andrew takes a look at the desire gamers have to, if not play everything, play as many different (good) games as possible. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to start Resident Evil 5. -Demian
Good or bad, as gamers, a constant stream of new titles vie for our attention — whether due to lack of time, money, or interest in a particular game, most enthusiasts could not hope to consume all of these experiences. However, I believe this desire to try is fairly unique to our industry.
When you compare gaming enthusiasts with fans of other forms of entertainment, I think you'll see what I mean. It's entirely possible to watch every blockbuster movie in a year. In fact, you could probably watch every blockbuster and every critically acclaimed film for a given year and still have plenty of time on your hands for the more important things in life.
Pretty sure you saw this movie.
Music aficionados, however, are a different breed. Certainly, they're always looking to find the next band or artist, but I don't believe that they want to try to consume all great music. I would even argue that defining "great music" is harder — somehow even more subjective — than in other forms of entertainment.
Avid readers also tend to stick to particular genres, bestseller lists, or book clubs. Readers that venture beyond these methods of finding new books surely still do not have the time or desire to take in every great book in a year across multiple genres.
The Lost Symbol was the best-selling book of 2009. Did you read it?
But many gamers I know constantly complain about their backlogs or the nearly constant avalanche of new titles that they must play. I strongly believe that in the gaming industry, many enthusiasts care less about genre and more about if a game is the it game — we're constantly trying to be in the moment and play what everyone is talking about.
Should you feel left out if you didn't play this? Probably.
This has many ramifications. I'd guess that we complete fewer games nowadays than ten or 20 years ago. This supposition is interesting to me, because many of the people playing then are still playing now. Sure, some of this has to do with growing up and having less time due to other responsibilities. But certainly, this is also due in part to the fact that gamers now have many, many more games to play.
An interesting subgroup of gamers run contrary to this trend: achievement/trophy hunters. These players try to get everything out of game, at least as defined by a list of goals. However, these gamers often play titles that they wouldn't otherwise bother with in order to boost their scores with easy achievements/trophies.
It's scary how many people have played this one.
The overall result: I think the way that we play games has changed. We used to play fewer games for longer, but as the industry evolves and grows and more quality titles come out, hardcore gamers often feel like they're playing catch up. Is this just the new reality, or is there a problem with the way gaming enthusiasts try to take in their favorite entertainment?