Posted July 16, 2013 by Sal Mancebo in Features

Cynicism And The Death Of Gaming


Ok, ok, ok! Calm down! Games ain’t going anywhere, I agree! But by death I mean the deconstruction of what makes games good, and I don’t mean just for the hardcore gamer. It’s time to stop being hardcore and casual gamers. We’re all in the same boat here.

There’s a difference between second guessing everything and completely wiping it away from the plate without even having a bit of a dabble. The idiosyncratic behavior of most gamers nowadays is to overly criticize a product and blow its negative or positive qualities extremely out of proportion and then complain about why games are being pushed into one direction or the other. This disconnect is what I like to call “The Blind Man Pointing Toward the Sun Who Is Actually Pointing At The Ground”… “syndrome… Syndrome.”

Anyway, my point is that it’s bad enough that we’re being way too overly critical of almost every game on the market, but then to point at the same market and say “This is your fault,” is absolutely bonkers. Before you leap at me with your enormous words of wisdom, I’d like for you to think for a minute: What is the job of a company or group of people who provide a product?

Ding, ding, ding! Whether you want to believe it or not, the ultimate goal is usually to make money. I mean, why not? They put hours upon hours into making this game, and although this is not always the case as per the free indie game market we have out there, if you’re a business, you want to be successful. This is how it capitalism works, though we all should be able to understand that for every rule there are always exceptions, regardless of who or what you’re talking about.

Lets take for example the recently released “DmC: Devil May Cry”. Yes, that game. The one most of you heard of years ago and probably automatically put a negative connotation to (remember: exception for every rule). I understand, such a swift change to the character with little-to-no forewarning, what were they thinking?! Well, it all comes down to how do they, as a company want to handle this? These are always tough decisions and at the end of the day you could just say “sequels make more money than new Intellectual Properties”, yeah that’s fine — but herein lies the problem:

DmC: Devil May Cry was legitimately a very good game.

Yeah sorry, I didn’t warn you about that one either. I played that game around 5 times through and honestly thought it was a great game. Now I know what you’re dying to ask:Had I played the original 4? Yes. Did I get very into them? Nope. Why? Well the short answer is that the game took for granted its main characters and put them into situations where you knew you couldn’t lose, the difficulty was standard and by the time Devil May Cry 4 rolled around I was so sick and tired of watching the same rehashed pizza-loving Dante that I was really already kind of accustomed to. Don’t get me wrong, that guy is legitimately a good Dante and those games will always be great. But skipping out on this game because it didn’t exactly meet your standard on the first try is folly.

So now why did I think DmC: Devil May Cry was good? Well it’s not perfect by any means. The combat wasn’t horrible, the attacks felt heavy and meaningful but if you messed up you definitely knew it — and fast. What it did, though, was make it easy to learn and friendly towards newbies like me who couldn’t get those really great combos in the previous game. That being said, I do think the game was also far too easy for veteran players. The higher difficulties could have used with some more polishing to say the least. But what I’d like to bring your attention to is the fact that there might not be another Devil May Cry game ever. I mean the possibility is still there, it’s always possible. But what are the chances Capcom is going to try again to restart this game? And if they do, what are you going to do as a fan?

I guess my point here is that games are damned before even coming into full light, and that’s not how we as gamers should be treating a game, unless really specifically shown that the game is bad (a la The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts). We can’t start hating on something because it’s different, it’s the exact cause of our tumble. If anyone reads this, I want you to pick a game, from PSN, XBLA, Steam, anything. 15 dollars if you can spare it, pick a genre you would never play and give it a try. I can promise you that if you keep an open mind you will at least begin to accept the genre. You may hate the game, but giving it no chance kills it so quickly. There have been some real gems lost to time because of our cynicism.

I think it’s time to stop acting like the industry owes us something and start being a real part of it.

Sal Mancebo