If Only

Adam LaMosca | 8 Jan 2008 21:00
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I know this because I suffer from the same affliction that causes hordes of gamers to rear up, claws and teeth flashing, to tear apart any game that supposedly exhibits signs of weakness. While I prefer to engage in such behavior via wordy dissertations that I loftily describe as "critique," mine are the same base instincts that motivate the internet's vicious fan packs. Gamers are a ruthlessly opinionated bunch, dearly in love with their hobby but forever outraged by its offerings. We look for disappointment at every turn, ready to lament any aspect of game design that isn't entirely to our liking. Our desire to expose games' flaws sometimes leads to near-hallucinatory observations. Even unreleased games can garner widespread outrage and heartache among certain groups (see: Fallout 3).

But we still play games, sometimes obsessively. Why? Because, despite the fact they regularly dash our expectations, games still offer moments of escapism and play that rival those of any other medium. When I rethink the last year from a half-full perspective I must admit that, in terms of fun, 2007's glass was overflowing.

Bioshock's last 10 minutes were an inexcusable departure from the rest of its brilliance, and yet I loved nearly every other moment of that remarkable game. Halo 3's campaign felt tired and sloppy, but it offered my friends and I evening after epic evening of heroic co-op camaraderie. Earth Defense Force 2017 was an off-the-radar, low-rent, one-trick pony, but its gloriously campy approach left me downright giddy. And I could go on, listing games I thoroughly enjoyed, even if from an intellectual perspective they left me vacillating between adoration and disillusionment.

The good news, and bad news, is that 2008 promises to be no different. We'll see important games rushed to retail with under-built and broken features, overly ambitious projects hobbled by budgetary and technical constraints, and half-baked licensed titles imagined and marketed with what could only be described as contempt for consumers. And you know what? We'll buy them, play them and love them while we simultaneously rip them to shreds.

If only they were here already.

Adam LaMosca lives in Portland, Oregon. When he's not stringing words together for The Escapist, he's shuffling paperwork over at Gamers With Jobs. His personal website is lowspec.com.

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