As you are no doubt aware, there’s been a big hubbub in recent years around the concept of “gamer identity”. Is there such a thing? Perhaps, but gamers are not homogeneous, and there are many different sub-categories of gamer. My last post considered the dudebro gamer phenomenon on the original Xbox but I’m tired of ready-made labels, and I tried to create an original gamer movement to fight Game Length Supremacists but that failed to garner mass support. So here’s my new attempt to craft a gamer identity, and this time it’s about forging our Own Way as gamers. Can we as gamers borrow the language and rhetoric of the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement in order to articulate our particular gaming habits?
That’s right, I’m outing myself here as a bit of an MGTOWer in the realm of gaming, and in the realm of gaming ONLY. I’m a GGTOWer, if you will. (For those not familiar with the Men Going Their Own Way movement, I’d recommend giving this here site a read for the heinous basics.) I hope this post will provide some small insight into the Gamers Going Their Own Way lifestyle, and in order to accomplish this feat I’ve harnessed some MGTOW rhetoric here. So in extremely poor taste I’ve basically copied and pasted MGTOW articles and replaced the word “women” with the word “games” and, sorry to say, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. That’s just how bad the levels of female objectification are in the articles I’ve cribbed from. Fair warning: there are regressive views towards videogames in this post, some of them expressed strongly, even offensively. You have been warned.
Having lived a promiscuous gaming lifestyle for some time, I’ve come up with the basics for any prospective GGTOWer: seek out great-looking games, get their numbers (i.e. review scores), enter a commitment-free relationship with said games, have as much fun as you want with as many games as you want but never commit to just one game, and never, ever, put up with bullshit. One wrong move by a game and it’s goodbye. You have to be willing to walk away at any time. I’ve never had the same game in my console twice, and I’m damn proud of it too.
It’s also important to play the right kinds of games, and that means not touching Western games. I’ve played many in my time, and have vowed never to again. Occasionally there’s fun to be had – Halo was a decent ride for instance – but by and large Western games are all about forcing commitment. There’s a name for this poisonous ideology: open world. Blame developers like Bethesda, Lionhead Studios and Bioware, who have popularised fetch quests, escort missions and other chores that exist to waste your time. Plus, most Western games have load times longer than a motorway, lag like a sloth, age mechanically quicker than non-Western games, and screentear like a shredder.
Thankfully there is still a place, even though it is thousands of miles away, that gamers import games from simply to find the lost fun of games: Japan. Go East – life is peaceful there. Japanese games are the best in the world, both in terms of their fun-factor and graphics. Here’s a short list summarising why Japanese games are the only games that make it into my console (except for occasional flings with Western games when I’m desperate).
1. They never refuse to have fun
Japanese games have held close all the fun values passed on from their gaming predecessors before them. Values that let games respect players and be submissive to them.
Most Japanese games have family-friendly graphics. They will make sacrifices to have a stable framerate (and maintain it no matter what) and please their player with it. As for their beauty, it seems that western players are particularly attracted by their petite pixels (as opposed to the bloated polygons of the West).
3. Traditional values
One bakes cakes, the other points guns in your face. ‘Nuff said.
4. Financially responsible
Japanese games are usually undemanding financially, which is a huge plus when looking for a game to create a family in.
Your Japanese game won’t ask you to spend money on pointless DLC. Try asking an American or European game to do the same – the game will overload you with annoying text reminders from here to the apocalypse if you don’t partake in their microtransactions.
Last but not least, a pleasant bonus. Japanese games are shorter than their Western equivalents. This makes Japanese games automatically more attractive.
Thanks for reading, and I hope my introduction to the GGTOW movement will help you see the “light” as I have! I must give credit to Cary over at United We Game, whose recent post about committing to games made me think seriously for the first time about my promiscuous relationship with the games I play. Ever wondered why the “Now Playing” gallery has so many games in it at any one time? Now you know!