Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Video Game Thoughts – Mobile Gaming Confession

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. It’s been… five years since my last confession, I think. I don’t wanna talk about what I did back then but let’s just say I’ve downloaded a few dozen videos of the “hot Japanese girls” kind and I’ve always had a good night’s sleep. Anyway, where were we? Oh right, confession.

I’ve always considered myself an average gamer. I’m not good at any particular game as I’ve always been the load of any team in a first person shooter like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike. Yes, I try my best when I play multiplayer but my best is apparently using my head as a bullet magnet.

I’ve never gotten past the Taurus Demon, an early non-required (I think) boss in Dark Souls and never bothered again after the first half dozen attempts. It’s like I said “Okay, you win, I won’t bug you again, Mister Demon. May I please have my spine back?”

But I’m not THAT much of a beginner that I won’t play huge games like GTA V or Just Cause 2 and lose interest because I don’t know how to use the controller or one of the new features like the character-specific skills in GTA V or the grappling hook in Just Cause 2.

What’s that father? Well, yeah, I’m also aware - not an expert, mind you - of which games go into which systems. It’s not like I’ll ever say that a Halo game would ever be playable on a Nintendo Wii or think that I can use an Xbox Kinect on a PS3. True story: on my vacation in the Philippines, I heard two women talk about how they were going to buy a PS3 just so they can play Just Dance 4 with a Kinect. A freakin’ Kinect.

Lastly, I’ve also spent hundreds of hours playing Dynasty Warriors games to the point where I start to think that if I hadn’t ever played Dynasty Warriors 4, I wouldn’t be playing video games to this day and I probably would be happy with life, have a lovely girlfriend (probably of the “hot Japanese girl” kind), and wouldn’t be posting this right now but we can’t all have what we want, now can we?!

But I need to confess that I’m actually enjoying those free-to-play games on my Android tablet and phone. You know, those games that expect you to pay for in-game money with real money. The main difference with spending 15 dollars on a copy of Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition and buying in-game money for something like Gangstar City or High School Story is that Arkham Asylum never asks you to pay for anything again.

The only downside to playing these free-to-play games is that they ask for an infinite amount of money, which is not alright when you compare it to most console games.

The thing about these microtransactions is that they’re used to make everything quicker. I’m not saying that console games that I love don’t offer them – GTA V offers “Shark Cards” which is instant money – but console games don’t usually require the microtransactions out of the gate.

A $20 game such as Batman: Arkham City – Game of the Year Edition, will still cost you $20 (without taxes, of course). The Game of the Year Edition comes with all the DLC of course so that’s not really fair. Let’s say, Dynasty Warriors 7. There is no Game of the Year Edition for Dynasty Warriors 7 and there is a ton of DLC for this game. The big difference is that the company still makes money off of a new copy, digital or physical. Dynasty Warriors 7 DLC is of course not required to make the game flow faster. It’s more of the mashed potatoes to your 20-piece chicken meal, you fat bastard.

A game like Simpsons: Tapped Out involves waiting for hours but could even reach up to, and this is true, 90 days. The same could be said for Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff and Japan Life. You tap and wait. Tap and wait. Tap and wait! Once you finish waiting, you tap again and you wait some more. It gets to the point where you think “Jesus Christ, I know the endgame is making a city but at what limit?!”

Mobile games never end. That’s why they’re free. They give you momentary satisfaction in something that lasts a lot longer than it should have. The difference between mobile tap-and-wait games to a game that never ends like, say, Minecraft is that mobile games are free and would give you something to pay money for. Minecraft, on the other hand, asks for money upfront to something that never ends and you can create that city however you want it with little blocks. The only similarity is that these kinds of games never end. Minecraft however will always continue to exist outside of micropayments you make.

Now you know where I’m getting at, right? There is no end to mobile games and majority of them will always try to needle you for money somehow whether it’d be energy or waiting time. Then why do I play them then if I say they’re terrible? I like testing them out and giving me a momentary high that doesn’t make me keep coming back. Of course I can’t play GTA V or Just Cause 2 while I’m on the bus to work unless I feel like a dick and bring my own TV to the bus. That’s what mobile games are for. Pop out your phone and launch the free game. Use up all your in-game energy for 10 minutes and stop because you have to go to work. Not much of an addicting high but enough to keep you going for a part of the day. Maybe I just like the short bursts of highs instead of the commitment high that GTA V gives you. You don’t have to invest large amounts of time in mobile games, perhaps that’s why I like them nowadays. WWE Supercard always gets me 20 minutes through the day even though. Maybe I just need to admit it.

I like mobile games!