2022 is the year that launched with an excellent .That’s why I’m so sad that some people won’t get a chance to play barely any of this wide swath of great games. It’s not because they can’t afford them or don’t have the time in their lives. Rather, they’re just too obsessed with playing the same game over and over again for hundreds of hours, a game specifically designed to dominate their lives.
I’ve heard a few different names for these types of games. They’re tough to pin down because they exist across genres. The awesome game design YouTube show Whatever you want to call them, you know the kinds of games I’m talking about. PUBG, League of Legends, Minecraft, Overwatch, Rocket League, Dota 2, Madden, FIFA, World of Warcraft, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, Destiny, Splatoon, Spelunky, Binding of Isaac. Hearthstone. These are all very different, and very good, video games. But they inspire the same impulse in entire communities of players to stick with that one game at the expense of everything else in ways beyond just being addictive. And as great as these games are, I think that’s kind of a shame.
If you want to deeply devote yourself to one video game, that’s absolutely your right. More power to you. Become an expert. But I do think overall it’s healthier for people to have gaming tastes as broad as possible, and I dislike the trends surrounding these lifestyle games that have gotten us to this point where there’s not the case.
Personally, I think watching other people play video games is pretty boring. But I do understand the appeal. Plus, streaming can provide precious visibility for smaller, more experimental indie games that may have never gotten a shot otherwise. Dream Daddy is a game that could only exist and thrive because of streaming.
However, streaming also feeds into some gamers’ desires to only play and consume media surrounding one game all of the time. Regardless of whatever new games are out, the top games on Twitch are by and large always the same.League, Counter-Strike,PUBG. They are lifestyle games. If you’re not playing the same game you’re watching someone else play it before you have a chance to play it again. You never have to leave the loop.
Part of what gives many of these games such longevity are their deep competitive aspects. You always have to be playing or watching so you can stay skilled and knowledgeable of the metagame. Don’t get left behind when new strategies develop. And you can’t talk about the shift toward competitive multiplayer games without talking about the growing mainstream acceptance of eSports.
Again, there’s no invalid way to play video games. You can be like me and play as many games as you can get your hands on across the breadth of the medium, treating each one as a piece of art like movies or music while following the industry as a whole. Or you can wring endless amounts of enjoyment diving deep into one or a handful of lifestyle games, gaining satisfaction from comfortably knowing the familiar but complex experience inside and out. But these days forces are definitely funneling folks in one particular direction, so don’t forget you can always choose to embrace variety and play more than one video game.