Stop And Smell The Flowers
We live in a busy world. Everything is faster and more rapid. It’s an unending cycle of doing tasks as quickly as humanly possible because other people are also busy. It can be quite depressing if you think about it. Nobody has time anymore for anything and we just kind of fall into formation and routine. What if that transpires into gaming? There is a trend growing in modern gaming where games take you a mere 6-8 hours to finish even if you collect everything and be as thorough as you can possibly be. Games that cost an insane amount of money can be finished over a Saturday. But is it our own fault?
A shining light in this dark abyss is the amazing Bioshock Infinite. I’ve only just started playing it thanks to the post office being as reliable as Jeffrey Dahmer in a morgue and it has caused me to do something that I haven’t done in a while. Just look at things. Yes, that’s all there is to it. During the start of the game you basically just walk around the streets of Columbia with nothing to do other than go to your objective. Now, you can just sprint to your objective in a few minutes, but I did not do that. What I did was walk around for a good hour and just looked at things. I listened to conversations, marveled at the scenery and explored every nook and cranny I could find. I got nothing from it other than some loose change, but a huge smile was growing on my face.
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I was in a state of complete serenity and bliss. I haven’t felt that in a while because most of the games I’ve played recently have had me rushing from objective to objective with considerable haste just because that’s how the game was designed. And that’s wrong. We need some juxtaposition in our games and not just big gun totting bros shooting each other in the face. Imagine if Black Ops 2 had sections where you just walked around areas and discovered new things. That part in the campaign with the modern, tech rich city was a perfect opportunity for this, but nope after about 5 minutes you’re shooting robots and other dudebros.
This pains me in more ways than one. The industry has abandoned exploration and moments of peace in favour of “HERE’S A MISSILE LAUNCHER SHOOT THAT ROCKETSHIP NOW!” moments. A game series that did it absolutely perfectly was Mass Effect. You would be in intergalactic space battles with epic setpieces and hordes of enemies and in the next moment you’re strolling around the Citadel and breaking out some dance moves. It’s the perfect balance between action packed and blissfully serene. We need some peace in our games and time to just stroll around and admire the world.
Games have become much more fast-paced and extremely short in recent years and that needs to stop. We need to have time to admire and marvel. Not everybody likes to do that because of their tight schedules and responsibilities, but make some more time for yourself. You will find yourself a much happier person.