When I was younger, I didn't enjoy life that much. Computer games were a way to escape that fact and I embraced them whole-heartedly. I put months of time into PC and console games as a teenager, ignoring as much of reality as possible.
When I reached adulthood (ha!) I found new escape in online gaming. Years of my life were sunk into multiplayer text games, like Terris and Orone; later, World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs dominated my time. This was mostly not to any obvious advantage, although I made many friends, who have helped shape my outlook, my work and my life. I married one of them!
These days, I'm pretty happy. I like my life and the people in it. I still game though, to avoid doing my paperwork/taxes and to relax when things get a bit much. I'm not as 'hardcore' as I used to be. I no longer (mostly) write huge spreadsheets to document my gaming or write angry forum posts about alleged in-game injustices. I suppose I am becoming a "casual" gamer.
This post had to go somewhere eventually and this is it!
As a casual gamer, I'm in a demographic that the gaming industry is trying very hard to monetise. Almost every game that I pick up these days has shiny new features to make me want to spend more money. From in-game shops with their own currency (only purchasable with cash money) to multiple DLC (downloadable content) many of which are already included on the game disc, but "locked" until I've parted with some more £$.
It's not like the games are cheaper either, because many of them require me to pay a lot up front, then still have the cheek to want more moneys during my game time. There is a growing tenancy for games publishers to be disingenuous about their games, hiding behind flashy marketing campaigns with shiny (not in game footage) videos and as little actual information as possible about what new revenue streams they've hidden in their content. This is especially prevalent in newer MMO titles, which launch with one revenue stream then are forced to fall back upon ever more blatant monetising as their financial planning falls to pieces.
Even some games which don't directly try to extract more cash from me can't resist mentioning it in game (Diablo 3, with it's Real-Money Auction House, for example).
What I'm trying to say (in many words) is that I want to go back to the old way. I want games which don't try to milk me for all my cash, or even mention the "real world" from the moment that I install to the moment I'm done. I don't want my immersion broken, I don't want to even *think* about my taxes, my paperwork, or any other thing that I'm procrastinating over by playing a video game, instead of being a "responsible adult".
I especially think that it's important for games which require a lot of investment in time and money (this means MMOs mostly) to have plain words contracts for users, which explain explicitly what they are getting and what to expect in a number of financial situations. No small print, no wriggle room, just plain English and a legally binding commitment that things will be done in a specific manner. MMOs are communities and the operators of these communities MUST behave fairly, honestly and openly.
- Music:Bourne's Ultimatum (Extreme Ways)