Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-12-25 15:11:28
Merry Christmas from Software Slump!
(That's me up there, touching the hearts and minds - and rosy red noses - of gamers everywhere)
Merry Christmas! It was (almost) unintentional that my Christmas article would also be my 100th article writing for this site. I figured that I'd take this opportunity to very briefly explain what I do here, and why you should (maybe) continue to read the things that I write.
There's a great video (embedded at the bottom of this article) by video game comedy troupe Mega64 that deals perfectly with the way video games are viewed by many people nowadays. In the video, they compare how excitement around games changed between 1999 and 2012. In 1999, gamers are shown as having been truly excited for the next-generation of consoles and what this could mean for the future; the 2012 audience are far more cynical and jaded, and dislike the direction that video games are moving in.
I started Software Slump as a result of this video and a few other factors. Video gaming has changed in the last few years, as far as I can tell - not the beginning of the Wii/PS3/Xbox 360 generation, but literally in the last two or three years. People seem to be burned out with endless sequels and the looming prospect of micro-transactions and paying more for less. The nonsense 'console war' of the last year has shown the ugly side of the video gaming community, with multiple media sites fueling the fires and creating arguments for no reason other than to get hits on their sites. All of this gives me a headache, as I value games because of how they make me feel - if they make me laugh, or cry, or plaster my face with a smile for a few hours, I enjoy them. I can't be bothered with the hassle of getting angry over video games - they're too fun for that and life is too short.
So Software Slump is something of a reactionary tour de force (in the loosest possible sense) envisioned by me to take the piss out of video gamers and the video game industry, just to emphasize that people should stop taking this stuff so seriously. Don't get me wrong - I love video games, and I consider them to be a fairly significant part of my life outside of other pursuits. I think that video games are growing in potential and I love that they are becoming more acceptable to mainstream audiences. I can, however, acknowledge that there are more pressing things to get worked up about in the world - all of the systems on the market right now are great in their own individual ways, and I have no interest in the petty undermining of companies. I want to reflect on what makes video games great and mock the cynicism that seems to dominate many modern gamers - surfing message boards, you'd almost believe that these people don't enjoy playing games at all.
Going into 2014, I'll be writing more articles for Software Slump - many will be satirical or abstract, but I'm almost always making a larger point when I write articles, even if they seem like a load of nonsense. To the people who consistently read my work here, I thank you very much for your continued effort; for those who may discover this article in the future, let it be known that if you appreciate video games for their unbridled potential as entertainment, I think you'll enjoy this column.
All the best to my colleagues here (Dee and Dave) who continue to run Dave the Direman after all these years. It's crazy that it started in 2005 - I was still going through the early rumblings of puberty when they kicked off the comic. Look how much it has changed - for one, it's now in colour! I wish them and the comic a happy new year - I predict a bright future for them both.
I wish you all a holly-jolly Christmas and I'll see whoever is still clinging on in early 2014.