Watching Videogames

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Richard Goulter
Tags: ,

I kinda think action movies are boring.
I recently watched Fast & Furious 7. I loved it! It wasn’t as quite as stupid or bad as I’d heard it might be. It was good fun, despite being more “Furious” (gunplay/fights) than “Fast” (cars & such). – But despite my love for the absurdly-cool Saturday-morning-cartoon-ish idea of a bus which has 3x automatic miniguns coming from hidden panels.. the plot constrains expectations: the bad guy will be amazingly powerful and untouchable at the start, until the climax, where the good guys will beat the odds and save the day.
I feel the same way about the good parts of Salvatore’s fantasy novels: the violence & action is fun in itself, and the whole “good guy vs bad guy” traditional arc is satisfying.. but kinda ‘boring’ in that it’s extremely hard to make tension/suspense when the outcome is set.

Action videogames, on the other hand, don’t exactly suffer this. - In terms of plot, maybe, since outside of ‘RPGs’, the plot is going to be pretty much the same. So, “good guy wins, bad guy loses” holds true.
But with videogames, there’s no guarantee the player gets to see the whole plot: if you can’t play the game well enough, you don’t get to complete the story. – It’s for things like that why gamers are probably more passionate about things than readers.

But even the hobby of watching videogames is becoming more popular these days.
– This is quite understandable with eSports - you can watch people who are very good at a game (whether you understand the game or not), and there’s no reason why this’d be any less fun to watch than sports which demand athleticism.
This also makes sense to watch someone play through a game you can’t play yourself, if you don’t have the console it’s on, or don’t have the money to play.. e.g. I can understand people watching playthroughs of GTA:V if they don’t have a console.
– Or if the game is too scary (or hard, or require too much investment of time to learn); I’d watch a playthrough of someone playing “Outlast”, but wouldn’t play it myself. – The streamer’s reactions can be fun.
And, yeah, it can be entertaining to watch people like Rooster Teeth’s Achievement Hunters, or Yogscast Sips play through games.

What I feel makes no sense is watching someone play a game you could play yourself.
– Besides being passionate about games, the other thing about gamers is their tenacity.. it’s good for games to be a bit challenging. Gamers have the cliche that if you’re fighting bad guys / struggles, then you know you’re on the right path. And by watching, you miss out on that.

– That said, I’m happy enough to play Call of Duty campaigns. It’s popular to hate on CoD as garbage. Certainly the campaigns have always been .. loud, and with enough gunplay and stupid action to make F&F7 look like a case study of physics. – It’d be fair to call CoD “boring”. (If everything in the game is explosions and gunfire, there’s no contrast for the narrative to be able to emphasise any particular part as dangerous or impressive.). But like action movies, it can be fun, too.

Newer post Older post