So a quick summation of where this is coming from. 31 year old male, been playing games since I was 7 on NES. Now I’m a father (2 year old) and a husband.
I’ve been in this weird space lately. Like most folks on this website, I play video games, I used to run them competitively, but real life prevents me from logging the necessary time to be that anymore (not a complaint, it just is what it is). On the other side of the video game coin, I’m at the age where I have ‘disposable income’ and can buy pretty much anything I want if I put my mind/wallet to it. With that said, I currently have plugged into my TV a Wii U, PS3, X360, I have a DS, I have a Vita I have an iPad and other Apple products, I have a gaming laptop, and I’m fighting the urge to buy a 3DS. However I’m dealing with a massive issue.
Their are hardly ANY games for me to play. Let me run it back a little and explain. When I play games short of a handheld device/computer, its on a big screen with my son in the room. With him being 2 and highly impressionable I have to be careful what I play around him. I have yet to watch Django Unchained because of him (whole 'nother story of the intricacy of a mixed household and a kid), so you can sorta see where I am going with it. All these games that look interesting to me, I find - I can’t or shouldn’t play around him. Every Black Friday - Xmas shopping season, I buy up all the games I missed during the year as I can get them for like $20 through various means. So I FINALLY try to play Bioshock and realize…I cna’t play this with my son around, I’ve already had to deal with nightmares. Best game I’ve played on the Wii U is Zombie U, not only should I not play that with my son around, but my WIFE doesn’t like scary shit, so I havne’t touched that game in months, not form lack of interest, but because I feel I can only play it 3 in the morning when everyone is asleep. My solution so far?
And anyone who’s looked at the series can tell you its a ‘rip-off’ where you spend upwards of $15 per character. I have somewhere between 20-30 characters (>_<)’.
But that’s like the only game I got to play consistently. The gamer in me has grown super frustrated - Skylanders is a KIDS game, super simple…a three year old can play it - so the difficulty curve is non-existent. I went to Gamestop thinking ‘Oh Tomb Raider won’t be bad!’ Though I haven’t really played it since like 3. I didn’t realized how violent the game was. I started combing the shelves for the 360 and the PS3 and noticed a real disturbing trend. People always complain about sequels and lack of ingenuity in games, but its worse than that. All the games for the Big ‘Two Systems’ fell into these groups…
Sports - (Racing included)
Mature Game - (any game with copious blood, language, adult themes, things a little kid should not be exposed to let alone consistently)
Puzzle Games - (these were minimal)
Random Licsened Game - (movies, disney, Ben 10, etc)
While this is a ‘broad’ overview and can be broken down further, as a parent - that’s what I saw. If the game was an FPS, the goal is to be as realistic and violent as possible. If it’s an ‘action game’, it typically involves large scale fighting with demons or monsters, often violent language, etc. Hell, Tomb Raider - a series that was based on exploring caves, the trailer showed some dude trying to friggin RAPE Lara. It became “Hey if you are trying to be a responsible parent, its hard as hell to buy a game”. With the average age of gamers being my age or older, it is nice that we have options that feel grown, to not be stuck watching G and PG movies all day if you will, but when you go to the movies, they are typically filled with more PG and PG-13 movies than R and G. I’d wager the average ‘score’ for a game these days - that hits retail - is ‘M’ with some 'T’s scattered around…
There is NO balance in the gaming universe. No, I’m not being blind, there ARE games out there that I have to search out, but the % of those games to Mature games and Sports games is LOW. I mean I have Scribblenauts for the Wii U, which is mildly challenging - but its also a ‘puzzle game’. It doesn’t get me excited - it passes the time with family. Best I can do are Nintendo properties, which frankly since the N64 I’ve avoided for various reasons (never liked Link, anything with CPU Assistance, and they even fudged up Mario when they let you ‘kill’ your teammate in the newer ones…its not fun that way). Why can’t I get a Ghouls N Goblins with DmC gameplay, where the zombies aren’t going to get a grown woman to shriek? Why can’t there be more FPSs like Monday Night Combat? Why am I stuck being excited for PvZ2 and nothing else going into E3 (take that back Dragon’s Crown for Vita)?
I don’t know, the gaming landscape just doesn’t seem friendly for gamer turned father. Play sports games or puzzle games…or play kid games with no difficulty.