Debate Club: Quantity vs “Quality”

This week’s Debate Club is going to be more about simply comparing personal preference than it is actually taking an objective look at a topic, but we feel there is value to that type of dialogue. That said, I’m still right.

When the “Continue?” timer on my life counts down to zero and I’ve used up all my credits, I want to be able to say that I played as many different games as I possibly could with the relatively small amount of time I had to play them. There are simply too many games that I want to get to and WILL want to get to, ranging from the can’t miss best games of their respective year to the flawed but fun little titles that pad out the majority of the library of gaming’s past, present, and future. I just can’t relate to people who pick one specific game, franchise or genre and devote all of their time and effort into learning it top to bottom and getting completely lost in it, be it MMOs, fighting games, RTSes, FPS multiplayer, or any of the other genres that seem to be heavily populated by people who are immersed in them almost at the forsaking of all other games or genres of games. Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with different approaches to gaming. To each her own. I just can’t really fathom a method of digesting video games (or anything else for that matter) that limits the amount of new and different content you are getting exposed to. When I think back to some of the great games I’ve played and finished in the past few years, I find it very hard to believe that someone who spent the same amount of time playing one or two games as I spent on all of those combined got as fulfilling of an experience as I did. I can’t see how spending that same amount of time killing rats for better armor or fine-tuning your custom combos or memorizing capture the flag maps so that you can play them with your eyes closed can be as fulfilling as the dozen or so completely different stories and universes and casts of characters I experienced in that same time frame, each with a defined beginning, middle, and end.

Even if someone takes offense to the bold statements I ended that last paragraph with, they can’t really argue that they certainly didn’t have the range of different experiences that I had. So maybe I ultimately suck at a lot of multiplayer games because I don’t devote much time to them, and maybe I can’t engage in deep discussions about the intricate details of any series’ history or its stories or characters. Basically, I play every game once and move onto the next one without going above and beyond to explore every corner and unlock every secret and letting that game completely engulf my entire gaming life for a prolonged period. But if the trade-off is that I play a lot more games in a given month, year or lifetime than someone who is hardcore about a specific game or genre or franchise, then that is fine by me. There’s just too many games to experience and not enough time to experience them.

You wouldn’t watch the same handful of movies repeatedly or only ever watch one TV series, so why approach games that way? The word “fandom” gets used a lot these days as a catchall term for people who are intensely into a certain thing, generally something on the geeky end of the interest spectrum  – I’d much rather apply the principles of fandom to ALL of gaming than to just a few selected games or types of games.