BioShock_coverIt seems like lately the video game think piece (I'm not sure who coined that phrase) is becoming a requisite part of a game's release cycle. Instead of vague teaser, potential preview, availability announcement, and review, the internet as a whole apparently got together and invented a new story to sandwich in there, dubbed the think piece. Now, when a game is released, the cycle is closer to: Vague teaser, think piece on teasers, potential preview, think piece on whether or not the game should exist, availability announcement, think piece on whether or not this was the right time to launch the game, review, and think piece post-mortem. Now, all these think pieces aren't required, but, why half ass your think piecing?

So, instead of worrying about these kind of things, I figured I'd just post a think piece that I can link to whenever we feel tempted to write a think piece. Overall, I'd say I'm 100% OK with video games. I enjoy playing video games, and I appreciate the fact that people can make a living making games and selling them for money. I might not like some games, but that's alright. I realize there's many different people in this world with wildly varying tastes. I mean, hell, some people even think cilantro tastes like soap, and I can hardly imagine a taco without it. This kind of thing doesn't make me angry.

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Similarly, I realize that my hobby of video gaming requires new video games to be released for the medium to evolve, the market to continue to exist, and so I keep having games to play. Therefore, I'm totally alright with new video games being released, on any and all platforms. If you're a game developer releasing a video game, I say, keep up the good work. You release that game, and if it looks like it's something I might even remotely enjoy, I'll buy it. No problem.

I'm even alright with remakes and re-releases, as it's fun exploring the potential nostalgia I may have had to see how much my memories of yesterday line up with tomorrow's realities. It's fun seeing whether or not the JRPG that ate your life as a teenager is still even remotely interesting to you as an adult. In the same vein, I don't have a problem with ports either, in fact, ports are great!

I'm at a point in my life where being able to sit down in front of the TV and play a game for an extended period of time is a rare treasure, so when something gets re-released on mobile in some form, it often allows me to enjoy that game in a way that I wouldn't be able to. I don't care whether or not something "fits" or "belongs" on mobile, as I'll always choose a video game existing over a video game not existing, regardless of how much or how little it interests me.

I used to think this kind of thing was just normal, and common sense, but a lot of the things I've been reading online have me really questioning whether or not people who identify as gamers, or write about video games, even like games anymore. It's a weird world we live in, and I'm excited for the future, all future games, and all future platforms.

Why does that make me feel like the strange one?

  • Jazzpha

    This works really nicely as both a straightforward essay and as a sharp, funny piece of satire aimed at some of the more hawkish game journalism out there.

    Keep up the good work, Presidente Hodapp.

  • sleb

    Good article, completely agree. Any game coming to mobile is good for me as I don't have the time to sit playing on a console.

  • spsummer

    Nice article Eli, well written.

  • eford

    I agree. Cilantro is awesome.

    • Psac42

      No. Soap. Yuck.

  • Brrobotix

    Keep writing Eli, and I'll keep reading. Nice work.

  • brydude111

    Fantastic piece. I feel this applies to more than just videogames today; simply look at shows like Sportscenter

  • Goggles789

    I think it has to do with the fact that we don't want just more games released. Speaking for myself, I want more GOOD games released. That's why I'm thankful that Dargon Quest 4 was revamped for ios. I want more stuff like that, the stuff of quality. The App Store has a billion apps. I own 9 of them. The rest didn't grab my attention or keep it longer than a short while. I don't really identify myself as a gamer; there's too much unhealth associated with it. I'm just a guy with narrow taste and knows what he likes, and modern gaming is kind of the pits right now. End rant.

    • LanceAvion

      I hope one of those 9 apps is "The Quest." Anyone who plays RPGs should own that game.

      • Goggles789

        I did give that a try, but it didn't quite grab me. I grew up on games like Wizardry and such, but it didn't hit me the same as those did.

  • iammane

    It is pretty wacky. Games are good. I don't know why anyone would be bent out of shape that a console or PC game is coming to ios as a port. If you don't like it don't play it.

    No one is forcing the hand. I like having options :)

  • famousringo

    Great piece.

    Or was it? Stay tuned for my navel-gazing post-mortem.

  • HungarianUrinalCakes

    EXACTLY. Why is this so hard for people to understand? I felt like bashing my head against a wall every time I heard someone complain that KOTOR was released on the iPhone instead of JUST the iPad...

    So what? Why does my ability to enjoy a game on a platform affect someone else? I can see past some of the minor issues for the greater good. An amazing game in my pocket with slight control issues and tiny fonts are infinitely better than not having it.

    Remember when Snake and solitaire were the only things possible on phones? Now we have Bioshock, GTA, XCOM, DQ8, MHFU and KOTOR! And that bothers people? I don't get it...

  • Themostunclean

    I'm constantly dismayed at the attitude of "gamers" on the internet. You're right Eli, it seems many of them don't even like gaming- they're just looking for excuses to whine and feel superior. Thankfully, although not immune to it, TA is a place where such attitudes are in the minority and we have a community of people who love and celebrate gaming. Thank you for being a part of creating that and thank you for the "think piece".

  • mzinn

    Fantastic article & insight. Eli has nailed it.

  • Anotherkellydown

    Good read! Seems like people spend more time complaining about almost anything game related (on this site at least) than actually playing games, let alone enjoying them. It's gotta be discouraging wading through all the rude, name-calling, hateful posts every day, but I'm glad you guys keep doing what you do. I've been a gamer for 30 years and always will be. If I don't like something, I simply won't play it. If I can help a developer with suggestions, then that's great. In fact, engaging in conversation with devs has been one of the coolest things about iOS gaming. Before I became a member here that was never possible. Anyway, I thought I was crazy for thinking cilantro tasted like soap. Glad you know someone else who does too.

  • {SQUEEK}

    I often wondered that also. I will try any game at least once.Well other than Kim Kardashian's game. BURN GAME! BUUUUURN IN HECK!

  • Squablo

    Totally agree. If I hear more of the silly argument over which console is "more powerful" than the other, I'm gonna smash something!!! It's the GAMES that make a console good or bad, not the hardware. History shows us that in almost every generation of hardware, the most powerful hardware does not equal the best system. A system is defined by its games. PSOne? Weaker than n64. PS2? Weaker than GameCube and Xbox. PS3? Initially outperformed by 360, but the Wii, which was the most underpowered, came out on top. The same goes with handhelds. It also applies here. The games will define the hardware, and the more games, the better!!! I would love to see A LOT more PC/Console ports on iOS. There is no reason for iOS to not have them. Bioshock is one of my all time favorites. Day one purchase.

    • Der-Kleine

      Still, I think with multiplatform games it's hard to disagree that playing the same game on more powerful hardware that allows for more customisation will probably give you a slightly better experience, unless the weaker hardware outshines the more powerful one in an aspect that is particularly important to you (like portability).

      • Wolfcoyote

        Yes, but if that more powerful hardware forces you to sit in front of a monitor then that negates part of the sense of technological superiority. There may be more pixels, more levels, or even (in the case of XCOM: Enemy Within) a large chunk of extra gameplay and number of maps, but it's all about convenience. Do I have the time to sit in front of my Mac to play XCOM? No, but though I have both Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within on my Mac, I eventually bought the iOS version of the vanilla EU because it's more convenient. Do I have the time to sit and watch shows anymore in the traditional way (in front of a television)? No, which is why I use Hulu and either minimize the window while doing something else on my Mac or whipping out my iPad to launch Hulu Plus. Your comment seems to ask for validation that playing games "the way they're meant to be played" (so to speak) via a console or computer is the superior way to go, but the majority opinion of the comments (myself included) show that such a sentiment is fast becoming invalid thanks to both convenience and/or the rapidly-blurring line between portable and non-portable technologies.

  • Echoen

    I hate cilantro.

  • daftman

    Keep up the good work, Eli. It's always frustrating reading someone who thinks negativity makes them a better writer or more interesting or something. More games is a good thing and more people playing games is a good thing, so mobile is a good thing.

  • nkdekker

    Well said Eli, point well made and a great read!!

  • melocoman

    I enjoy these random articles. Good job.

  • Mekklesack

    Yay! Me too! The very first time I ever played Mario 64 was on the DS. Even though the game had a strong air of having "been there done that," like the world was done with it and it didn't matter anymore, it turned out to be my favorite game on that machine through the console's whole life span (which includes Pokemon... Which I loved). The reason being, is that Mario 64 is genuinely "compelling," and not at all "diminished" by lack of thumb stick (I just used the directional pad). I made it through every challenge, solved every puzzle, and obtained ever star, and "revisited" levels often, just because they were so much fun to play (and mostly to watch since the environments felt so solid, adding to the "immersion").

    The whole world was done with Mario 64 and I didn't mind that, Hell, I didn't even care! I could understand what the hype was about after playing it, and that experience wasn't diminished by any aspect of the machine being at a lower resolution or missing the smooth feeling of rolling an analogue stick under my thumb, it was just a well built game made "accessible" to me.

    That being said, I'd love to see some Modern Warfare 4 on my small screen (hopefully)! I can't wait to see what Metal can really do! Bring on the games... Dishonored please! :P

  • Lemmonz

    I can't stand these "gamers" ( I feel like "gamers" has been used too much in this comment section) that freak out and say that a game is being ruined because it's being released on a new platform. Oh no! Somebody's gonna play Bioshock on their phone! That's unheard of! Boo hoo, Diablo 3 is gonna be on XbOne and Ps4 (Had to get that out. It's not about IOS but I just saw that complaint and couldn't believe it.)! People don't seem to complain about GTA on mobile though...

    • Themostunclean

      That's because the GTA games on iOS are from two console generations ago. You get a lot of these "mobile gaming isn't real gaming" idiots who feel personally threatened by it's growing influence. The closer a game that's released on iOS is to the current gen, the more they freak about it.

  • SherlockEB

    This had to be said, thanks for saying It Eli

  • hil

    Every single day I'm, sometimes just for a quick thought of a few seconds, sometimes even a whole bathroom visit long, amazed by not just the incredible technology surrounding me today, but especially by how many opportunities for escapism it brings. I'm thankful for it, because I need it. I need time off, besides books and walks and talks. And games provide such short vacations for me and for that I love them. I grew up with concoles plugged into the TV of my parents and I had precious half hours in front of it as a teenager coming home stressed from school, when my parents weren't home yet, and now I have one in my pocket all the time (actually it's much, much more than just a gaming console, of course, but god, I think I've spent more time combining sweets in rows of three or more last week than talking to my partner, so it's a very, very great device... which I happen to use a lot for gaming). And there are millions, literally millions of games out there, they come in all shapes and prices and I couldn't possibly even play them all if I'd spent the rest of my days trying. And I love it. Some games are more immersive than others and some are more worth the bucks I've paid for them than others, some make me laugh, some made me cry and some made me walk back a mile because I completely forgot to get off the damn train. I'm thankful that I have all the games to choose from and I'm comstantly looking forward to more and I love reading about them.
    But recently there seems to be an obscene amount of weariness among gamers and critics and gamers who think they are critics towards new releases and I don't get it. At all. A lot of articles about new games could easily be summarized as "Oh no, not a new game again!" and I don't know where that comes from. Is it Free2Play? Is it "I've come to the conclusion that nothing will ever be as good as Super Mario Land on Super Nintendo back in the 90s, but don't even get me started on Nintendo, god they suck!"? Or is just good old ingratitude, because we're hopelessly spoiled by the vast amount of games?
    We're living in the golden age of videogames. They're everywhere and they pretty much cover everything you could possibly want, and if you don't like the EA original, just wait for the clone! I think this is great. I love it. And I don't understand all that grumbling and hating and just unfair amount of criticism even before a games release!
    So thank you for pointing that out. It's the first post about this I've read and I'm relieved that I'm not the only one finding all that negativity a bit odd. I like it when people critizise games based on comprehensible reasons, but this, this has gotten out of hand and really needs to stop.

    • Lemmonz

      Look out! It's the Great Wall of Text!

      • hil

        Yeah, sorry about that. I'm german. And was maybe a little drunk when I wrote that... ;)

  • Bool Zero

    The last paragraph is a perfect summation of the entirety of the internet at large in my experience. Go to most console boards and it seems like most people just hate the hobby they are talking about. Worse yet, I think we've sunken into this hole where people just don't know how to appreciate games anymore; all they look for is the negative and the flaws that they can't be bothered to see any merits. Insult slinging and referring to quality games as trash seems the trendy thing to do nowadays. It's baffling as an older gamer whose grown through so many generations and seen the literal birth and evolution of gaming in my lifetime, to see people write with such vitriol about these wonderful things we have now; it just seems to be a lacking of perspective.

    I remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid and one in particular always stuck out to me because it was a based in the future and the protagonist had a "data pad" on his wrist and it did everything imaginable! It was a tiny computer strapped to his wrist that he could talk to and would respond back and such! I always imagined that some day way, far into the future maybe when I was way too old to enjoy it, I'd see that happen. I never thought it come this soon where I can do all these amazing things on this little device. I'm living in my sci-fi book and all people can do is complain about how this sucks, that shouldn't be made, we don't want it to go to that platform, etc.

    It's just sad that some don't have the sense of time and progression to just stop, sit back, quit complaining and just appreciate what is even possible or how awesome it is that we can do so many things and enjoy so many things on a amazing device that we can slap into our pockets...

  • Rip73

    An honest article and grounded, I suppose realistic/relevant, viewpoint.
    If only more journalists/commentators/gamers had this same attitude.
    Thanks.

  • https://twitter.com/ScotDamn Scot Damn

    Internet comments, man.

  • ducksFANjason

    Women... Amiright guys?

    • Jake7905

      They make life worth living.

  • killy

    Very well written, I agree completely, just wish I had more time in my life for videogames in general.

  • Jake7905

    I can't help but laugh at some of the "serious" gaming sites and their "intellectual" snobbery. It's a truly misguided attitude to take towards a medium like gaming. They debate a PC to IPad port like they were debating a Russian to English translation of a Dostoevsky novel.

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      I guess you didn't see the outrage Eli Hodapp had for République when it was being Kickstarted, then. Someone should go back in time and show this stream of bull he wrote to ride the wave of think pieces in better, more thoughtful videogame websites than this one.

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    Oh, the rampant hypocrisy!

    Suuuure, you're fine with all and any games existing, Hodapp. Any game except République, AMIRITE.

  • ml411

    Following your lead, I've created a response that should work for any future video game linked to this think piece:

    I agree with your comments about [insert video game title here]. I think [insert video game title here] has the potential to be something really special for what we've seen so far. I honestly don't see how people can have such strong opinions about [insert video game title here] when it hasn't even been released yet.

    • {SQUEEK}

      They should use that also when the new batman comes out with affleck.

      • Jake7905

        Still can't see a insurance selling duck playing Batman, oh well.

  • Dankrio

    Excellent article, Eli! And this behavior doesn't involve just games, but almost everything. For me, the more games to fit everyone's taste the better. If I don't like something, I won't play. It is that simple. However, I hope someone does and have fun with the product. Keep'em games coming.

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    • {SQUEEK}

      Internet comments man.

  • Illuminerdy

    Deleted my well-reasoned comment? I am fucking done with this site. I have tried to support the better qualities of the site, but this has become a pro-big corp games site with little respect for opinions or readers that differ from mighty Eli. There are other places to find news about iOS games.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Your comment was in the moderation queue which I didn't get around to approving until now, because, you know, it's Sunday.

      But, good bye, I suppose?

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Lmao I love watching people lose their shit over the most absolute silliest of things.

  • Drummerboycroy

    Thanks for reminding me why I stick with TA, despite all the silliness and drama...

    Well said, and well written! :-D

    DBC